This paper reports on the development and evaluation of a computer-based self-instructional program for teaching holistic accounting concepts. It is the aim of the program to focus on the pedagogical use of CBL (computer-based learning) to improve conceptual understanding of accounting principles and to develop higher order thinking skills such as synthesis of information, evaluation and inferential judgements. The project was conducted in two phases, involving firstly the development of a CBL pilot program to present and simulate the linkages and impact of individual business decisions or transactions on the accounting system; and secondly an evaluation of the program to prove that the instructional strategies had led to a better conceptual understanding of accounting principles and greater student motivation. Evaluation results showed that students of the CBL group had a more favourable attitude to learning and their test scores were appreciably better. Copyright © 1997 Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.