English: Academic failure of first-year accounting students is a national and international problem. Existing research is inconclusive regarding the causes for the failure and does not make provision for the possible influence of dominant time perspectives on performance in accounting. This article investigates whether time perspective has an effect on the performance of first-year accounting students. A quantitative non-experimental predictive multivariate design is used and confounding variables are taken into consideration. The results of the study indicate significant relationships between performance in first-year accounting and gender, age and a past-negative time perspective. The most significant result of this study is that a past-negative time perspective, together with an unfavourable psychosocial background, might have led to failure in first-year accounting. It is suggested that students with a negative time perspective be identified and encouraged to participate in support programmes at the university.