: The Effect of Students' Background on Academic Performance. This study examines the effect of background variables on the academic performance of accounting students in a private university in Surabaya. The background variables under study included previous academic performance, prior knowledge on accounting, sex, motivation, preparedness, and expectations. The results show that previous academic performance, motivation, and expectations have positive and significant effects on the students' overall academic performance in accounting, while preparedness affects only the students' performance in management accounting. In contrast, prior knowledge on accounting and sex do not give significant impacts to the students' overall academic performance.These findings indicate the importance of previous academic performance as well as motivation and expectations as background variables in current academic performance.