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Accounting and Finance

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Accounting and Finance

BSc
  • UCAS code NN34
  • Option 3 years full time
  • Year of entry 2021

The course

Our School of Management has a fresh and intellectually challenging approach to research and education. Specialising in Accounting and Finance at Royal Holloway means that you will benefit from the in-depth knowledge of our academic experts.  You will study the core areas of financial accounting, management accounting and finance and obtain a thorough knowledge of both theory and practice. The valuable knowledge and understanding this degree will give you, combined with interpersonal and transferable skills, will lead to excellent career prospects.

Your studies will be grounded in the wider business environment, providing you with an understanding of international business, information systems, strategy, and ethical decision-making.  You will receive individual attention and the flexibility to take specialist options, such as business law, auditing and taxation.

This course is accredited by CIMA, CPA, CIPFA and ICAEW professional bodies. You may apply to the professional bodies for exemptions from some of their examinations. The number of exemptions depend on the options you choose and the marks you obtain on your modules.

As well as graduating with enhanced knowledge of accounting and finance, you will have commercial awareness, the ability to communicate clearly,work in a team, analyse and solve problems, and manage your time effectively. As a graduate you will be able to apply for exemptions and/or credit for prior learning from selected professional accounting bodies we have agreed exemptions with. The exemptions from examinations or credit for prior learning that students are granted will depend on courses chosen and the marks obtained on those courses.

Our flexible degree programmes enable you to apply to take a Placement Year, which can be spent studying abroad, working or carrying out voluntary work. You can even do all three if you want to (minimum of three months each)! To recognise the importance of this additional skills development and university experience, your Placement Year will be formally recognised on your degree certificate and will contribute to your overall result. Please note conditions may apply if your degree already includes an integrated year out, please contact the Careers & Employability Service for more information. Find out more

  • Understand the basic components of financial statements.
  • Examine the principles of financial decision-making.
  • Understand the theory and techniques for appraising financing and investment decisions.
  • Understand quantitative studies and how they are utilised.
  • Understand information systems and the role they play in contemporary business.
  • Accredited by CIMA, CPA, CIPFA and ICAEW

Core Modules

Year 1
  • This module introduces you to the underlying framework and concepts of accounting and its role in organisations and society. You will develop an understanding of the basic components of financial statements (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement), the procedures and techniques for the preparation of these, and an understanding of their purpose and value for businesses. You will also examine the principles of financial decision making, with emphasis on developing skills for analysing financial accounting information.

  • This module will provide you with an introduction to the basic techniques and processes of management accounting. You will look at the current technical languages and practices relating to the provision and use of management accounting information in organisations. You will learn now contribution-based approaches are used in cost-volume-profit analysis and the allocation of scarce resources, and how marginal and full costing information, including activity-based costing, is used to determine product costs, prices, and overall profits. You will also consider the concept of relevant costs, specifically in the appraisal of capital investment decisions.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theory and techniques for appraising financing and investment decisions. You will be introduced to concepts of risk and uncertainty in investment decision making and the assessment and management of risk in straightforward scenarios. You will look at how the role of capital markets in facilitating access to funding, learning how to estimate the weighted average cost of capital, and explain its implications for financing and investment decisions. You will evaluate a range of techniques for managing elements of working capital, including calculation of relevant ratios and the operating cash cycle. You will also become familiar with the techniques used to manage and assess inventory, trade receivables, cash and current liabilities.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of basic mathematical methods for accounting and finance. You will look at formulae, ratios, forecasting, estimation and probability techniques, including those for modelling risk and uncertainty. You will learn to calculate, explain and use descriptive statistics and tests of statistical significance, and examine how to summarise and analyse data, including consideration of collection and sampling techniques.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the formal economic, political and legal institutions, as well as cultural, religious, and linguistic differences that must be taken into account when conducting business across borders. You will look at how the global context in which companies operate has evolved over time, considering the role of foreign direct investment and internationalisation strategies. You will examine the motivations for entering a foreign market, the factors determining whether a company enters on their own or in partnership, the risks of entry and how they are analysed, and how companies negotiate with governments.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the external and internal environments of organisations and their relevance for the accounting and finance professional. You will look at a range of academic and professional literatures and learn how to use data collection and analysis skills for professional activities. You will examine the skills and abilities relevant to applying for, or working as, an accounting or finance professional, and consider how to communicate with academic and business audiences in a clear and effective manner.

Year 2
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theory and practice of financial reporting. You will look at the regulatory and ethical background to the composition of financial reporting documents and learn to prepare single-company financial statements, and extracts from statements, in accordance with the international financial reporting standards (IFRS). You will consider specific accounting issues such as handling of intangibles, and will critically examine and interpret financial statements using quantitative tools such as ratio analysis.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the use of management information systems, in particular those used for performance measurement, performance management, and decision making. You will look at how management accounting information is used to support short and long term decision making by organisations to gain a competitive advantage. You will consider traditional and alternative budgetary practices, including preparation of functional budgets, master budgets, and forecasts, and use of management control systems, such as standard costing and variance analysis. You will also examine the use of transfer pricing methods for performance and decision making within divisionalised structures.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theories and empirical evidence concerning financial management, risk, and the operation of capital markets. You will look at strategic decisions such as gearing and dividend policy within specified institutional contexts, and consider more practical aspects of business finance, including the preparation of forecast financial statements and their use in business planning and valuation. You will also examine aspects of business restructuring, the global context for both investing and financing, and further aspects of risk management.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theories of strategic management. You will consider these theories in the context of contemporary business operations, including the political and regulatory frameworks, in response to technological change, financialisation, the development of new business models, and changes in the way corporate performance is assessed. You will look at key concepts and debates in the theory of corporate and business strategy, and examine the changing context in which corporate strategy is formulated and implemented.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the tools and techniques of economic analysis to solve common managerial problems. You will look at economic intuition and its relevance to business problems, and the application of economic principles to strategic situations. You will consider the constraints faced by business decision makers, the economic consequences of their decisions, and the influence of the macro environment. You will also examine the benefits and drawbacks of free trade or restrictions on imports and exports across a range of countries with divergent socio-political contexts.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the importance of information systems and technologies in the practice of accounting and finance. You will look at how information systems and technologies are being used in the accounting and finance functions. You will examine how accounting information systems, including roles, functionality and tasks, differ between larger and smaller organisations and consider issues surrounding the development, implementation and management of information systems and technology, as well as emerging topics, such as blockchain, analytics and information systems security. You will also gain practical experience in using commonly used software packages such as Microsoft Excel and SAP ERP.

Year 3
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the advanced theory and practice of financial reporting, in the context of governance and corporate social responsibility. You will look at theories that have been developed to assist in the improvement and regulation of corporate financial reporting. You will consider the economic concepts of income and value and their application to financial reporting, and how group financial statements are prepared in accordance with international financial reporting standards (IFRS). You will also examine complex accounting issues, such as financial instruments, taxation, employee benefits and leases, and advanced techniques of analysis and interpretation of corporate financial statements, such as trend analysis, segmental analysis, and advanced ratio analysis.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the contemporary theories and practices of strategic management accounting. You will look at the techniques and practices of activity-based management, pricing decisions and profitability analysis, cost management, strategic investment decision making, alternative approaches to management control, and situational influences, such as the absence of a profit motive. You will examine the tools used to gain a competitive advantage in a globalised business environment, including those related to both short and long-term decision making, planning and control. You will also consider the use of quantitative and qualitative data to support arguments and justify conclusions in relation to selected cases.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of management in theory and practice. You will look at the ethical and international contexts in which investment management takes place. You will examine topics such as efficient markets, the capital asset pricing model, arbitrage pricing theory, and models of systematic risk, considering empirical evidence and current practices. You will evaluate optimal portfolio choices, learning to devise an appropriate portfolio strategy which takes into account the current state of the financial markets. You will also asses the merits of active and passive bond portfolio management from both a domestic and international perspective and examine recent changes to international fund management and their implications.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of approaches to ethical decision making in accounting and finance. You will critically evaluate decision models for accounting ethics, assessing contemporary issues faced by accountants and finance professionals, including the influence of stakeholders, accounting standards, and moral philosophy. You will also examine the role of auditing practices in society, looking at look at real world examples, including major accounting and finance scandals. You will also analyse some of complex ethical issues that surround business decision making, including examples of good and bad practice by governments, corporations and individuals.

You will take at least two of the following:

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of communication, creative accounting and impression management in financial reporting. You will consider the regulatory background to the composition of financial reporting documents together with a range of impression management practices. You will also examine a range of analytical tools used to asses the use of impression management in annual reports.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the impact of taxation on the economy, the corporation and the individual. You will look at the design of tax systems, how tax policies are set, and how policymakers react to changes in taxpayer behaviour and other forces. You will consider the interrelationships between tax and other disciplines, for example law, economics, politics, philosophy, and financial reporting, and the impact UK tax rules have on taxpayers of different types, both directly and indirectly. You will also examine developments in tax planning and the notion of environmental taxes within the context of ethical considerations.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the nature and causes of international differences in financial reporting. You will assess the obstacles to, and progress of, adoption of international standards in major countries, and analyse the major practical issues facing multinational companies as they prepare financial statements.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of contemporary theories in accounting and finance. You will examine a range of empirical evidence and critically evaluate some of the key issues in accounting and finance practice. 

  • The aim of this module is to develop in-depth understanding of the characteristics and operation of the international financial markets. The analysis of international equity, bond, exchange and derivatives markets will be linked to the main concern of governments and international financial organisations taking part in these flows. This also enables students to appreciate the different trends in the integration of financial markets and financial intermediation within countries, regions and at global level.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

You will take one of the following:

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the legal context in which businesses, managers and professionals operate. You will look at the sources and administrative structure of English law, identifying key aspects of the domestic legal system and the influence of the EU. You will consider the nature of contractual agreements, the agency relationship and the consequences of negligence. You will scrutinise the legal implications of incorporation, including the roles of shareholders and directors, and the key principles of insolvency law. You will also examine instances of business and commercial crime encountered by professional accountants, directors, and managers, including whistleblowing, fraud, bribery, and money laundering.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how marketing can be seen as both an academic discipline and as a business practice. You will look at the role of the consumer as a stakeholder in an organisation, examining how they make consumption decisions. You will assess marketing as a business practice, considering how it has penetrated all sectors of the economy (private, public, and not-for-profit). In addition, you will learn about the sustainability of marketing practices in an increasingly globalised consumer society.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the main economic, social, ecological and governance factors that determine the long-term sustainability of organisations. You will look at the interconnectedness of these factors and how they set the context within which small and large businesses, public service organisations and third sector organisations operate. You will consider perspectives on the identification and management of corporate social responsibility, including the complex and often contested business case for it, and how this is often tied into, and justified, in terms of the economic context within which the organisation operates. You will also examine the importance of corporate governance for global sustainability.

  • This module will introduce students to the economic, legal, tax and regulatory systems which impact personal financial planning decisions. Students will learn about different types of investments and the applicable tax implications.  Contemporary issues such as voluntary work, caring for an aging population, unpaid work in the home and the differences in wealth between generations and countries will be explored. The risks, rewards and mitigation strategies of making borrowing and investing decisions will also be covered. 

Year 2

You will take two of the following:

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the assurance process, specifically in relation to the assessment of internal controls and gathering of evidence on an assurance engagement. You will look at the codes of professional ethics that apply to accountants, and auditors in particular, considering the concepts and need for assurance, the process of assurance, and professional ethics. You will learn methods of obtaining and documenting evidence, including sampling, written representations and substantive testing, and apply your knowledge to selected case studies to arrive at reasoned conclusions, making recommendations where appropriate.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of taxation and tax practice, including the ethical context, in the UK. You will look at the influence of the EU on UK tax objectives and policies, the administration of the tax system, the different types of tax in the UK, and the ethical principles that relate to undertaking tax engagements. You will learn how to calculate income tax, national insurance contributions, capital gains tax, corporation tax and VAT in straightforward scenarios. You will consider the use of quantitative and qualitative information to make recommendations to taxpayers and others, examining the application of tax law and identifying ethical decision-making processes, for example in mitigating tax liabilities.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the development and contemporary fluctuations of multinational enterprises. You will look at their history and the role of foreign direct investment in achieving growth. You will consider the effect of internationalisation on host countries, and examine the political economy context within which multinational enterprises operate, as well as their own strategic decision making.

  • In this you will develop an understanding of how digital technologies are being used in marketing programmes. You will look the frameworks and models that are relevant to digital marketing practice and their supporting technologies. You will examine various digital channels and how they are used within marketing campaigns, considering search engine optimisation strategies, customer acquisition and retention, customer service, direct marketing, communications, e-tailing and digital channel structures.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theoretical foundations of entrepreneurship. You will look at the roles and contributions of entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises to economies, and the theories of business growth and development, barriers to growth, internationalisation, and management buyouts. You will consider debates around the provision of hard and soft government support for entrepreneurship, and examine the application of entrepreneurship across different domains, including social entrepreneurship and the increasingly important ‘third sector’, the role of women, family businesses, ethnic minority businesses, and corporate ventures.

Year 3
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the main managerial and technological principles which underlie business and analytics. You will look at the impact of business data analytics on product and service innovation, and examine the main challenges and risk related to business data analytics activities within organisations. You will learn how to carry out a variety of business data analytics techniques, and consider the impact of legislation, regulation and ethical codes of practice on business data analytics programmes and the organisations running them.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of a number of diverse international and theoretical positions on corporate governance. You will look at the concepts of control, accountability and transparency within the context of corporate governance, and consider the role of regulation and its comparative national context. You will examine new trends in emerging market business groups and multinationals and analyse prevailing debates on insider- versus outsider-controlled corporate governance regimes.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the emerging markets, commercial realities, and national cultures within the context of the global economy. You will look at the strategic issues and dilemmas that managers face in their efforts to expand into emerging markets, and consider the commercial realities and national cultures of these. You will look at specific cases studies, including the economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, Turkey and South Africa.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how institutions, policies and processes have shaped the European Union and the European business environment. You will look at the key institutions, policies and processes involved in the widening and deepening of the union, and theories which explain its development. You will consider the national, regional and global influences on European business and examine the complex relationships between the EU and its major trading partners. You will also critically evaluate the challenges facing European countries, policymakers and businesses.

  • You will initiate, design and undertake a substantial piece of independent work. You will critically review published work and utilise qualitative or quantitative research skills to evaluate and interpret research data.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the principles and concepts of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). You will look at how firms use ERP systems for strategic effectiveness and consider the key strategic issues facing managers seeking to deploy and exploit such systems. You will examine the challenges facing those responsible for the selection, implementation and management of ERP projects, and gain practical experience using SAP software and other enterprise-level applications.

Your course will be assessed by a combination of examinations and in-course assignments in the form of essays or presentations. Your understanding of the key management subjects will be achieved by the following learning methods:

  • Lectures introduce the key knowledge areas, concepts and frameworks; lectures will be in larger groups than seminars and workshops.
  • Seminars and workshops are an opportunity to apply your knowledge and to discuss and explore the concepts and frameworks raised in lectures with lecturers and fellow students.
  • Group work will provide you with the opportunity to learn to work with other people. This is important for your development when considering an accounting, finance or management role in your future career.
  • Independent learning is a key skill that will benefit you in the workplace and life in general, as well as study. You will be able to conduct your own research to find out more about the subject areas you are interested in, especially in your final year of study.
  • Case studies will be integrated throughout your course. The case studies chosen will reflect the reality of decision-making and problem-solving activities in today’s business environment, increasing in complexity as your degree progresses.
  • You will be assessed through individual written assignments, group written assignments and presentations and formal examinations, all of which will test your knowledge and skills;
  • The formal examination period is in May/June each year and other formal assessment takes place throughout the academic year.

Accreditations

CIMA
CPA
CIPFA
ICAEW
5th in the world for other accounting research

Source: BYU Accounting Rankings, 2018

93% of our Business and Management graduates are employed or go on to further study within six months of graduating

Source: DLHE, 2018

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