Accounting and Finance Is Accounting and Finance right for me? A degree in Accounting and/or Finance will suit you if you have an interest in the banking, investment banking or finance sector, the financial operations of large organisations or wish to work as a Chartered Accountant (although a degree is not the only route into chartered accountancy). You will need good numerical skills, time management skills and attention to detail in order to get the best out of this type of degree. The skills you can gain from an Accounting and/or Finance degree are wideranging and provide a good basis for employment in almost any sector. Are all Accounting and Finance degrees the same? All universities will offer slightly different degree courses which may focus on Accounting or Finance or both. Exactly what subjects you will study will vary between universities and if you wish to qualify as a Chartered Accountant you should look for a degree that is accredited by one of the professional accountancy bodies (the main ones are the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)). An accredited degree will exempt you from some of the 'professional' examinations required to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, but the number of exemptions will vary between courses and universities. It will not be possible for you to gain exemption from all of the professional examinations through your degree, so you will need to study further (normally alongside your work) after you graduate in order to become fully qualified. Some universities will allow you to combine Accounting and Finance with other subjects, or with a work placement or study abroad, and choosing a course which includes a work placement or time spent overseas can give you valuable experience which will often help you to secure a job after university. As you progress, your degree will become increasingly more specialised and you will have more scope to choose optional modules that are of interest to you. Each university will provide information in their prospectus or on their website about how their degrees work, with the latter normally offering the most up-to-date information. Specialisms As Accounting and Finance are specialist subjects you will not normally find that you have the option to specialise further. However, during your degree you will normally get the opportunity to pursue advanced modules which will develop your skills and knowledge, or to take specialist modules such as Taxation, Auditing, Asset Management, and Investment Banking. How will I spend my time? Most Universities schedule from 12-18 hours of actual teaching per week for Accounting and Finance. Teaching time is usually split between lectures, small group work such as seminars and tutorials, and some practical classes. Lectures will often be with the whole year group, often comprising hundreds of students. Lecturers will usually give their view on a subject or text and no participation is usually required other than note-taking. You will often find that the lecture notes are available for you to download in advance of the lecture via the university's virtual learning environment (such as Blackboard or Moodle). Seminars and tutorials are a little different in that they often require you to do some sort of preparation beforehand. Seminars will generally have around 20-30 students and tutorials are smaller again, or may be a one-to-one with the tutor. Both seminars and tutorials are more interactive, allowing you to share and develop your ideas and ask any questions you may have. Although slightly daunting initially, these classes will allow you to engage much more closely with the topic of study, your fellow class mates and the academic staff. With these, the more time you put into preparation, the more you will get out of them. Skills you gain from an Accounting and Finance degree • • • • • • • • Numerical and quantitative skills IT skills Critical, analytical and evaluative thinking Good self-management and organisational skills Written and oral communication Research, investigative and analysis skills Independent working Team work • Collection and analysis of data These skills can help you gain work in the financial or accountancy sector (in jobs such as chartered accountant, management accountant, investment banker, financial trader, retail banker, financial analyst or management consultant) or in a finance or accounting related job in other business sectors. You will also be employable in areas such as law, politics, policy, journalism, the public sector and many other areas, or be able to continue with further study.