Accounting and Finance

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.
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.