About the course
What’s the difference between financial and management accounting? How can accountants help improve business for the better?
Accounting informs almost all areas of business, from strategy to outsourcing and operational planning to environmental policies. At Essex Business School, where this course is taught, accounting means more than cutting costs and managing transactions. It’s vital for ensuring accountability by encouraging sound, ethical decision making.
Our BSc Accounting is accredited by professional accounting bodies and provides the essential knowledge and skills for a rewarding, fast-paced career.
You gain a firm understanding of the financial drivers underpinning business leadership, strategy, planning, governance and ethics. You explore both financial and management accounting and use case studies to apply theory to practice.
You study topics such as:
- preparation and analysis of financial statements
- regulation in governing accounting practice
- principles of cost accumulation
- financial and management accounting theory
- providing information to managers to assist their decision making
We ensure you gain a fully-rounded business education by introducing you to subjects such as finance, management, marketing and economics in your first year. In your second and final years, you can choose from selected optional modules to tailor the programme to your career aspirations.
In your final year, you have the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice by completing an in-depth, independent research project or dissertation (subject to approval). This will give you the chance to further develop vital employability skills in areas of research, time management and critical thinking.
Essex Business School is ranked in the UK's top 20 (Chartered Association of Business Schools). You join an international community of students and staff, working to make organisations better places to do business.
BSc Accounting can also be taken with either a placement or study abroad year.
Upon completion of BSc Accounting, you benefit from accreditations and exemptions from the following professional bodies:
- The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
This means that you can gain a professional qualification by taking fewer exams when you graduate, giving your career a head start.
The four-year version of our BSc Accounting gives you the opportunity to spend your third year studying abroad and you won’t pay tuition fees during this time (2017 entry). In all other areas, this version of the course remains identical to the standard three-year variant.
You can study abroad with one of our exchange partners in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Japan. In doing so, you experience other cultures and languages, meet new people, and gain skills in organisation and flexibility, which are sought-after by employers.
You may decide to opt for a placement year, where you develop your professional skills and build a network of business contacts. A placement year can give you a career advantage by showing future employers that you are a dedicated and experienced professional. You won’t pay tuition fees during your placement year (2017 entry).
The Essex Business School Placements Manager can offer bespoke support throughout the process of researching, applying and interviewing for placements. However, it is your responsibility to apply, prepare for and secure your own role. Most recently, our students have gained placements with organisations such as BMW, Samsung and Cummins.
Our expert staff
You learn from academics and industry practitioners whose research continues to have a real-world impact. Many of our highly qualified and enthusiastic team are published in world-leading journals and publications.
Our staff specialise in areas including:
- accounting and economic development in the public and third sectors
- regulation and corporate social responsibility
- finance and banking
- accounting and finance in developing economies
- contemporary financial markets and their participants
We are home to industry renowned figures, including Emeritus Professor Prem Sikka, whose work on tax avoidance is frequently cited in The Guardian, The Huffington Post and The Independent.
Our staff embed the latest research into your course, so you learn about real-world issues affecting business right now.
Our BSc Accounting is based at our Colchester Campus.
Our Colchester building is the first zero carbon business school in the UK, set around a lush winter garden and Eden-style dome that gives the building its own micro-climate.
We provide excellent learning and socialising facilities:
- a virtual trading floor with Bloomberg Financial Market Labs; use Bloomberg data, information and analytics to learn about trading stocks and securities
- a state-of-the-art lecture theatre, with seating for 250 students
- study pods and innovation booths for group working
- a café with an adjacent sun terrace
- study skills support provided by the EBS Learning Team
Our Colchester building is located on the Knowledge Gateway, an innovation park housing some of the East of England’s most exciting science, technology and creative businesses. Parkside Office Village sits on the site, providing potential opportunities for networking, internships and work experience directly on campus.
An Essex education prepares you for employment; in 2015, 84% of Essex Business School undergraduates and 98.6% of our international (non-UK/EU) undergraduates were in graduate level work or study within six months of graduating (DLHE 2015 leavers).
Your course develops your transferable employability skills in analysis, critical thinking, presentation and communication. Specialist modules foster your professionalism and introduce you to the graduate recruitment process, including practical advice to excel at interviews and assessment centres.
Our graduates can develop rewarding careers in a range of disciplines including financial analysis, management, public administration and accountancy. Many work at high-profile organisations and innovative SMEs across the globe, such as:
- John Lewis Partnership
- WeFarm, a social enterprise helping farmers out of poverty
- Footprint Digital, a fast-growing digital marketing agency
Many have also started their own successful ventures. Recent examples include:
You benefit from a range of career support and employability opportunities from the School, including access to employer talks. The University’s Employability and Careers Centre can also provide information about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core and optional module structure may be subject to change.
For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.
Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.
Discover the nature and role of accounting, discussing who uses accounting information and for what purposes. You learn about the processes used to record, summarise and present accounting data, using the computerised accounting package MyAccountingLab. You also investigate the development and role of regulation in governing accounting practice.
Discover the applications of quantitative techniques in accounting, finance and management. You explore maths revision, the time value of money, rates of change, probability and statistics, making extensive use of Excel for applying statistical techniques. You also study the financial system, instruments and markets and ideas about finance concepts and problems. The topics covered include investment companies, return and risk, and behavioural finance.
Explore the most significant issues in management theory and practice. You draw out some of the connections and disjunctures between management theory and management practice. You also consider the ethics of managing, and how to balance a business’s priorities with the organisation's wider responsibilities to society and other stakeholders.
How are firms organised? What are the economic implications of this? And how does it affect the markets in which they operate? Develop an understanding of the central concepts of economics, then learn how to apply these principles to economic problems.
This module encourages you to become an active, independent learner, with the ability to reflect on business situations and form your own opinions. We cover areas designed to help you adjust to a university business education so you can perform to your full academic and professional potential. We explore the importance of referencing, constructing a coherent argument and developing writing skills for a variety of purposes, such as academic essays, exams and reports. We develop your analytical skills, critical thinking, presentation and communication skills to help you get the most from your time at university.
This compulsory module aims to help you excel in your academic studies by introducing you to effective study techniques and tools, including the study skills support and resources available to you within Essex Business School. You receive guidance on your academic progress, as well as your personal and professional development. These sessions offer you the opportunity to meet and develop networks and connections within the School and provide key support throughout your first year by helping you to develop the skills and learning strategies needed throughout your degree.
Extend your knowledge of financial accounting by mastering the preparation and analysis of the published financial statements of limited companies operating on their own, or within group structures. You investigate the regulation of financial reporting, the function and content of the main published statements, and problems connected with the treatment of taxation, depreciation, and specific aspects of the asset-expense distinction.
Management accounting enables you to provide three key areas of information to any business: costing, decision-making, and planning and control. In this module you focus on costing, but also see how this area overlaps with the other two, as all three areas always interact. You also develop your knowledge and understanding of management accounting and the context in which it operates.
Explore how financial theory can aid financial decision-making in corporations. You discover how to apply the value maximization principle to corporate decisions, such as investment decision, borrowing decisions, and dividend decisions.
This module aims to give you an insight into UK and EU law. You explore the criminal and civil court structures, contract law, how to apply Legal Method and conduct legal research. You acquire essential information needed to ensure that your business operates within the law and satisfies professional accounting body requirements.
Develop your understanding of the role of management accounting in organisational decision-making and control. You explore the uses of management accounting information in facilitating planning, control and decision making by managers.
What is the appropriate measure of risk for a particular security? How might an investor decide on the weightings of different assets in his/her portfolio? How can we identify mispriced stocks? Should you invest your savings in an actively managed fund or in a passive fund? You consider the main theories of risk and return and explore the implications of these theories for investors' decisions.
This module provides an introduction to the practices and design of computerised accounting (e-accounting). Laboratory-based classes introduce you to a range of accounting software and provide hands-on experience of doing e-accounts. You address important issues, such as transaction processing, documentation techniques, computer fraud and information security.
This module links subject understanding to employability, ensuring you’re prepared to take advantage of graduate opportunities at the point they’re advertised. You gain an understanding of the graduate labour market and recruitment processes, as well as timelines for recruitment and interview and assessment centre techniques. You also learn about options for postgraduate study.
What does accounting do and why, and what is done in the name of accounting but might not be accounting? Does accounting enable us to talk or does it erect barriers around issues so that the debate is silenced or limited? Who should make accounting standards? Should it be the state, professional bodies or some private interests? These are some of the key issues facing producers, consumers, and regulators of corporate financial reports.
Management accounting serves the purpose of identifying, measuring and communicating economic information to permit management and workforce make informed judgements and decisions. Investigate the technical issues in cost management and performance measurement systems, and wider issues concerning the role of management accounting in shaping management structures and decisions in manufacturing and service contexts.
In this module, you evaluate contemporary developments and research in the field of management accounting, using real-life business case studies. You explore management accounting within economic, political, social and cultural contexts, exploring issues such as deregulation, globalisation and increasing customer demands. You examine strategic issues such as cost management, performance measurement and management controls and explore how organisational and technological changes are impacting the discipline both nationally and internationally.
What are the key concepts and issues in auditing? You are introduced to the role of the auditor, followed by an analysis and evaluation of the two main audit approaches: audit risk-based auditing and business risk-based auditing. You then discover key auditing concepts such as the true and fair view, evidence and independence.
Develop your legal knowledge by studying Partnership Law, followed by various aspects of Company Law (including professional negligence), together with the rules of Agency, Insolvency principles, the offence of Insider Dealing and Employment Law.
In this module you study the derivative market, in particular, futures and options markets. You explore various futures markets including the stock index, FX, commodities and interest rate contracts, how they are priced and hedged, and different trading strategies; as well as considering different option positions, the relationship between call and put option prices, and trading strategies.
This module evaluates the opportunities and challenges of conducting businesses online. You develop your critical and analytical skills by exploring key concepts in ecommerce and electronic business and examining their effects on society and the economy. Topics include e-business infrastructure, online revenue, payment systems, digital marketing and online security. You also debate the ethical, moral and legal issues of trading online, including areas such as spatial unboundedness, ‘the digital divide’, privacy and security breaches.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Teaching includes a combination of lectures, seminars and computer-based lab sessions
- Modules delivered by experts in the field as well as guest speakers
- Contribute and interact in lectures through the use of smart technology
- Lecture presentations and notes are uploaded online beforehand to help you prepare in advance
- Complete your final-year project in consultation with a personal supervisor
- Assessed through traditional methods of end-of-year exams and multiple choice questions in class tests and essays
- Plus more innovative and creative assessments include laboratory work, poster presentations, real-business case problems and group presentations
- Your first year marks do not count towards your final degree
UK entry requirements
GCSE: Mathematics C
IB: 30 points, including Standard Level Mathematics grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information. Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C or above.
Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
English language requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.