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BSc Accounting and Finance

Why we're great

  • This course gives you exemptions from some ACCA, ICAEW and CIMA exams
  • Essex Business School is an IMC Advantage Partner
  • Q-Step Affiliate Status gives you the chance to follow a specialised pathway in Applied Quantitative Methods

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: N420
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Essex Business School
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: N422
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Essex Business School
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: NNK3
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Essex Business School
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666

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About the course

How can finance professionals act responsibility, but still meet business objectives? How does accounting information inform business decision making?

BSc Accounting and Finance is accredited by a number of professional accounting and finance bodies. You have access to our virtual trading floor, where you make use of real-world Bloomberg data, information and analytics to practise trading stocks and securities in the type of environment found in City finance firms.

You study a wide range of topics and develop your quantitative skills, giving you the flexibility to pursue a career in finance, accounting or business management after graduation.

You explore areas such as:

  • the preparation of financial statements and budgets
  • accounting standards and corporate governance
  • financial theory
  • portfolio management
  • options and futures markets
  • risk management

Essex is one of just three UK universities to have received Q-Step Affiliate status, including for our BSc Accounting and Finance, to support the way we develop the quantitative skills of our graduates.

This means we can provide work placement bursaries to develop your skills in evaluating numerical evidence, analysing data and designing research. We also offer the opportunity to follow a specialised degree path, where you graduate with enhanced quantitative skills. These are evidenced on your degree transcript, to help give you the competitive edge in the graduate job market.

BSc Accounting and Finance is taught at Essex Business School, ranked in the UK’s top 25 for research excellence (REF, 2014) and in the top 20 UK business schools by the Chartered Association of Business Schools. Our finance group is one of the largest and most respected in the country and our students and staff join us from all over the world.

We not only teach you how financial information underpins leadership, strategy and planning, but how financial decisions can impact society and the economy. We develop your understanding of governance and ethics, so you can take actions for the good of organisations and the wider world.

Essex Business School is an IMC Advantage Partner and this course is aligned to the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) syllabus, the industry’s benchmark entry-level qualification.

BSc Accounting and Finance includes an introductory first year to familiarise you with wider business topics, such as management, marketing and economics.

This course can also be taken with an optional placement or study abroad year.

“I’ve developed transferable skills that will broaden my career prospects. I learnt from expert academics, using the latest research, so I knew I was learning about the banking systems of today, rather than simply historical theory. University life is not just about learning though; it’s also about making friends and exploring new interests. It’s great that Essex has such a wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer via sports clubs and societies.”

Maria Ros Bautista, BSc Accounting and Finance (2015)

Professional accreditation

Completion of this course gives you 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 are able to gain a professional qualification by taking fewer exams when you graduate, giving your career a head start.

Study abroad

The four-year version of our BSc Accounting and Finance enables you to study abroad during your third year and you won’t pay tuition fees during this time. The course content otherwise remains the same as the three-year version.

Studying abroad allows you 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. We have exchange partners in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Japan.

Placement year

Alternatively, you may decide to take on a placement year to gain relevant work experience within an external organisation. A placement year can give you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and provide you with key contacts within the industry.

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. We also offer a number of other employability opportunities during your studies. Our students have gained placements with organisations such as BMW, Samsung and Cummins.

Our expert staff

You are taught by a highly qualified, enthusiastic team with wide-ranging research interests and proven academic track record. You’ll regularly see our academics, such as Professor of Accounting Prem Sikka, talking to the media about important business issues.

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; and contemporary financial markets and their participants.

They use research in lectures and seminars, so you learn about issues affecting the business world right now.

Specialist facilities

Our BSc Accounting and Finance is based at our Colchester Campus, where you benefit from excellent facilities:

  • a lush winter garden, which gives our zero carbon building its own micro-climate
  • light and spacious lecture theatres
  • study pods and innovation booths for group working
  • networking opportunities with visiting businesses
  • a café with an adjacent sun terrace
  • study skills workshops and advice

Our Colchester building is located on the Knowledge Gateway innovation park, providing potential networking and work experience opportunities with a range of exciting businesses located on site.

Your future

As well as equipping you with knowledge and practical skills in accounting and finance, we develop your employability skills through a dedicated career module.

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). Our recent graduates work for companies such as:

  • PWC
  • IBM
  • Deloitte
  • EY
  • Bank of England
  • Hiscox
  • John Lewis Partnership

From your first day at university, we support you to prepare for life after graduation. We understand the skills and knowledge modern employers want to see in their graduates and ensure that you have the opportunity to acquire these through your degree studies and extra-curricular activity, including a range of employability opportunities.

We work closely with the University’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

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Example structure

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 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.

Year 1

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.

Year 2

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.

Making extensive use of Excel spreadsheets, you use real data to analyse different financial models. Applications will include models of portfolio selection, asset pricing and risk management, as you learn to use basic statistical concepts to test hypotheses relating to financial models.

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 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.

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.

Final year

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 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.

The (mis)use of financial derivatives can potentially have catastrophic consequences for those who acquire them. And yet in recent years derivatives have become increasingly important, both for the financial sector and for the wider economy. On this course you discover how risk can be managed with the use of derivative instruments.

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.

This module introduces you to key concepts, theories and issues in corporate governance. You explore issues of corporate governance regulations, the relationship between accounting and corporate governance, board structure and managerial opportunism, corporate social responsibility and the politics of corporate governance.

Gain a thorough understanding of the basic international arbitrage relationships of some basic models of exchange rate determination. You then explore topics in economics such as models of currency crisis, and the South American and East Asian Crisis, and investigate international markets from the perspective of a multinational firm, where topics such as the international cost of capital and foreign direct investment are covered.


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.

Year abroad

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

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UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB
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. Email 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.

IELTS entry requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)

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.

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.

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 required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

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Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.


Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.


Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Visit days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our visit days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your visit day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

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The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.