Courses
Accounting and Finance MSc

This fast-paced masters course will equip you with the fundamentals of accountancy and business finance. You’ll develop an advanced understanding and learn the practical skills needed for graduate roles in the financial sector.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

 

Course type

Full-time

Course format

Internship / overseas study

Duration

1 year

UCAS code(s)

n/a

Start date

Overview
Explore Accounting and Finance at Aston University
Woody Chiu

“Aston supported me in finding an internship while studying my MSc.  It really grew my knowledge and gave me real life experience.”

Woody Chiu

Audit Associate, Grant Thornton UK LLP

Courses

“My masters course equipped me with the skills and knowledge which made me eligible to be recruited by a top IT corporation like IBM.”

Dimitrios Chatzitsirakoglou

Accounting Analyst, IBM

Courses

“My masters course equipped me with the skills and knowledge which made me eligible to be recruited by a top IT corporation like IBM.”

Dimitrios Chatzitsirakoglou

Accounting Analyst, IBM

Course outline and modules

With a strong demand for accounting and financial skills in the job market, our MSc Accounting and Finance will set you up for a rewarding career. The programme will bring you up to speed with the fundamentals of accountancy and business finance, and develop an advanced understanding of the practical skills needed for graduate roles in the financial sector.

You’ll get the opportunity to engage with a Business Project or Dissertation. This is a substantial piece of work designed to provide you with the opportunity to analyse a business problem and practically apply the knowledge and skills developed during the course.

With a strong demand for accounting and financial skills in the job marketing, our MSc Accounting and Finance can set you up for a rewarding career.

On this stimulating and varied course, you’ll learn about the practical and strategic application of financial and management of accounting information, business finance, as well as how corporations report on and engage with sustainability issues.

This course is a fantastic step towards becoming a qualified accountant. It is accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). This means you will benefit from exemptions, which will reduce the number of ACCA or CIMA professional exams that you will need to take to become a fully qualified accountant once in employment.

How will my skills develop?

As well as financial accounting concepts, case studies and theories, you’ll also develop key skills in management accounting to help you construct and interpret financial statements, critically assess tools and use real-world data in core modules such as sustainability accounting and accountability.

All of this means you’ll become highly skilled at providing information to business leaders, improving commercial decision-making and business performance.

You'll study The Aston Global Advantage module which focuses on professional development and employability, helping you to apply the skills that you will gain throughout the year.

This is our professional development programme and an integrated module that runs throughout your MSc course at Aston Business School. The programme will equip you with transferable skills and relevant experiences for the workplace, giving you a competitive edge in the job market, or for when starting a business. Flexible and personalised, this programme can be tailored to your career aspirations, development needs, or existing professional experience. Whatever career path you wish to follow, this programme lets you take control of your future. 

You’ll also have the opportunity to study abroad with one of our international partners, undertake an internship placement in the UK or overseas or get involved in a global business challenge simulation.

How will this course help my career?

You’ll be taught by our exceptional teaching staff. They have a range of experience and expertise, with qualified accountants who have worked for prestigious global companies as well as leading academics who are at the forefront of research in the field of accounting and finance. This means you will benefit from various perspectives and insights that will help you develop a solid understanding of accounting and financial theories and practice.

We use an innovative and engaging range of teaching methods. Lectures, tutorials, group work and case studies will introduce you to the latest thinking in this field and give you the opportunity to critically consider its application in real-life business situations. This is enhanced by leading industry experts delivering guest lectures. These opportunities will enable you to learn about current practices and challenges in accounting and business finance.

Our courses offer a range of opportunities to gain practical experience through things such as, consultancy projects and entrepreneurial opportunities. Find out more here. 

The course concludes with a Business Project or Dissertation, giving you the opportunity to analyse a business problem and practically apply the knowledge and skills developed during the course to outline your recommendations. This will also help to show prospective employers how you are able to impact their business.

This course offers a double degree option, meaning you could study overseas at one of our partner institutions during your placement year and graduate with two masters degrees. Find out more here.

January Start

Should you wish to commence your study in January:

  • A wide, but alternative, range of study abroad options will be available for January starts.
  • If you are an international student, your visa will still be valid until the end of May the year following your entry date. 

Modules

Core modules

Financial Accounting and Reporting

This module covers a range of financial accounting concepts and provides a challenging and interesting introduction to the theory and practice of financial accounting. The module is designed to help you construct and interpret financial statements and to develop a theoretical and analytical grasp on financial accounting issues.

Management Accounting

Using a range of case studies this module will look at traditional and innovative ways of measuring and managing costs and recent developments in performance planning, measurement and management. Key techniques in cost and management accounting as well as context appropriate practices will be taught.

Contemporary Issues in Financial Reporting

This module aims to equip students with knowledge and understanding of financial reporting from an international context. The module is designed to inspire you to evaluate the effects of financial reporting treatments on published financial statements of international organisations, as well as derive and communicate meaning in order to make or influence economic decisions.

Strategic Management Accounting

Strategic Management Accounting (SMA) is a controversial subject and as such is treated practically and theoretically to reflect the state of the art.  Critical assessment of SMA concepts and tools is undertaken in the light of the latest research and using practical contexts to allow you to appreciate the potential pitfalls of this high level concept.

Sustainability Accounting and Accountability

This module examines a range of theories and practical methods that underpin sustainability accounting and accountability studies and applications. We go beyond the traditional accounting model to explore and challenge new ways of thinking, using real-world data. This allows you to acquire conceptual and practical experiences within the growing field of sustainability accounting and accountability.

Business Finance

This module teaches you the key principles and challenges of financial management decisions.  Develop an understanding of the characteristics influencing factors and the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of financing.  You'll also apply mathematical techniques to support a range of business decisions such as the valuation of shares and the evaluation of investment opportunities.

Financial Analysis

This module will focus on providing you with the knowledge, understanding and skills to analyse published financial statements. It will develop your ability to critically assess the current stock market valuation of major public companies and make impartial financial recommendations.

Ethics in Academic Practice

This module provides an introduction to the Academic Offence framework. By completing the resources you will understand the key principles underpinning the submission of academic assignments. These principles can then be applied to the rest of the modules studied at the university.

The Aston Global Advantage

The Aston Global Advantage is our professional development programme that runs throughout all MSc programmes at Aston Business School. Focusing on professional development and employability, this integrated module gives you the opportunity to identify, develop and apply the key transferrable skills you will gain throughout the year. 

Business Project or Dissertation 

The business project/dissertation is a chance for you to carry out an original piece of work applying material that you have learnt in the taught element of your degree. Specific requirements will be explained relating to different degree programmes but in summary you must demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge of your chosen area of specialism.

Optional modules

Fundamentals of Audit and Taxation

This module aims to stimulate an interest in the reasons why taxation and auditing only partially achieve their objectives. Through understanding those objectives, the way tax and audit function, the controversies and how tax and auditing work and don’t work but with an eye to their future.

Islamic Accounting and Finance Corporate Governance

Regulation and Compliance International Finance

In this module you’ll explore the role of international financial markets, the financial problems faced by firms when undertaking international trade and investments and the financial strategies used by multinational firms to alleviate financial and political risks. We use theory and practical examples to give you an understanding of these financial issues facing firms and investors when firms operate internationally.

Research Design

Practice and Ethics

 

Entry requirements

UK/EU students

One of the following:

  • A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class)
  • Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University

Subject specific requirements:

Our students come from a wide range of educational backgrounds, including both business and non-business specialisms. If you have already specialised in accounting and finance or a related subject at undergraduate level, visit our MSc International Accounting and Finance course page. 

As well as:

  • Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee
  • An official academic transcript of your university grades to date
  • A completed application form.

 

International students
  • An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date.
  • Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English language requirements Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements.
  • Postgraduate masters students enrolling with Aston Business School with a 5.5 in one of the four IELTS sections will be required to engage with English language tuition as part of our professional development programme, The Aston Global Advantage. There will be no extra cost to the student.
  • For students who do not meet our minimum academic and English language requirements for this course, we offer an alternative pathway to an Aston Master’s with Kaplan International College, London.
  • For more information about qualifications, view our Aston in your country webpage.
Extensive work experience

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications, but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

 

 

Learning, teaching and assessment

We are recognised for the quality of our teaching and research with 100 per cent of our business research achieving the highest rankings in the latest Research Excellence Framework.

You’ll will be taught various concepts and principles of accounting and finance but this is far from a passive, theory-heavy course. What makes us stand out is our focus on providing you with the practical skills to help you get ahead in your career. We’ll give you hands-on activities where you can apply what you’ve learnt to solve commercial problems.

We will also give you the unique opportunity to gain insight and advice from professional bodies such as the CIMA and Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA) Australia. We firmly believe this will improve your understanding and enhance your employability.

Our innovative online learning platform will also support you with your studies. It has all the digital resources you will need when revising, including lecture slides, access e-books, and online journals, as well as video recordings of teaching sessions. Your lectures will also be on hand to offer one-to-one support with any topics you have difficulty with.

Here’s a few examples of activities or projects you can get involved in as part of this course:

Financial Analysis - This module is taught through a case study focusing on a real company traded on the London Stock Exchange. Each session consists of a mixture of lecturers, self-study tasks, discussions and interactive and fun methods such as games and videos. You will also have opportunities to fetch data necessary for valuing a company using the resources on the internet.

Financial Accounting – The module concentrates on the preparation of companies' financial statements. Students learn how to prepare financial statements using various allowances and adjustments for accruals and prepayments. The module concentrates on examining the structure and significance of financial statements. It provides an insight into the main creative accounting techniques, by which accounts are produced, to provide a more favourable view than is objectively justifiable. Also included is the interpretation of accounts through technique of ratio analysis, the distorting effect of inflation, and a review of current accounting issues including moves towards harmony in international accounting.

Accounting in action simulation – This innovative online business simulation lets you take the role of senior managers within a company and compete with other students to see who can run the most profitable business. Working as part of a team, you will need to make business decisions based on certain scenarios and quantitative data. You’ll have to consider the financial implications of your decisions and apply various accounting and finance concepts, tools and techniques.

Sustainability Accounting and Accountability – This progressive module gives you the chance to analyse how companies manage the conflict between maximising their profits whilst being socially and sustainably responsible. We look at case studies which show sustainable practises of firms and take part in class debates to assess their approach. You will then critically analyse how stock market listed companies engage with sustainability and if they’re doing enough to meet the demands of their various stakeholders.

Dissertation or Business Project – You'll also have to complete either a project or a dissertation, which will see you research a topic in detail through independent study.  This brings together the skills and knowledge you've gained throughout the programme. For the project you'll analyse financial information and he strategy and business activities of your chosen company. It’s a great practical exercise that simulates various tasks you may have to undertake in financial roles in the workplace.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods as part of this course. There is a mix of exams, coursework, presentations and group work. For our assessments we use real fictitious business scenarios. These practical assessments help you to develop the skills and competencies required for future job roles.

 

Student experience and employability

Overseas opportunities

We benefit from an extensive network of partner institutions, including some of the highest ranked business schools in Europe, such as Kedge Business School in France. We also have partnerships with universities worldwide, from Australia to China and USA to Singapore.

Placements

You can go on a work placement for as little as one month or as long as a year. You’ll spend your time with a company of your choice, either in the UK or overseas. A work placement is really beneficial to your future career prospects, it can enhance your CV and help you stand out from the competition when applying for graduate roles. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to develop your understanding of your subject area by applying what you’ve learnt in the classroom to a professional context.

Our students have been successful in gaining work placements in a wide variety of organisations, both in the UK and internationally. They’ve worked for accountancy, financial institutions in the UK and overseas, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as small businesses.

You’ll also be given the opportunity to support start-up businesses and SMEs with business projects through our Aston Business Clinic. Working with other students, you’ll collaborate to solve a strategic problem and make a real difference for a growing business.

Our careers team will be on hand to support you finding work placements and graduate positions.

Trips and visits

Your lecturers will arrange for guest speakers to visit, giving you the chance to learn from experienced professionals.  You'll gain an insight into how different companies operate and the challenges faced in this area of business.

We also have a large number of graduate employers visit the campus during the year.  There's careers fairs, networking events and much more.  You'll have the chance to discover a wide range of graduate opportunities and speak with companies to see where is the best place for you to start your career.

Erasmus+

Study or work in another country

The University has secured Erasmus+ mobility funding for students going on placement during the academic year 2019/20.  For students planning their placement in the academic year 2020/21, Erasmus+ mobility funding will be dependent on the Exit date and whether a Withdrawal deal is agreed. The University’s Brexit information page is regularly being updated and will have the latest information. 

Fees and scholarships

UK/EU students (2020/21): £10,550

International students (2020/21): £18,850

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

This course will prepare you to enter a wide range of professional and management careers in accountancy, business services, banking, investment and insurance.

Successful completion of this course leads to exemptions from professional accountancy bodies ACCA and CIMA. You will still need to secure professional training to complete further exams to become fully qualified in accountancy, but these exemptions demonstrate to future employers your commitment and potential to complete sector qualifications.

You’ll develop a range of technical and transferable skills and knowledge. These are highly relevant to a wide range of graduate careers where analytical, decision-making, problem-solving and planning are required.

Recent graduates

Our recent graduates have gone on to work in accountancy, financial management and banking and investment in roles including investment Associate, Analyst, Auditor, Risk Consultant, Stock Market Observer, Director, Accounting Analyst and Financial Analyst Companies include:

  • HSBC
  • Credit Agricole (France)
  • BEA (China)
  • IBM
  • Bank of New York
  • Citigroup
  • Deutsche Bank
  • TISCO Bank (Thailand)
  • Deloitte
  • Ernst and Young
  • PwC
  • KPMG.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham, it’s also a great place to live.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

 

Frequently asked questions

Why study accounting and finance at Aston University?

Not only will you have a high-quality taught course but our focus on practical skills means that you will be able to put everything you learn into practice and prepare yourself for your career.

Why choose to study with Aston Business School?

Aston Business School is part of an elite group of business schools thanks to our triple accreditation from AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. We can help to enhance your career prospects, boost your earning potential and set you on the pathway for a successful, rewarding career. 

Aston University is renowned for its excellence in teaching and research and the employability of our graduates. At Aston Business School we are committed to innovative approaches to teaching and education. We are dedicated to providing the students with a competitive advantage in the jobs market by delivering the knowledge students need to pursue the many career tracks available to them with a background in international business. Teaching on the course is informed by our world-class scholars and provides you with a deep understanding and skills for conducting business in a global scale. At Aston University, we aim to prepare the students for the real world challenges. There are plenty of opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience and apply their knowledge in real-life situations by engaging in live projects and internships. 

Chat with current students

 
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