Elements of Accounting and Finance

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Saipriya Kamath OLD 2.11, Mr Farooq Mahmood and Dr Elisabetta Bertero OLD M2.13


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Accounting and Finance. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

This is a one-unit course that introduces students to fundamental principles of accounting and finance. The course consists of three parts: financial accounting (for external reporting), management accounting (for internal decision making), and finance (to provide funding).

Financial Accounting: The course starts with a discussion of the framework of financial accounting: its nature, intents and purposes, and the context and environment in which it operates. This includes, and eventually entails, the need for, and various sources of, accounting regulation and “accounting standards”. AC100 also unpacks various core financial accounting concepts and conventions. The course also looks into the processes used to record, summarise, and present financial accounting information as well as, crucially, its interpretation. Thus, and essentially, this part of the course focuses on the preparation, interpretation, and limitations of company financial statements for external reporting, and the regulatory framework in which financial reports are prepared.

Management Accounting: This part of AC100 moves into internal decision making and starts with an introduction to management and cost accounting. This includes the discussion of key concepts of cost calculation and various techniques of costing (such as absorption and variable costing approaches), as well as other alternative costing systems relevant for decision making. The aim is to help students understand how accounting information can help managers to make crucial decisions, such as about the pricing of products or services, or even whether to offer or discontinue a product or service, or whether to expand the product/service range or to invest in new product development. In summary, this part of the course focuses on the basic knowledge of management accounting—specifically, costing.

Finance: The final part of AC100 provides an introduction to key concepts in finance and an overview of the financial system. It introduces fundamental techniques of finance such as computation of time value of money, and valuation of projects and securities. The course also considers the relationship between risk and return. In summary, this part of the course focuses on the basic ideas and techniques to solve problems in finance—that is, to provide the needed funds, and an evaluation of the bases on which to effectively do so, for organisations.


20 hours of lectures, 10 hours of classes and 10 hours of help sessions in the MT. 22 hours of lectures, 10 hours of classes and 10 hours of help sessions in the LT. 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

There will be several online tests (“quizzes”) to test the student’s knowledge and progress on a formative basis for feedback. Written answers to numerical problems and discussion questions will be expected weekly; some of the written work will be collected during classes for marking and feedback. 

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be made available on Moodle for each part of the course nearer the time of its scheduled start. Illustrative texts include Atrill, P. and McLaney, E. (2016) Financial Accounting for Decision Makers, 8th edition, Pearson; Atrill, P. and McLaney, E. (2018) Management Accounting for Decision Makers, 9th edition, Pearson; and Atrill, P. (2017) Financial Management for Decision Makers, 8th edition, Pearson.


Exam (70%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Class participation (10%) in the MT and LT.
Case analysis (10%) and online assessment (10%) in the LT.

The exam duration is 3 hours and 15 minutes. The first 15 minutes will be reading time.

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2018/19: 141

Average class size 2018/19: 16

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills