AC102      Half Unit
Elements of Financial Accounting

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Gulnaz Khamidullina OLD 2.19


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Finance. This course is available on the BSc in Actuarial Science, BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics, BSc in Management and BSc in Mathematics, Statistics and Business. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This is a half-unit course that introduces students to fundamental principles of financial accounting for the purposes of external reporting. 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. AC102 unpacks various core financial accounting concepts and conventions, but the course also looks into the processes used to record, summarise, and present financial accounting information as well as, crucially, its interpretation. This course thus essentially focuses on the preparation, interpretation, and limitations of company financial statements for external reporting, and the regulatory framework in which financial reports are prepared.


This course is delivered through a combination of weekly lectures and classes in the Michaelmas and Summer terms. Each teaching session contains a variety of technical content and practical exercises. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered by a combination of online recorded (asynchronous) lectures and virtual interactive (synchronous) classes as an alternative to face-to-face teaching.

Formative coursework

Written answers to numerical problems and discussion questions will be expected weekly; two pieces of work per term will be submitted for marking and feedback.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists will be made available at the beginning of the course. Illustrative texts include Peter Atrill and Eddie McLaney Financial Accounting for Decision Makers, 9th edn, Pearson, 2019.


Exam (100%, duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.

The exam duration is 1 hour and 45 minutes. The first 15 minutes will be reading time.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2018/19 - 2020/21 combined)

Classification % of students
First 69.1
2:1 17
2:2 7.6
Third 3.9
Fail 2.3

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2020/21: 579

Average class size 2020/21: 16

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: Half 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