ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE STUDY IN THE UK: AN OVERVIEW

ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE STUDY IN THE UK: AN OVERVIEW

Accounting is one of the principal foundations of any business or company. The UK is one of the world’s biggest financial centers and choosing to study Accounting and Finance in the UK is a great decision. 

A fully qualified Accountant can provide all the financial expertise required by a company or an individual. The core competencies of a qualified finance and accounting professional include examining and predicting the economic trends and providing requisite information to management and investors.

Students who are inclined to study accounting and pursue a career in this field require an analytical mind and critical thinking skills to compare and interpret facts and, last but not least, should be good with numbers and logic. Most universities focus on helping students master the desired skills through a combination of classroom learning, projects, case studies, workshops, reporting, and industry placements. 

Some of the renowned universities to study accounting and finance in the UK are:

  • UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS – University of Leeds Business School is globally recognised for its excellent teaching and impactful research. It is ranked #5 for accounting and finance (Complete University Guide 2022). offers two programmes in accounting and finance – BSc Accounting and Finance and MSc Accounting and Finance. 
  • UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – The University of Glasgow is one of the best universities for accounting. Their typical course programme structure is a four-year degree in accounting alongside subjects such as language, statistics, technology, investment banking or economics.
  • UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE, SCOTLAND – Ranked at #2 by Complete University Guide 2021, University of Strathclyde has also been named ‘Scottish University of the Year 2020’ (The Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020). Their course structure includes some interesting combinations like accounting and hospitality/business law/marketing.
  • LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY – Loughborough University has been ranked #5 for accounting and finance by The Guardian University Guide 2021. They offer all four-year programmes with a ‘placement option’ in the 3rd year. Course includes a combination of exams and a skill-based curriculum. The Master’s course is accredited by the CIMA, which exempts at least six professional examinations. 
  • LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS – Situated in the heart of London, LSE offers core accounting courses along with broader disciplines such as social sciences. This course inclusion helps students get a better approach to financial management in an actual business environment. After completing Masters, students can opt for a PhD degree as well. 
  • UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH – Apart from being a beautiful and architecturally rich city, Edinburgh is the second largest financial centre in the UK with a diverse and thriving economy. The University of Edinburgh is an official partner of the CIMA and its finance programme covers at least 70% of the CFA curriculum. According to QS Global University Rankings, it is ranked #20 for Accounting and Finance worldwide.

TOP ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE COURSES AND QUALIFICATIONS

The study of accounting and finance has different levels and categories of certifications and degrees. AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) is the minimum level qualification required to become an accountant. Going further, one can choose to pursue higher qualification levels to become a Chartered Accountant. 

The top three professional level qualifications for accounting in the UK are –

ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants – The ACCA certification consists of three modules and 13 exams. The course can take up to 3 years to complete. 

ACA – Associate Chartered Accountant by Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales – To become an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, one has to clear 15 exam modules covering various aspects of accounting. Typically, it takes around 12 months to gain the certification. 

CIMA – Chartered Institute of Management Accountants – A CIMA qualification consists of four modules for 3-6 years. The completion of this course depends solely upon the student and the study method. 

A Master’s degree in accounting from some universities gives you a chance to be exempted from some professional exam bodies like ICAEW, CIMA, and ACCA.

CAREER PROSPECTS

Qualified professionals in accounting and finance in the UK are highly employable. They can enter into many diversified areas of employment such as: 

  • Public sectors
  • Marketing 
  • Investment management, security analysis and broking
  • Capital markets, trading and risk management
  • Venture capital or private equity
  • Hedge funds
  • Retail and commercial banking

Career opportunities in this field range from junior levels to high-level positions such as the Chief Financial Officer. Some of the top companies in the UK that recruit qualified accounting and finance professionals are Deloitte, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, EY, and Morgan Stanley. Holding an accounting degree from a UK university enables you to acquire a much higher earning potential along with the flexibility to work in any industry. There is a great demand for financial management professionals in every industry to keep their business profitability intact. 

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