University of Chester

Programme Specification
Accounting BSc (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2014 - 2015

Bachelor of Science (Combined Honours)



University of Chester

University of Chester

Chester campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Business and Management Business and Finance

Accounting (2007)

Pptimised exemptions / accreditation awarded at the discretion of the professional  chartered accounting bodies CIMA /ACCA /CIPFA/ICAEW (not by the University) for alignment see section 32 additional information


Friday 1st January 2010

  • To provide the capacity for the critical evaluation of arguments and evidence in the study of accounting 
  • To demonstrate an ability to analyse and draw reasoned conclusions concerning structured and to a more limited extent, unstructured problems from a given set of data and from data which must be acquired by the student
  • To demonstrate  the ability to locate extract and analyse data from multiple sources , including acknowledgement and referencing of sources 
  • To apply numerical skills, including the ability to manipulate financial and other numerical data and to appreciate statistical concepts at an appropriate level 
  • To demonstrate application of skills in communication and information technology in acquiring, analysing and communicating information (including use of spreadsheets, standard statistical package, word processing and databases) 
  • To present communication skills including the ability to present quantitative and qualitative information together with analysis, argument and commentary in a form appropriate to different intended audiences (including experience of group working and both oral and written presentation). 
  • To place the academic study of accounting and within an applied management centred approach 
  • To expand the capacity for independent and self managed learning by encouraging the knowledge, skills and attitudes to become life-long learners who recognise the need to engage in Continuous Personal and Professional Development; through a coherent programme of study in accounting and finance, which will prepare students for employment and or  further study academically and or professionally. 

Knowledge and Understanding

  • a critical understanding and appreciation of the business context in which accounting operates
  • a critical understanding of the main current and alternative languages and practices of accounting in specified socio-economic domains
  • a developed application of ability to understand, appreciate, record and summarise transactions and other economic events, combined with preparation of financial statements and analysis of the operations of business
  • an ability to apply, theorise and test contemporary theory and empirical evidence in relation to accounting in varied contexts
  • an ability to test, analyse and interpret financial data arising from a variety of contexts using statistical and financial analysis including the behaviour of economies, organisations and individual

Thinking or Cognitive Skills

  • demonstrate an appreciation of the intellectual skillsrequired at each level of study by the QAA benchmark and acceptance of responsibility for own learning and continuing professional development
  • independently research, investigate and assess accounting specific facts, theories, paradigms, principles and concepts
  • critically assess and evaluate evidence and argument to reach considered view
  • critical interpretation of financial and non financial data to develop reasoned arguments and to challenge assumptions.

Practical Skills

  • ability to locate, extract and manipulate financial and non financial data
  • ability to analyse, interpret, evaluate and communicate financial information to users
  • ability to apply of principles and techniques to formulate solutions to accounting related problems
  • ability to apply accounting related software to accountingrelated issues

Key Skills
  • Communication
  • Application of Number
  • Information Literacy and Technology
  • Improving own learning and performance
  • Working with others
  • Problem solving

  • Communication - oral and in writing, using a range of media which are widely used in business, for example, the preparation and presentation of business reports
  • Application of Number - using appropriate quantitative and qualitative skills including identifying, formulating and solving business problems, with data analysis, interpretation and extrapolation
  • Information Literacy and Technology through use of appropriate information and communication technology - generic e.g. Word, databases and specific e.g. software accounting packages and spreadsheets
  • Improving own learning and performance - including self awareness, independence, the skills of reflective, adaptive and collaborative learning
  • Working with others - leadership, team building, project management skills, plus effective listening, negotiating, persuasion and presentation

  • Problem solving - the ability to create, evaluate and assess a range of options together with the capacity to apply ideas and knowledge to a range of situations and tasks/problems

Transferable Professional Skills

  • meeting the requirements of professional accounting bodies leading to the awarding of exemption/ accreditation of modules at the discretion of the professional bodies (not by the University)

The programme is designed as a balanced academic and vocationally orientated programme that aims to prepare students to become competent and knowledgeable in the fields of accounting and finance whilst also studying a second subject.

The aim of the programme is to provide students with the requisite academic, vocational and transferable skills, knowledge and understanding  to seek careers in accounting but also to support other career aspirations requiring developed numerical skills. The structure of the programme has been developed based upon the requirements of the professional accounting bodies and directly informed by the FHEQ descriptor for honours graduates and the  QAA benchmark in Accounting (2007). The structure of the combined honours in Accounting offers a coherent programme within each year of study, with the focus upon the core areas of accounting and finance via modules in financial and management accounting  and management. This coherence is reinforced by progression between levels allowing the development of thematic strands between levels.

Construct of the programme also took cognisance of the latest syllabus developments and requirements of the professional accounting bodies to optimise exemptions from professional accounting bodies.

The programme is divided into three years with six modules (each worth 20 credits) in each year.

The core modules in financial and management accounting and management also offer the development of thematic strands between levels being core at all three levels.  This coherence is reinforced by IT skills development at each level in appropriate modules within the accounting modules. 

This programme has been designed to provide students with a strong foundation in key aspects of accountancy. The structure of the combined honours degree offers the introduction of key aspects in first year study coupled with thematic progression and development through the three years of study, addressing the fundamental structure of accounting and finance. The three core areas being identified as crucial for a combined degree in accounting are financial accounting, management accounting and management. 

The table below details the development of the core areas over the three years of study

 Table  BSc Hons Accounting combined  development of core areas

Core area

Year 1

Level 4 module

Year 2

Level 5 module

Year 3(joint or major)

Level 6 module

Financial accounting


Financial accounting 1


Financial accounting 2 -financial operations


Financial accounting 3-

 Financial management

Management accounting

BU4009 Management accounting 1 

BU5007 Management accounting 2- Performance operations


Management accounting 3-

 Performance management



Quantitative methods in finance

BU5005 Enterprise operations

not minor


Strategic Enterprise Management


The first year offers all core modules and does not assume any prior knowledge relevant to accounting and finance but will provide a strong underpinning for more detailed academic and technical studies in later years.  Modules at year one will concentrate on building and consolidating knowledge and understanding of the fundamental principles of accounting placed in the context of the UK business environment. The theoretical and conceptual underpinning of accounting will play an essential part of this level of study. Thematically it is the specialist accounting subjects of Financial Accounting and Management Accounting and Management which form the core of study through all years. In the first year this is represented by two core modules in financial and management accounting which offer a grounding in accounting supported by the incorporating of exposure to accounting packages and introduction to spreadsheets as part of the knowledge and skills development.  The third module for combined students is also core being quantitative methods for finance incorporating spreadsheets which offers enhancement to the numerical aspects of study . Skills will be embedded at all levels with particular focus on information technology to assist in the development of employability and professional attitudes to work. 

The second year is also comprised of core modules and will build upon the year one foundation and consolidate areas studied in the first year. Specifically modules in financial and management accounting will be expanded and developed incorporating IT skills.  The modules studied in year two will reflect an operational theme - focusing upon the operationalisation of financial and management accounting (allowing development of IT spreadsheets skills).

The remaining core module is management focused- enterprise operations (incorporating operational management, information systems and the global business environment).

A module in work based learning requiring exposure to the workplace is core to all students at the University to provide an opportunity to transfer the theoretical to the practical context. These theoretical and practical modules are designed to address the FHEQ requirements that students develop a sound understanding of principle, are able to apply these principles and are able to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches linked with a vocationally orientated experience.

The final year for joint equally weighted combined students on the three year degree will again focus on development of both financial and management accounting in core modules. In financial accounting, on analytical elements and the evaluation and synthesis of knowledge and in management accounting on decision-making in these core modules, IT skills will continue to be expanded  through use of spreadsheets and financial modelling. A third core module of strategic enterprise management will offer management contextualisation for the student undertaking the equal route.

A combined  joint student wishing to undertake a double weighted (40 credit) dissertation module as a major piece of autonomous work allowing focus upon an appropriate topic within accounting at this level, must also study the core modules of financial and management accounting, thus becoming a major route combined student. The minor route combined student will undertake the core modules in financial accounting and management accounting only 

By this level of study students will  be able to demonstrate an understanding of the complex body of knowledge relating to accounting and finance, will have the ability to apply analytical techniques and problem solving skills and be able to evaluate evidence to reach sound judgements which can be communicated effectively. The student will be able to demonstrate the qualities and transferable skills required by the workplace.

Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
BU4007 4 Financial Accounting 1 20 Comp Comp Comp
BU4009 4 Management Accounting 1 20 Comp Comp Comp
BU4010 4 Quantitative Methods in Finance 20 Comp Comp Comp
BU5005 5 Enterprise Operations 20 Optional Optional Optional
BU5006 5 Financial Accounting 2- financial operations 20 Comp Comp Comp
BU5007 5 Management Accounting 2 - performance operations 20 Comp Comp Comp
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
BU6001 6 Business Dissertation 40 Optional N/A Optional
BU6005 6 Law for Managers 20 Optional N/A Optional
BU6006 6 Strategic Finance and Accounting 20 Optional N/A Optional
BU6012 6 Auditing 20 Optional N/A Optional
BU6013 6 Financial Accounting 3 - financial management 20 Comp Comp Comp
BU6014 6 Strategic Enterprise Management 20 Optional N/A Optional
BU6015 6 Management Accounting 3- performance management 20 Comp Comp Comp
BU6016 6 Taxation 20 Optional N/A Optional
BU6303 6 International Financial Management 20 Optional N/A Optional

Level 4 :120 credits
Level 5 :120 credits
Level 6 :120 credits
Total :360 credits

This programme is available to anyone capable of reaching the required entry standards. The typical applicant will have a minimum of 260 UCAS points, of which 220 points must be obtained from GCE A2 Level or Vocational A Level (6 or 12 unit) awards, including a Grade C in one subject. The remaining points may be achieved from GCE A2/AS Level, Vocational A/AS Level awards , or from Level 3 certification. BTEC National Certificate/Diploma applicants will have a minimum of a Merit profile.  Applicants will be expected to hold a GCSE Mathematics qualification at grade C or above. Irish and Scottish Highers: a minimum of BBCC 30 points for applicants studying on the International or European Baccalaureate.  Applications will be considered on an individual basis.

Applications from non standard candidates from direct entry or overseas at levels 5 and 6 will be considered on the basis of individual merit, matching prior experience to course requirements. Such entrants would receive appropriate support from the programme team to assist in their studies.

The design of this programme was informed by the subject benchmark statement for Accounting (2007).  The relevant benchmark was applied to clarify the scope of the new programme through definitions of the role of accounting.

 From the accounting benchmark the definition informed construction of the programme by addressing the design, operation and validation of accounting systems and their impact on individuals, organisations, markets and society. This benchmark also identified other areas to include requiring the provision and analysis of information  for a variety of uses - decision-making, accountability, managerial, regulatory and resource allocation purposes. The perspective adopted in the creation of the programme aimed to incorporate some aspects of the behavioural, economic, political and sociological.  

Additionally the benchmark has been applied to establish the cognitive abilities and generic skills required by a degree incorporating accounting. The subject specific knowledge and  skills identified by the benchmark have also been incorporated into the construction of the programme. 

The methods of learning and teaching are geared to progression and integration through the levels of the programme.  The individual module descriptors provide details of learning outcomes as well as methods of teaching and learning. The major forms of teaching methods will be lectures, seminars and workshops with a strong emphasis on computer based skills and knowledge e.g. accounting packages and spreadsheets. As part of module delivery students will explore the uses and application of spreadsheets in workshops in a first year Quantitative Methodsfor Business module and this will be developed in years two and three through the Management Accounting strand (Management Accounting 2 and Management Accounting 3). Additionally in the first year in the Financial Accounting module 1 students will be exposed to the study and application of current software packages, specifically Sage Accounting, providing an opportunity to develop "hands on " relevant skills and knowledge directly related to the workplace. Other methodologies will be employed as appropriate.  These may include; field trips, visits, directed reading, interactive learning via the University computer network, case study analysis, individual research, group learning activities, reflective log/portfolio (e.g. utilising student progress files in relation to personal development planning) and presentations.  Industry practitioners will also be used wherever possible, as repositories of up to date, expert knowledge in their specialist or functional areas.

The Department seeks to deliver varied, high-quality learning experiences, teaching and assessment in order to develop appropriate knowledge and understanding, and to enhance a variety of key/transferable skills.  This is facilitated through the outcome-directed nature of learning, teaching and assessment, in a student-centred environment, which provides incremental opportunities for independent and autonomous learning. The assessment strategy for this degree will serve three purposes:

  • To test the level of knowledge and skills acquired, measured against the specified learning outcomes, and applied within the fields of accounting and finance 
  • To provide the vehicle for modular integration throughout the programme within the fields of accounting and finance 
  • To promote teaching to learning, which will assist students in the achievement of academic goals and imbue them with skills and attitudes which will assist in life-long learning.
Assessment will follow the university model of a 4,000 word equivalency per module.  Each module will be summatively assessed by a minimum of two assessments, with formative assessment also employed throughout.  Student assessment will employ rigorous, objective testing to ensure that learning outcomes are met. Assessment tasks will grow in sophistication and complexity as a student progresses on the programme.  For example:
  • at Level Four a student may be asked to describe, discuss, compare, and outline;
  • at Level Five a student may be asked to evaluate, analyse, justify, and differentiate; 
  • at Level Six a student may be asked to criticise, synthesise, appraise, formulate.

However, it is expected that students will begin to use and develop critical skills from the beginning of the programme. Students will be assessed in a number of ways, including essays, industry-related reports, presentations, assessed seminars, reflective reports, examinations.  The departmental assessment strategy has been created in accordance to the University's Teaching, Learning & Assessment strategy.

As a consequence of the desire to seek optimum exemptions/ accreditation to be awarded at the discretion of the professional accountancy bodies (not by the University) all modules to which exemption/ accreditation could be applied will carry a minimum 70% unseen examination as a part of the assessment strategy at  all levels. The reaching of 70% will necessitate a three hour examination, which is in line directly with the examinations  conducted by the professional bodies.

Students undertaking the combined route in accounting will have the  core knowledge and skills relating to financial and management accounting, placed within a management context which are crucial to the successful operation of all organisations, whether profit or non profit orientated. The significance of the need to study of accounting has been demonstrated  by the turmoil in the financial sector and the implications of this for all organisations on a local, national and global level. The demand  can be expected to expand for knowledgeable and aware graduates with strong skills (numeric and non numeric) in all organisations. Students could choose to develop careers within the accounting professions (with professional accounting bodies offering module by module exemptionat the discretion of the professional accounting bodies), in financially orientated organisations e.g. banking or financial services or to apply their skills and knowledge within more generic management roles.

It is anticipated that the programme will contribute to the University’s employability strategy by producing students with sound and well-articulated skills for the workplace and supplying suitably prepared graduates to meet the needs of the local, regional and national economy.  This is particularly significant in the light of recent government reports emphasising vocationalism in higher education.  The curriculum, through carefully planned modules, will respond to the needs of individual students seeking rewarding employment as well as employers seeking to employ graduates with relevant, generic, transferable and specialist skills.  

In accordance with the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications descriptor, typical holders of  BSc combined  Honours Accounting should be able to:

apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects; critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution - or identify a range of solutions - to a problem;  communicate information, ideas, problems, and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;  display qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

·         the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;

·         decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts; and

·         the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.  

Consistent with the University’s commitment to widen access and participation, the Department has a flexible admissions policy, and encourages applications from mature students and from groups normally under-represented in higher education. The general policy is to look for a good level of literacy, together with proven interest and/or experience in an appropriate subject. The Department has considerable experience in successfully addressing the practical and learning needs of a wide range of students. This includes mature students, those entering education with a non-standard academic background and those with a wide range of disabilities. Equality and diversity issues are embedded and addressed in all departmental modules.   

Although a BSc combined degree in Accounting would not offer the same opportunities to study the range of topics within  accounting as single honours students. Students seeking career progression in the accounting profession would be eligible for more limited exemptions / accreditation from  the examinations of accounting bodies. Such exemptions would be awarded at the discretion of the accounting bodies not by the University. 

Formulation of the construct of this programme took cognisance of the accounting environment in England and Wales and the need to consider the long-term aspirations of students undertaking study in accounting and finance.  The professional accounting bodies offer currency as they reflect the knowledge and skills required by individuals to operate in the fields of accounting and finance. The structure of the programmes has been designed to optimise exemptions awarded at the discretion of the four chartered accountancy bodies in England and Wales, specifically the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), and also the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.  (CIPFA).

The module structure of the programme has been aligned directly to the Chartered Institute of Management accountants (CIMA) with the aim of exemption accreditation for three papers at level 4 (based on three created core modules for this programme) - with a potential part available award of a Certificate in Business accounting from CIMA.  At level 5 exemption accreditation for three papers at the CIMA professional level could be sought - with a potential available award of a Diploma in Management Accounting from CIMA. Finally, at level 6 exemption / accreditation for three papers at this CIMA professional level could  be sought - with a potential available award of a Diploma in Advanced Management Accounting from CIMA. A mapping exercise showing individual module alignment with all four chartered accountancy bodies in England and Wales is shown in Table below.

 In should be noted that exemption/ accreditation  may have significant limitations related to the combined as opposed to the single honours routes of study .

 Table BSC(Hons) combined Accounting module alignment to four chartered accountancy bodies in England and Wales


BSc Modules





Level 4 


Management Accounting 1


C1Fundamentals of management accounting 


Management  accounting

Management Information

Management  accounting (MA)


Financial accounting 1


C2 Fundamentals of financial accounting 

F3 Financial accounting


Financial Accounting (FA)


Quantitative methods in finance


C3 Fundamentals of Business mathematics



Financial mgt. systems & Techniques (FMST)

Level 5 all core







Management Accounting 2

Performance operations


P1 Performance operations

F5 Performance management


Financial mgt. systems & Techniques (FMST)


Financial accounting 2  Financial operations


F1 Financial operations

F7 Financial reporting

Financial management/ Financial reporting

Financial reporting (FR)


Enterprise operations

option dependent on other combined subject 

E1Enterpise operations





Work based learning for academic credit






Level 6







Management Accounting 3




P2 Performance management

P3 Business analysis

Business Strategy

Accounting for decision making (ADM)


Financial accounting 3 Financial Management


F2 Financial Management

F9 Financial Management /P2 Corporate reporting

Financial management/ Financial reporting

Financial and performance management (F&PR)


Strategic Enterprise management

core (major) / option (joint with  no dissertation)


E2 Enterprise Management






Option only joint with dissertation





BU6006 Corporate financial Management 

option (major/ joint with  no dissertation)



Financial Management


BU6005 Law for Managers

option (major/ joint with  no dissertation)


F4 Corporate and Business Law



BU6303 International

Financial management

option ( major /joint with  no dissertation)





BU6012 Auditing

option ( major/ joint with  no dissertation)


F8 Audit & assurance 

Assurance/  Audit & assurance

Audit & assurance (A &A)


option ( major/ joint with  no dissertation)


F6 Taxation

Principles of taxation / Taxation

Taxation (T)

The structure of the programme was also informed by the need for the academic aspirations of the programme to be matched with technical and vocational aspects. As a consequence specific modules at each level will incorporate development of IT skills linked directly to academic activity.

At level 4 in BU4007 Financial accounting 1 student will work with current accounting packages and in BU4010 Quantitative methods in finance will be introduced to spreadsheets. And at t level 5 and level 6 in the Management accounting modules BU5015 Management accounting 2- Performance operations and BU6007 Management accounting 3-Performance management IT skills will be further developed.

At level five students combining with Psychology will be advised of a conflict on module choice that due to the requirements of the British Psychology Society requirement for the GBR (graduate basis for registration) -3 modules in psychology are required plus the WBL module.  This conflicts with the possible exemption/ accreditation at level five and six (requiring pre-requisites) in the accounting modules which also require 3 modules plus WBL . Students will be counselled as to the impact of their choices. Other combinations have been identified and checked but do not present issues.

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