Put simply, Accounting is for people who are interested in a career in financial management or business management. Even the very best of business ideas will not get off the ground without sound financial management. Accounting is about the way in which organisations measure, record and present information about the financial affairs of the business; in other words it is about helping to ensure there is sound financial management. One of the most important aspects of accounting is about making sure the financial records are accurate. However, it is just as important that the information taken from the records is used in the right way. It is, therefore, part of the job of the accountants in the business to give advice on how to use financial information in a meaningful way.
All students studying A Levels must have at least five GCSEs at grade A* - C (grade 9 - 5) in academic subjects, including English Language at grade C (grade 5). Two of these must be B grades (grade 6). Specifically for Accounting you will need GCSE Maths at B grade (grade 6) or above.
In the first year, the AS Level Accounting course looks at the nuts and bolts of accounting to develop a good understanding of the role and purpose of accounting and also to demonstrate why good accounting is essential to good business. You will learn double entry bookkeeping and build on those foundations to cover aspects essential to good accounting practice. The first year is split into two units ‘Introduction to Financial Accounting’ and ‘Financial and Management Accounting’.
The second year of the course builds on the AS Level and is also divided into two units, again covering the two main areas of accounting - financial accounting and management accounting - but to a greater depth.
Financial accounting focuses on how to calculate whether the business has made a profit or a loss. This helps investors make choices about which companies to invest in. Management accounting looks more at what is likely to happen to the finances of the business in the future, and helps the managers in the business make decisions.
Both AS and A Level Accounting are assessed through a series of written examinations. There is no course work involved in the subjects. You will do one three-hour exam at the end of the first year for the AS Level, and then complete the full A Level in the second year with two three-hour exams. The examinations are predominantly numerical but there is a theoretical element which makes up approximately 20% of the overall mark.
Most A Level students go on to study at university. Students who have studied Accounting often follow the subject at degree level or study for a related subject such as Business, Law and Mathematics. Many students opt to go straight into further accounting training via one of the professional accounting bodies, CIMA or ACCA.
Success Rates on courses for 16-18 year-olds nearly 7% better than national average*