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We can define accountancy as: "the identification, measurement and communication of economic information to enable the users of that information to form sensible opinions and make sensible decisions".

Accounting is surrounded by mystique and "jargon", and, as a professional skill, it requires a high degree of technical expertise. However, it is a very "common-sense" activity and addresses some very basic issues and questions about the nature of businesses and the real-life events, people and activities that make them work.

One of the problems with accounting is that many people focus on the "count" component of the word, and believe that it is no more than counting or "doing the numbers". Nothing could be further from the truth! Look at the complete word! Very few people when asked to give an account of themselves, will express themselves in quantitative terms - shoe size, IQ, height and weight.

Rather, they offer information in qualitative terms - where they live, what they do, their background, likes, dislikes, family, occupation and so on. Indeed they will "tell a story" - which is what accounting strives to do for an organisation - albeit, today largely in financial terms.
Course Syllabus

Part 1: Financial Accounting

Unit 1: Introduction to Accounting



1. What is accounting?

2. Organisations, objectives and management

3. Financial and managerial accounting

4. Profit, profitability and cash

5. Accounting conventions, concepts and policies

6. Capital and sources of finance

7. Capital structure - limited liability company

Unit Summary

Unit 2: Financial Statements


1. Objectives

2. Content of financial statements

3. The "big three"

4. The balance sheet

5. Measurement of profit

6. The income statement

7. Bookkeeping and books of account

8. The trial balance

9. Judgement

10.The cash flow statement - profit versus cash


Review activities

Unit 3: Interpretation and Analysis of Published Financial Statements



1. The analysts

2. Analytical techniques

3. The key issues

4. The principal ratios


Part II: Management Accounting and Financial Management

Unit 4: Cost and Management Accounting


1. Introduction to management accounting

2. Costs and historical costing

3. Controlling costs

4. Total absorption costing

5. Marginal costing

6. Break-even analysis


Appendix: examples of cost units

Unit 5: Budgetary Control



1. The household budget

2. Benefits of budgeting

3. Rules for budgeting and budgetary control

4. Cash budgets

5. Behavioural implications of budgeting

6. Control though comparative statements

7. Fixed and flexible budgets


Unit 6: Capital Investment Appraisal and Project Evaluation



1. Capital investment appraisal

2. What is investment?

3. Evaluation - alternative approaches

4. Judgement

5. Non-financial aspects of capital investment appraisal


Further reading


On completion of your course, you will receive two certificates:
Certificate 1 is issued by Stonebridge Associated Colleges: Finance and Accounting Diploma

Finance and Accounting Diploma issued by Stonebridge Associated Colleges, to view a sample of the college’s award, please click here.
Certificate 2 is issued by ABC Awards: Level 4 Finance and Accounting Certificate of Achievement

At the end of this course successful learners will receive a Certificate of Achievement by ABC Awards and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the details of all the units you have completed as part of your course).

The course has been endorsed under the ABC Awards’ Quality Licence Scheme. This means that Stonebridge Associated Colleges have undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet certain quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to an Ofqual regulated qualification but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills towards regulated qualifications in the future. The unit summary can be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this sector. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at Level 4 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of difficulty involved in successful completion by the learner.

The course itself has been designed by Stonebridge Associated Colleges to meet specific learners’ or employers’ requirements. ABC Awards’ endorsement involves a robust and rigorous quality audit by external inspectors to ensure quality is consistently met. A regular review of courses is carried out as part of the endorsement process.

Who are ABC

ABC Awards is a leading national Awarding Organisation, regulated by Ofqual, and the Welsh Government[1]. They have a comprehensive portfolio of over 650 Ofqual regulated qualifications on the national Qualifications and Credit framework (QCF). It has a long-established reputation for developing and awarding high quality vocational qualifications across a wide range of industries. As a registered charity, ABC Awards combines 180 years of examination and assessment expertise but also implements a responsive, flexible and innovative approach to the needs of our customers.

Renowned for excellent customer service, and quality standards, ABC Awards also offers over 600 Ofqual regulated qualifications for all ages and abilities post-14; all are developed with the support of relevant stakeholders to ensure that they meet the needs and standards of employers across the UK.

Tutor Support

With this course you will have unlimited access to your own personal tutor who specialises in their field of study. It is your personal tutor's role to ensure that you receive constructive feedback and to deal with any queries you may have. You are more than welcome to telephone, fax or email your personal tutor.

You will also have access to a dedicated and friendly team of administrators and course advisors who offer sound and professional guidance and advice when you need it. This ensures that you will never feel neglected and that you will always succeed!

Requirements for Entry

There is no experience or previous qualifications required for enrolment on this course. It is available to all students, of all academic backgrounds.

Study Hours

This is only an approximate figure and is dependant upon how much time you can dedicate to your studies and how well you grasp the learning concepts in the course material. Furthermore, at the end of each lesson there is a question paper that needs to be completed and returned to your tutor. You should allow at least 1 - 2 hours of study to complete each question paper.

The approximate amount of time required to complete the course is: 90 hrs.

Additional Information

Assessment Method

After each lesson there will be a question paper, which needs to be completed and submitted to your personal tutor for marking. This method of continual assessment ensures that your personal tutor can consistently monitor your progress and provide you with assistance throughout the duration of the course.

What's Included

    * All study materials
    * Study Guide
    * Full Tutor and Admin support

Course Text

For this course it is highly recommended that you obtain the following textbooks:

Financial Accounting for Non-specialists, second edition, by Peter Atrill and Eddie McLaney, covering the first half of the course

Elements of Business: Management Accounting, by Leslie Chadwick, covering the second half.

Advantages of this distance learning course:
  • Home Study: you declare when you study, no need to attend class at fixed times and fixed dates. Your study hours fit around you!
  • We will post all the beautifully printed course materials to you. Everything is written in a clear and easy-to-understand format.
  • Start this course anytime of the year! No need to wait until the new academic year starts. Enroll today so soon you'll start improving your CV or re-skill for your new career.
  • Create your own study routine, learn at your own pace, complete your course as quickly or slowly as your circumstance dictate.
  • Your home learning is totally supported by experienced tutors who guide, encourage and assess your progress. You will not be alone because all our tutors are friendly and approachable.


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Questions about this course? Contact Student Support / Course Advisors

Enrol by phone: call 0845 65 22 187 quote course code 500

Enrol by post: print this postal form.

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