The rise in importance, complexity and uncertainty of accounting and financial management poses a challenge for all organisations - from established multinational corporations to social enterprises and tech start-ups - and for those who wish to pursue a career within them. This internationally focused course will help you to enhance your understanding of accounting and finance, regardless of your undergraduate background.
The course provides practical-oriented knowledge in a worldwide context and aims to develop you as an independent and reflective learner, with the ability to continue to learn once in your chosen profession. Providing the skills and framework for future needs, this course takes an integrated approach to finance, accounting and business, delivering a coherent view that explores the interrelationships between these. The course draws upon the extensive research, practical knowledge, and teaching expertise of our management and finance academics. Their internationally recognised research and involvement in the activities of professional accounting bodies and firms across the world means that each module provides cutting-edge knowledge of contemporary accounting theory and practice.
You will gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of contemporary issues in the theory and practice of financial accounting, management accounting, and financial management. You will also develop an expert understanding of how management accounting is used to make strategic decisions and manage performance together with a critical awareness of related social and organisational issues, including recent trends such as the digital economy.
On graduating you will have acquired a number of transferable skills, including the ability to assess and employ a variety of accounting-based techniques, critically evaluate accounting documents, as well as write reports, give presentations and work as a team.
Strong career prospects in the finance and commercial areas; organisations value graduates with knowledge and understanding of contemporary accounting and financial management who can also reflect on their broader setting and implications.
Outstanding research; Royal Holloway sits in the top 25% of UK universities for research which is rated as ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’
Inspiring international community; 60% of our Management students come from overseas and the 8,500 students at Royal Holloway, University of London are from 130 countries.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience, and this is particularly the case as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.
The mandatory modules you will take during your studies are:
Financial Accounting and Reporting
In this module you will develop an understanding of contemporary issues in the theory and practice of international financial accounting and reporting. You will look at the fundamental characteristics, aims, contents, and structures of the main financial reports through which organizations measure and report their financial performance and position. You will examine the usefulness of financial accounting reports, and the tools and techniques of financial analysis. You will consider issues related to the recognition and measurement of intangible assets, ways of valuing assets, key regulatory differences, the conceptual framework and differences between IFRS and US GAAP. You will also critically evaluate the reporting and the financial performance of companies.
Management Accounting for Decision-Making
In this module you will develop an understanding of current issues in management accounting and related social, organisational and international influences. You will look at performance management and investment appraisal in an international context, perspectives on culture, control and accountability, and the transition to a knowledge and service-based business environment. You will consider the differences in management accounting across countries, and examine issues in the context of the private sector and new public management, making comparisons between the two.
Foundations of Financial Management
This course aims to introduce you to the key concepts of Financial Management through a combination of sound intuition and theoretical rigour; to prepare the foundations for more advanced study of Finance by encouraging you to develop a critical understanding of the main theories and models of Financial Management; to provide you with structured opportunities to apply the key tools and techniques of Financial Management; to encourage you to read widely and built links between what you are learning in the classroom and the financial reality.
Research methods for accounting and financial management
In this module you will develop your analytical research skills so that you are better prepared for your dissertation project. You will look at approaches to research in accounting and financial management and the assumptions upon which they are based, and consider how to critically evaluate primary and secondary data sources. You will examine how to choose appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods for data collection and subsequent analysis, and how to conduct research in a systematic and critical reflective manner. You will also analyse the ethical implications of research investigations and their impact upon findings.
The dissertation provides you with an opportunity to learn and practice researching and writing skills for your future career. You will apply the analytical and problem-solving techniques you have acquired throughout your studies to explore a specialist interest in greater depth. You will critically evaluate academic literature, collect data systematically, organise your findings, and present your research results in a clear and logical and manner. To help, your research proposal will be read by the programme director, who will select an appropriate member of staff to act as your dissertation supervisor. Your final submission will be between 12,000 and 15,000 words in length.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
Your optional modules include:
Sustainability and Accounting
The objective of this module is to provide students with a critical appreciation of the relevance and overall role of sustainability accounting and accountability. To achieve this objective, the module will explore contemporary issues in the growing area of sustainability accounting including: notions of accountability in the context of sustainability, the role of accounting in embedding sustainability in decision making, sustainability reporting research and practice, and accounting's role in addressing key contemporary sustainability issues.
Creative Accounting and Impression Management
In this module you will develop an understanding of the contemporary issues regarding the theory and practice of communication in accounting. You will look at the nature of the international reporting environment, examining the roles, needs and characteristics of lay and expert readers of financial reports. You will consider how impressions are created through the use of graphs, narratives and pictures, and the role of experimental research. You will also explore rhetorical, literary and cultural theory perspectives in the critical study of financial reporting documents, and will examine case studies on a variety of international reporting practices.
Comparative International Accounting
This module will provide you with an overview of the international differences in financial reporting. You will look at harmonisation and classification, assessing the obstacles to and progress of the adoption of international standards in major countries. You will analyse the major practical issues facing multinational companies as they prepare financial statements, with consideration of the convergence of the Chinese, Japanese and American accounting systems. You will examine the effects of differences on capital markets, and see how companies and analysts adjust for them.
Topics in Finance and Investment Management
In this module you will develop an understanding of investment management in theory and practice. You will look at the contexts in which investment management takes place in an increasingly globalised market. You will consider theoretical perspectives, such as the capital asset pricing model, arbitrage pricing theory, and models of systematic risk, alongside empirical evidence and current practice. You will examine the techniques of financial risk management, with particular emphasis on derivatives, and critically analyse issues of international investments, behavioural finance and corporate restructuring. You will also gain experience in using professional sources of data such as those provided by Bloomberg Professional.
International Financial Markets
The aim of this module is to develop in-depth understanding of the characteristics and operation of the international financial markets. The analysis of international equity, bond, exchange and derivatives markets will be linked to the main concern of governments and international financial organisations taking part in these flows. This also enables students to appreciate the different trends in the integration of financial markets and financial intermediation within countries, regions and at global level.
Financial Statement Analysis
This module provides students with the knowledge and techniques required to analyse a company’s financial statements and to estimate a company’s value. The following are the core topics to be covered: accounting analysis, financial analysis, forecasting and valuation.
Foundations of Modern Management
This module, taught during your induction, will introduce you to the key elements of organisational management for commercial success. Through analysis of historical roots, you will develop an understanding of the current practices for managing customers, shareholders, and employees, and discuss how numbers and technology influence management decision-making.
Teaching and assessment
Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.
UK 2:2 (Honours) or equivalent.
Relevant professional accounting qualifications and experience in an associated area will be considered.
The MSc in Accounting and Financial Management is suitable if:
you have academic backgrounds in business, management or accounting and wish to advance your accounting knowledge and explore more specialised areas of accounting which are not always available at an undergraduate level.
you have graduated from another discipline, whether arts, sciences or social sciences and wish to obtain a postgraduate qualification which will enhance your understanding of accounting issues within organizations. The MSc aims to act as a bridge between humanities or science degree and a career in accounting, business, or the not-for-profit sector.
English language requirements:
IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in all subscores. For equivalencies, please see here.
If you require Royal Holloway to sponsor your study in the UK, your IELTS must be a UK government-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT).
Your future career
On graduating with a Masters degree in Accounting and Financial Management you will be in a strong position to start a career in a variety of financial or commercial related areas. You will also have a solid foundation to continue PhD studies.
Our graduates have moved into roles in accounting and financial management-related areas including:
Personal Relationship Manager at HSBC
Auditor at Deloitte
Senior Risk Analyst at Bank of Azerbaijan
Corporate Tax at PwC
Fees and funding
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £13,300
EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £21,500
* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.** For EU nationals starting a degree in 2021/22, the UK Government has recently confirmed that you will not be eligible to pay the same fees as UK students. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2021, we will award a fee reduction scholarship which brings your fee into line with the fee paid by UK students. This will apply for the duration of your course.
Read more about the programme here.