Why study accounting and finance in the UK?

The number of international students studying accounting and finance in the UK has increased dramatically in recent years. What's the attraction of studying accounting and finance in the UK in today’s global economic environment?

The UK is recognised as a global financial centre and, by coming to the UK, you will be studying accountancy and finance in a rich, culturally diverse community, supported by universities which are recognised as having international excellence in both teaching and research. The UK hosts strong accounting and finance professional bodies, which lead the world in terms of the development of accounting standards. English is the language of business and therefore studying in the UK equips students with relevant language skills. Universities across the UK offer accounting and finance courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Doctoral studies in accounting and finance are also available at many of the UK’s universities.

The attraction is also closely related to the excellent employment opportunities in accounting and finance. The requirement for accounting and finance skills grows as the economic climate becomes more difficult. Accounting and finance students will go on to be employed in professional firms, corporate finance and investment jobs in the City, as accountants and finance directors in large corporates, as accountants and finance managers in public and third sector organisations and as senior executives and directors across a whole range of organisations.

Skills taught in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses enable students to become leaders and managers in global organisations given the complex requirements of managing across international boundaries. Degree programmes taught in the UK embrace a diverse range of approaches to the study of accounting and finance which enable students to fully appreciate the social context in which accounting operates.

Why study accounting and finance in the UK?

“Many degree courses, particularly at postgraduate level, incorporate projects that engage students in working with both large and smaller organisations”

Having studied at degree level, students can then go on to gain exemptions from professional accountancy bodies. ACCA, ICAEW, CIMA, CIPFA and ICAS all provide exemptions at different levels of their professional qualifications dependent on the specifics of the degree course undertaken by a student. These are globally recognised professional qualifications and you will find employees with these qualifications working in organisations across the complete range of continents.

At many UK universities, placements are incorporated into the degree programmes and these can count as part of the work requirements for professional body membership requirements. Work-based placements provide an opportunity for both students and employers to better understand each other in terms of the requirements of the job and the skills possessed by individuals. Many degree courses, particularly at postgraduate level, incorporate projects that engage students in working with both large and smaller organisations.

Given the vocational nature of degree programmes, employability skills alongside critical and analytical academic skills form a very important part of the student experience. In UK universities, students engage in real world scenarios and decision making activities linked, for example, to stock exchange trading floors and company boardroom challenges.

This brief review will hopefully encourage you to come and study accounting and finance in the UK. All of my colleagues across the broad range of UK universities will give you a very warm welcome and an exciting academic experience.

Written by Professor John Cullen (2010)
Chair of the Committee of Accounting and Finance (CDAF)
British Accounting and Finance Association

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