Ask an Accounting and Finance Student!

Watch this thread
ROC10
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#1
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#1
Hi everyone!

I'm currently in my final (4th) year studying Accounting and Finance at The University of Edinburgh.

You can ask me any questions you may have about the subject and I will do my best to answer, although there can, of course, be many differences between different universities. I am also able to answer questions around the Business School at Edinburgh, including those around different degree programmes as there are many similarities in the early years.

These subjects are often not studied in school so it's completely understandable that you may have questions, particularly given the cancellation of many open days and offer-holder days.

Hope this helps!

This AMA uses a tag system! You can either ask a general question or tag in one of our fantastic volunteers (listed below) if you are looking for something more specific.
ROC10 - Final year, Accounting and Finance, Edinburgh
IdioticApple - Final year, Accounting and Finance, UWE
Roottokill - Offer holder, Accounting and Finance, Durham
---
This AMA is part of the 'Ask a University Student 2.0' initiative. If you want to find out more about other courses or universities, please check out the main list of threads:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6431108
Last edited by ROC10; 2 years ago
0
reply
etienne26
Badges: 14
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#2
Report 2 years ago
#2
Just a few questions. How much maths is in the course and to what difficulty (as I have only done maths till GCSE level)? How have you found the course overall.? How are you usually examined? What resources are there for accounting to make sure it is the right subject choice for me? Thanks a lot.
0
reply
ROC10
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#3
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#3
(Original post by styleman)
Just a few questions. How much maths is in the course and to what difficulty (as I have only done maths till GCSE level)? How have you found the course overall.? How are you usually examined? What resources are there for accounting to make sure it is the right subject choice for me? Thanks a lot.
Hello, I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can.

How is the maths?
The "maths" in Accounting isn't really maths to be honest. It's just basic addition/subtraction/multiplication/division and you will always be able to use a calculator. The difficulty in the early stages lies more in understanding all of the concepts so that you know how to construct financial statements.
The Finance side will generally have more "maths" involved. Mostly this isn't too tricky and there's usually understandable logic behind calculations. Some of it may spook you slightly having only done up to GCSE but if your course doesn't specify a higher maths qualification then you will be fine, you may just have to work slightly harder to understand some of the formulae etc. Again though, calculators are generally always allowed.

How are you examined?
This one will vary across universities, however, provided you pick a uni that is accredited by accounting bodies, it is likely to be predominantly through written exams. In the early years, my "core" accounting courses (which are particularly important for accreditation) had no coursework and were assessed entirely through end of semester exams (one per semester for the first two years). Each year had one financial and one management accounting course (much more advanced in second year) and while it's important to understand the concepts, these exams were mostly calculation-based so most answers were "right or wrong". In first year, I also had to study some business and economics but I won't expand on these here.
Moving into the Honours years (3&4), there is an increasing focus on understanding/analysis/criticism and many courses are essay-based in nature. This often makes the courses more rich in content and interesting but I have found that it is harder to prepare for exams. All of these courses have had some element of coursework (usually one individual essay or group report worth around 30-40%).

The right subject for me?
This one is harder. I was able to study Accounting as a subject at school at National 5 (GCSE) and Higher (A-Level) levels. This is essentially how I decided on the subject and I'm genuinely not sure if I would had I not studied it at school. Have a look at university websites/prospectuses and forums like this to get an idea of what's involved (you can also ask me more specific questions if you want!). Also, if you're thinking you might fancy accounting as a career (not compulsory after an A&F degree!), have a look at what kind of work accountancy firms do and see if it seems interesting to you.

Overall...
Like any course (and university), my degree experience has had its ups and downs but on the whole I don't regret my subject choice. Many would say it's very much a degree you choose to get into the profession and while that may largely be the case, it's not exclusively true and, provided you are actually interested in the subjects, you can usually find some enjoyment in the study of them. I would probably say that the finance side of the degree is more interesting than the accounting side but also that it is more difficult.
1
reply
SJL11
Badges: 5
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#4
Report 2 years ago
#4
Considering you’re in your fourth year does that mean that you took the year in industry by any chance? That is the course that I’m looking to start in September and I wanted to ask your experience with the placement and whether you found it fun/useful etc? Apologies if this isn’t the case for you
0
reply
ROC10
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#5
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#5
(Original post by SJL11)
Considering you’re in your fourth year does that mean that you took the year in industry by any chance? That is the course that I’m looking to start in September and I wanted to ask your experience with the placement and whether you found it fun/useful etc? Apologies if this isn’t the case for you
I’m afraid that’s not the case. Degrees in Scotland are generally four years.

It does sound like a good opportunity though and (with no experience of it) I would certainly recommend at least seriously considering it (and probably doing it) as work experience is valuable!
0
reply
AuroraAustralis
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#6
Report 2 years ago
#6
There's a common perception that accounting and finance degrees are boring , could you shed some light as to whether this is the case? If you could go back in time would you have chosen an accounting apprenticeship over the degree route and why? Finally what are you looking to go into after completion of the degree? Thanks.
0
reply
SJL11
Badges: 5
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#7
Report 2 years ago
#7
(Original post by ROC10)
I’m afraid that’s not the case. Degrees in Scotland are generally four years.

It does sound like a good opportunity though and (with no experience of it) I would certainly recommend at least seriously considering it (and probably doing it) as work experience is valuable!
Ahh okay my bad sorry. That’s the hope for me, I’m almost certainly doing to do it.
Another question I have just thought of if this is okay, is what modules that you have taken have been the most interesting. Obviously I know it may not be the same ones available at the uni I go to, but which have been your favourites and why?
0
reply
ROC10
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#8
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#8
(Original post by SJL11)
Ahh okay my bad sorry. That’s the hope for me, I’m almost certainly doing to do it.
Another question I have just thought of if this is okay, is what modules that you have taken have been the most interesting. Obviously I know it may not be the same ones available at the uni I go to, but which have been your favourites and why?
Hmm that's a tough one but I'd probably say some of the most interesting ones have been Business Law, Taxation and Behavioural Finance/Market Anomalies.
1
reply
ROC10
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#9
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#9
(Original post by Fayzan_Ali)
There's a common perception that accounting and finance degrees are boring , could you shed some light as to whether this is the case? If you could go back in time would you have chosen an accounting apprenticeship over the degree route and why? Finally what are you looking to go into after completion of the degree? Thanks.
So I'd agree that boring is a stereotype commonly associated with accounting in general, including the profession but the reality is that different people will find different things boring. I would be lying if I said I found every minute of it fascinating but I certainly wouldn't say it's objectively boring. It really is difficult to know until you try it though.

No, I don’t think I would have done an apprenticeship. I definitely see the value of these opportunities and would probably recommend them over university to anyone who is set on working in accounting and isn’t particularly academic or interested in the idea of university. In my final year at school I did actually apply to a Big 4 school-leaver programme. Admittedly I hadn’t done an awful lot of research and didn’t really know a great deal about the profession. I made it to the assessment centre but got rejected after that. Personally, I think it may have been a blessing for me as my heart wasn’t really in it at that time and whilst uni can be very stressful at times, I do think that, on the whole, I have benefited from the academic experience. I also believe it puts me in a more flexible position should I wish to move out of accounting.

I have secured a position at a top-10 firm to train in indirect taxes after graduation (provided the offer is not revoked due to COVID, of course). I did some tax work during my internship last summer and it was my favourite of the areas I worked in so studied it last semester and decided it was where I wanted to specialise for my career.
1
reply
IdioticApple
Badges: 16
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#10
Report 2 years ago
#10
(Original post by SJL11)
Considering you’re in your fourth year does that mean that you took the year in industry by any chance? That is the course that I’m looking to start in September and I wanted to ask your experience with the placement and whether you found it fun/useful etc? Apologies if this isn’t the case for you
Hiya,

I am also in my final year and I took a placement - it was absolutely great to do it, I didn't regret it for a second (but I do miss my friends who all graduated last year!!) and it gave me a chance to develop a lot of skills and have a good break after second year, which I felt I needed personally. If you have any specific questions feel free to ask, I'm about to do my final two exams and I have a finance graduate job and also a finance summer job lined up
0
reply
IdioticApple
Badges: 16
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#11
Report 2 years ago
#11
(Original post by styleman)
Just a few questions. How much maths is in the course and to what difficulty (as I have only done maths till GCSE level)? How have you found the course overall.? How are you usually examined? What resources are there for accounting to make sure it is the right subject choice for me? Thanks a lot.
Hi,

Mainly for the examined part and the resources as ROC10 partially answered, The way modules are examined tends to vary by module and by university - some universities, such as mine (UWE) tries to get us a lot of exemptions for the modules we do in case we want to continue and go on to do the professional exams and get fully qualified, so we did have probably one or two exams per module (as they require "controlled conditions" for at least part of the assessment element). I'd say though that putting in the time and effort to the coursework, presentations and exam revision makes all the difference - I always get tired towards the end of term and the exams, but I try and remember that I only need to do them once if I do them well.

Resources wise, try finding out module names and seeing if there are any good online resources that make them better or easier to learn - I used a lot of ACCA and CIMA online papers and technical pages, and I had an Economics module in first year that I used ACDC Economics on Youtube to help do the work and revision for, as he's great! I'd never done any finance before uni and I didn't do a Maths A-Level so I thought I was WAY out of touch, but UWE was really good at building our skills from the ground up
1
reply
Catherine1973
Badges: 20
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#12
Report 2 years ago
#12
I did my accounting degree 20+ years ago and trained as a chartered accountant. I have always enjoyed and managed to combine my interests with being an accountant for those sort of companies. Now taking a break and doing a second degree but as I choose tax law and company law as my optional modules, I am still an accountant at heart!
1
reply
ROC10
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#13
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#13
(Original post by Catherine1973)
I did my accounting degree 20+ years ago and trained as a chartered accountant. I have always enjoyed and managed to combine my interests with being an accountant for those sort of companies. Now taking a break and doing a second degree but as I choose tax law and company law as my optional modules, I am still an accountant at heart!
That's great! So are you hoping to qualify as a lawyer/solicitor?

Please feel free to post/respond on this thread. I know it's called "Ask a Student" but your I'm sure your insights would be invaluable to many people (including myself)!

Another question if I may, which areas of accounting have you worked in over your career?
0
reply
Catherine1973
Badges: 20
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#14
Report 2 years ago
#14
Think I will go more into company secretary type work.

Over my career I have worked in audit and corporate tax for big 4 firms.
Then in internal audit and travelled the world for a year. (Well 4 weeks in one place, then uk, then somewhere else etc)
Then mostly done group accounting. But 8 years ago joined a small start up to do all their accounting. From bank recs to board reporting! Still there but part time now.
0
reply
Ohnoki94
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#15
Report 2 years ago
#15
(Original post by styleman)
Just a few questions. How much maths is in the course and to what difficulty (as I have only done maths till GCSE level)? How have you found the course overall.? How are you usually examined? What resources are there for accounting to make sure it is the right subject choice for me? Thanks a lot.
As a recent graduate in A&F myself I would like to add to the OP's response to give you a more varied answer.

Maths

I got a B in GCSE Maths and was never exposed to any Accounting prior to my degree. The maths in accounting isn't maths, as the OP said. You will only ever add, subtract, divide or multiply. The trick is to use which, and in which order. For example, you have to figure out what to divide with what, then times what, then add this thing, then take away this thing. It can get pretty long and tricky to remember the methods to follow, and when to use them. However, this gets gradually harder and harder. I got a 91 in Introduction to Accounting (1st year) and remember - I didn't even get a A in Maths, although I was a horrible student back then.

Finance is a lot harder. It blew my brains out when I first saw it, I didn't even know what some of the symbols meant and the equations look really intimidating. However, the more you get exposed to it the easier it becomes. It really isn't that hard, and some youtube tutorials will explain everything. I got 67 in Introduction to Finance in the first year, however by the third year I'd adapted to the maths and was getting 80s. So again, not super difficult, just initially intimidating.

Course overall

I mean, Accounting does get pretty boring. We had some fun modules like Creative Accounting (tampering with accounts) and Forensic Accounting (investigative accounting) as well as some general business modules in Entrepreneurship but generally it was a sleep fest. I think this applies to most degrees though. Finance was a bit more engaging, simply because I found it a bit more difficult and some of the topics were really interesting... Stocks, bonds, exchange rates.. I felt like the Wolf of Wallstreet learning about all these terms I had heard so much about. Pretty enjoyable.

Examined

Almost all of my Accounting and Finance modules followed the same pattern. 70% 2 hour exam, 30% 2,000 word assignment. Only exceptions being modules like Auditing & Taxation (100% 3 hour exam) and some entrepreneurial modules which were entirely assignment based.

Resources

I am not sure really what you mean... it depends on you and what you need.
Last edited by Ohnoki94; 2 years ago
2
reply
Catherine1973
Badges: 20
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#16
Report 2 years ago
#16
True accounting concepts around the world was boring as heck.
But management theories was good - how to motivate people etc.
0
reply
etienne26
Badges: 14
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#17
Report 2 years ago
#17
What software did you use during your degree?
0
reply
ROC10
Badges: 18
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#18
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#18
(Original post by styleman)
What software did you use during your degree?
Really just Word (for assignments etc) and Excel (occasionally only) plus SPSS for a Research Methods (stats) course and my dissertation.

I had some workshops on SAGE accounting software but that's about it really. Could vary across different unis but I doubt it will much.
0
reply
BjjAaaaaa
Badges: 1
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#19
Report 2 years ago
#19
Hello, I have a few questions as I am currently preparing to begin studying accounting and finance in September.
1) What is the general structure? Eg- how much free time you have in a week, what do lectures and seminars consist of?
2) Do you use any programmes like Excel? If so what laptop would you recommend and do you get taught on how to. Paper or E-Notes?
3) How do you manage to revise the content?
4) What is the structure of exams ? - eg more writing or calculations
5) Do you use a lot of textbooks?
0
reply
Ohnoki94
Badges: 6
Rep:
? You'll earn badges for being active around the site. Rep gems come when your posts are rated by other community members.
#20
Report 2 years ago
#20
(Original post by ROC10)
Really just Word (for assignments etc) and Excel (occasionally only) plus SPSS for a Research Methods (stats) course and my dissertation.

I had some workshops on SAGE accounting software but that's about it really. Could vary across different unis but I doubt it will much.
Agree with this. It is mainly word, and excel - which you use to produce the calculations you cite in your reports through word. There was optional 'booster' classes in SAGE Accounting, but it was never needed in the degree. For our dissertation we were shown how to use Eviews, which is similar to R-Studio and SPSS. The software they teach you will depend on the uni, but it isn't very complex stuff.

(Original post by BjjAaaaaa)
Hello, I have a few questions as I am currently preparing to begin studying accounting and finance in September.
1) What is the general structure? Eg- how much free time you have in a week, what do lectures and seminars consist of?
2) Do you use any programmes like Excel? If so what laptop would you recommend and do you get taught on how to. Paper or E-Notes?
3) How do you manage to revise the content?
4) What is the structure of exams ? - eg more writing or calculations
5) Do you use a lot of textbooks?
1)

Year 1: Generally was in uni 4 days a week, averaging 2-4 hours per day. As you can imagine, you have a lot of free time.
Year 2: Similar, just spread out differently
Year 3: Semester 1 slight reduction. Semester 2 we had a lot of free time for our dissertation, we were in only 2 days a week.

2)

Yes, you will use Excel a fair bit. Surprisingly, I used Excel more for finance than Accounting. All the accounts I produced were for exams, and therefore always wrote them out on paper. Any laptop is fine I think. Taught on how to what? I used paper notes, some people wrote e-notes, some people recorded the sessions via audio.

3)

Tutorials. Tutorials are crucial, as effectively, for me, they represented 12 exam style questions. If you could do the 12 tutorials easily, you will ace the exam. For Accounting, it was about constantly repeating doing the Accounts again and again until it was drilled into your head, each step. For Finance, similar to a moderate level maths exam, just practice questions and remember the odd formula.

4)

Finance exams, for me, generally were anywhere between 60-70% maths calculation. By third year this increased to 90%. Accounting was dependant on which type of module, some were 50/50, some gave the option of a calculation section or a large essay question. Auditing was 100% written, but was an optional module. Overall, around 50/50, maybe 60/40.

5)

Personally, I never once looked at a textbook in 3 years. Everything I needed was in tutorials, and if I got stuck Youtube was my friend. For assignments, I would read a few journals online.


I am sure the OP will answer too, giving you a varied answer from different Unis.
Last edited by Ohnoki94; 2 years ago
1
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

How did your AQA A-level Psychology Paper 1 go?

Loved the paper - Feeling positive (194)
42.17%
The paper was reasonable (203)
44.13%
Not feeling great about that exam... (39)
8.48%
It was TERRIBLE (24)
5.22%

Watched Threads

View All