MSc Accounting and Financial Management


Programme Description


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 an 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 percent 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.

Core modules

Financial Accounting and Reporting

In this module, you will develop an understanding of contemporary issues in the theory and practice of financial accounting and accounting-related corporate governance. You will look at the fundamental characteristics, aims, contents, and structures of the main financial reports through which organisations measure and report their financial performance and position. You will consider contemporary controversies, such as the recognition and measurement of intangible assets, ways of valuing assets, key regulatory differences, the persistence of national accounting differences, and unavoidability of judgements. You will examine the usefulness of financial accounting reports, and the tools and techniques of financial analysis. You will also critically asses for whom should financial reports should be produced and what aspects of corporate behaviour and consequences should be reported on.

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

In this module, you will develop an understanding of the main theories and models of Financial Management. You will look at market efficiency, short and long-term financing, capital structure and dividend policy, cost of capital calculation, and security valuation. You will examine the limitations of each of the models and theories, and consider the strategic and ethical implications of these.

Dissertation Preparation and Research Methods

In this module, you will develop your analytical and technical research skills so that you are better prepared to undertake assignments and your dissertation. You will look at approaches to management research 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 practise 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.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units, there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

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 the exchange rate and corporate restructuring. You will also gain experience in using professional sources of data such as those provided by Bloomberg.

Sustainability and Accounting

In this module, you will develop an understanding of the contemporary issues in the theory and practice of sustainability accounting and accountability. You will explore the philosophical underpinnings of corporate social responsibility and sustainability accounting, and examine the roles of stakeholder engagement and dialogue, including the motivations for social and environmental reporting. You will also consider the applicability of sustainability reporting to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), full impact accounting and the role of silent and shadow accounts in sustainability.

Communication Issues in Accounting

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.

Enterprise Systems Management

In this module, you will develop an understanding of the concepts, theories and principles of enterprise systems. You will look at the role of enterprise systems in digital corporations, in particular, their usage within functional areas such as accounting, marketing and operations. You will develop skills the necessary to design, implement and evaluate enterprise systems and become familiar with SAP, one of the leading large-scale application software packages. You will also examine project management methods to develop, implement and manage enterprise systems.

Teaching and assessment

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework, examinations and a dissertation.

Entry criteria:

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 specialized areas of accounting which are not always available at 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 a 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
  • Data Analyst at Newedge
  • Senior Risk Analyst at Bank of Azerbaijan
  • Project Accountant at Building Design Partnership.

Fees and funding

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £10,400

International students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £17,500

Other essential costs**: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

* These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying part-time are charged a pro-rata tuition fee, usually equivalent to approximately half the full-time fee.

Read mpre about the programme here.

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

Royal Holloway, University of London, is ranked in the top 30 of all UK universities. Through the dedication of our teachers, discoveries that change the world and the feel of the Royal Holloway exper ... Read More

Royal Holloway, University of London, is ranked in the top 30 of all UK universities. Through the dedication of our teachers, discoveries that change the world and the feel of the Royal Holloway experience, ours is a community that will inspire you to succeed academically, socially and personally. Our university was founded by two social reformers who pioneered the ideal of education and knowledge for all who could benefit. Read Less