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Online course details

Study options

Part-time: 1-2 years

UK fee

£5,040 (2020/21)

International fee

£5,040 (2020/21)

Course level



BA (Hons)

Start dates

January, September, May



Online course description

We have partnered with the CISI (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment) for this course. It is also directly mapped against the teaching of their foundation qualification, Introduction to Investment, with the option to take its exam upon completion of our course. Gaining the full bachelors degree can improve your career prospects, strengthen your CV and allow you to move on to a masters degree at a later date, should you wish to.

It’s a popular choice for busy professionals or those returning to work who want to get all the benefits a full degree brings but need a flexible study pattern. We accept a range of qualifications for entry onto the course. 

Apply for module exemptions and module credits from prior learning and experience

If you have already completed ACCA or CIMA papers, you may be eligible for exemptions from specific modules. This will allow you to save money from the total cost of your course and also allows you to complete your degree quicker. Further details can be found in our Exemptions section.

Have you already studied at another institution, completed a training course, or does your work experience appear equivalent to one or more modules of your chosen course? If so, you may able to translate this prior learning into credits towards your course modules so you don’t have to study them again.

For undergraduate courses you can apply for credits up to 50% of each stage. Depending on your former learning this could mean you only need to complete one module and an independent study project to complete the course. Further information about applying for credits for prior learning can be found in our recognition of prior learning section.

Further details can be found in our Exemptions section.

Goldstandard teaching**Teaching Excellence Framework

Ideal for aspiring accountants and others

This online Accounting and Finance top-up degree will give you a thorough understanding of Accounting and Business concepts. It is ideal if you want to go on to be a professional accountant or work within the financial services sector. However, having a good understanding of Accounting and Finance is an advantage in any profession today. So, even if you don’t want to work in financial services, you will find this online top-up degree valuable.

Tutors that work to the latest professional standards

Our teaching staff are all professionally qualified and have industry as well as academic experience. They also teach on the professional body courses, such as ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), which means they understand the most current professional standards. That’s important because you need to be sure that what you’ll learn is up to date and relevant to today’s business world.

CISI Education University Partnership

CISI Education Partner logo

We have the first online university degree programme in the UK to be partnered with the CISI, the largest and most widely respected professional body for the securities and investment profession in the UK, with a growing number of global financial centres. Our Accounting and Finance (Top-Up) BA (Hons) has been closely mapped against the CISI’s Introduction to Investment foundation qualification, helping you to prepare you for its exam, which can be taken at the University of Derby campus or at one of the CISI’s global test centres.

Furthermore, students wishing to pursue the Introduction to Investment qualification will benefit from a 50% saving on the exam fee and the work book. A one-off registration fee will be payable to become a CISI student member, giving you access to a number of membership benefits designed to support your studies and broaden your career development. We are offering a limited number of scholarships to cover the cost of the CISI registration fee, exam fee and workbook – a select few will be chosen upon enrolment.

The Introduction to Investment qualification is the first step on the CISI qualification pathway, and is also recognised by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It will be of special interest to you if you are interested in a career in wealth management, operational investments, financial planning, compliance and risk, and stockbroking. Upon completion of this foundation qualification, there is then an option to join the CISI as an affiliate member (subject to annual membership fee).

What you will study

We will advise you of your study plan - the running order and availability of the modules - when you are invited to enrol.

If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered. In addition, where demand is high, some modules may be subject to a cap.

For this top-up degree, you will need to complete a total of 120 credits. This will be made up from the core modules (adding up to 80 credits) and two of the optional 20-credit modules in your preferred area of Accounting and Finance.

Stage 1Stage 1

Code: 6AG522

Financial Strategy

The Financial Strategy module will focus on the advanced aspects of the investment decision (capital budgeting) and the way in which the organisation's capital structure can be strategically adjusted to ensure the maximisation of shareholder wealth/added value.

The module will introduce relevant theory and models, practical financial tools and techniques, with appropriate references to real-life organisations. A strategic approach to critically analysing and evaluating financial information is encouraged, with a view to advancing your knowledge and understanding of capital budgeting, capital structure and dividend policy. In addition, it is vital you can confidently and effectively communicate the rationale behind your decisions.

With this in mind, the Financial Strategy module will utilise every opportunity to expose you to situations where you will be required to lead a seminar, facilitate a workshop, chair a meeting and/or present a report. The relevance of the Financial Strategy module as part of an undergraduate Accounting and Finance programme is further supported by the fact that it aligns to the syllabus requirements of professional accounting bodies such as CIMA, CPA (Certified Practicing Accountants) Australia, IFA (Institute of Financial Accountants) and ACCA. It will also equip you to enter the work environment with knowledge and competencies that will enable you to critically analyse, evaluate and communicate the financial decisions that will help transform the organisation to address its key priorities.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate and analyse a business situation from a strategically financial perspective
  2. Accurately apply relevant accounting tools and techniques to support strategic decisions
  3. Explore and critically assess the implications of pursuing various courses of actions available to a company

Module content

You will learn advanced capital budgeting to build on the basic methods of appraising a project/investment by building in real-life considerations such as tax, limited capital and inflation. Practical applications of advanced investment appraisal through mini case studies will be used in the seminar sessions. Reference to real-life scenarios will be informed by research in this area, relating to what real life companies actually do.

Capital structure will be explored by considering theoretical models and the empirical evidence that has been put forward in this area of finance. Key ratios will be referred to in order to analyse the impact of various sources of finance on the performance and position of the company.

The relevance of accounting information available in the organisation and how it can help evaluate implications of a decision will begin to become apparent. The concept of the cost of capital will be explored and its relationship with the investment appraisal process will be discussed. The dividend policy of the organisation will be explored by considering theoretical models and the empirical evidence that has been put forward in this area of finance. The impact this has on shareholder wealth and the capital budgeting and capital structure decision is further explored.

At this level, you will begin to appreciate the need to be able to communicate the derivation and implications of strategic decisions. The analysis and evaluation is just one aspect of financial strategy, the delivery and communication of this strategy followed by the ability to reflect on the outcomes is what completes the strategy.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6AG523

Management Accounting – Performance Evaluation

This module expands on the knowledge and understanding you have gained on previous management accounting modules. Management accountants require a good understanding in management accounting concepts and techniques in order to provide managers with useful information.

You will need to be able to present this information clearly to employees and managers at all levels in a business, especially those without any financial knowledge. You will learn how to critically evaluate tools and techniques and then apply them to scenarios. The main areas of study will be control, performance measurement and strategic management accounting.

This module runs over one semester and consists of lectures, including guest lecturers from industry and seminars. Be prepared to join in with group work during the seminars as we discuss many of the current issues in management accounting. At this level, the focus of your work will be on the communication of the information and not the creation of the numbers.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to apply concepts in management accounting control and performance measurement to various business scenarios and case studies
  • Investigate, critically analyse and present an appropriate management accounting response to a current or modern business problem or issue

Module content

Firstly, you will look at how a business is controlled, investigating both the financial controls and the behavioural controls that are available. You will then move on to budgeting and how to calculate and interpret budgeted numbers so you can improve the performance of the business. This will include some analysis using advanced variances.

This leads on to performance-measurement tools and also the challenges that multi-divisional companies have with managing their performance along with transfer pricing issues, how companies compare to each other with benchmarking and how this is also useful within the not for profit sectors.

You will also learn about incentives and rewards and how, if these are not set correctly, can have dysfunctional consequences for your organisation, which also links into some ethical dilemmas. You will discuss the current issues in strategic management accounting and review some of the main cost-management theories. Pricing is discussed along with the different methods of calculating a cost plus base as well as looking at the market environment.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6IM997

Independent Study

This module is intended to allow you the opportunity to extend aspects of your final and previous year modules to more depth, along with refining your research skills by means of an Independent Study dissertation.

Your Independent Study dissertation allows you to analyse and test the theories, principles and concepts addressed in the classroom environment in the reality of a private, public or community sector organisation by means of a pathway-related report. The independent study represents an individual piece of research completed under the guidance of an academic supervisor. It may be a research study which makes a contribution to the body of knowledge in your discipline area or professional background, or a study in which you critically analyse and evaluate existing knowledge and produces observations and conclusions of relevance to the particular field of study.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Prepare and critically articulate a research ethics-approved proposal and translate this into a feasible research plan relevant to your overall programme of study, which for some students will be within a named pathway
  2. Identify and critically review literature and other appropriate contextual sources pertinent to the issue, theme, subject or applied problem as identified within the proposal submission
  3. Critically evaluate a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods and to select data collection and analysis tools and techniques appropriate to their Independent Study
  4. Working independently present a substantive piece of research in an applied aspect of business and management critically articulating; evaluating and reflecting upon the outcomes to an appropriate critical depth

Module content

The module will seek to equip students with the necessary skills to prepare, design and carry out complex business research projects using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods.

The nature of the independent study will vary from student to student and from programme to programme. The study could take the form of a critical case study or a dissertation on a subject of the student's choice, with the supervision of a member of staff. The content will include an elaboration of the background factors involved in the situation, an evaluation of the relevant theories and concepts from the programme pathway, and a critical analysis of the subject selected.

This module will cover the following:

  • Introducing business research
  • Developing research skills
  • Understanding research philosophy
  • Understanding research ethics
  • Reviewing the literature
  • Understanding research methodology and design
  • Developing a research proposal
  • Understanding research methods, populations and sampling
  • Using secondary data and archival sources
  • Using observation
  • Using interviews and focus groups
  • Using questionnaires and scales
  • Managing data and introducing data analysis
  • Analysing quantitative data
  • Analysing qualitative data
  • Drawing conclusions and presenting research
More information
40 Credits

Code: 6AG512

Financial Statement Analysis

The analysis of financial statements can tell us a great deal about the health of a company and its ability to deal with future challenges.

This module concentrates on using the financial information available to assess the relative strengths of companies and to assess the impact of outside forces on their viability. Analytical and forecasting skills will be used to aid decision making.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Analyse financial statements to make decisions on the strength, sustainability and adaptability of a business
  2. Evaluate the influence of internal and external factors on the company’s future prospects

Module content

  • Interpretation and analysis of company financial reports
  • Forecasting techniques
  • Factors affecting share prices
  • Evaluation of company’s place within the industry sector
  • Vulnerability to external events
  • Prediction of likely success or failure based upon extensive research

Module teaching and learning

The module will be taught through a series of online units supported by a mix of learning activities.

Activity typeHoursCategory
Self-paced study and activity 30 1

Facilitated learning activity

30 1
Guided independent study 100 2
Peer-to-peer learning activity 40 2

This module is based on the self-paced supported online learning delivery model. You are provided with a set number of units of learning content. Content can be in text form, can include video and audio material, screencasts or presentations with voiceovers. This content is supported by additional optional activities such as discussion forums to enable you to ask questions of your peers and your tutor to clarify their understanding and to engage in further development of the principles and ideas addressed.

Formative learning activities such as practice examples, worked examples and online quizzes are made available. Such activities enable you to interact and apply and exchange knowledge.

You will be provided with the opportunity to participate in a set number of live classroom sessions during the module. These provide you with ‘real time’ access to your tutor and an opportunity to collaborate with their peers. Recordings of these sessions are made available to all students for review by those unable to attend and for students to use as preparation for the module assessment strategy.

Module assessment methods

The module is assessed by 100% coursework, completed individually, split into two equally weighted tasks. Feedback from the first assessment will inform progress and act as feed forward to the second assessment.

Formative assessment

A range of formative assessment methods - providing feedback rather than grades - will be employed. This will include formative assessment during seminars and facilitated learning activities, allowing for peer and tutor feedback.

Seminars and personal tutorials will feature regular formative assessment throughout the semester, through exercises or class discussion.

Summative assessment

Coursework 1 - 50%: A numerical analysis of the performance of two companies from a specific industry sector. To include brief discussions of findings. This is to assess learning outcome 1.

Coursework 2 - 50%: A written report analysing the comparative performance of the two companies examined in coursework one. Word limit 2,500 words. This is to further develop learning outcome 1 and demonstrate learning outcome 2.


More information
20 Credits

Code: 6AG521

Financial Reporting (non-exam route)

Financial Reporting provides financial information for external users and the wider stakeholders of financial statements. This enables them to assess the risks and returns of investment opportunities so that they can make useful economic decisions.

This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of the financial accounting principles that support the international accounting standards on which financial statements are prepared. It will enable you to evaluate the significance of the fundamental principles that underpin the drafting and revision of appropriate international accounting standards.

It will provide you with the ability to select, interpret and apply the relevant international accounting standards to a range of financial reporting issues and transactions that entities experience within the contemporary business environment. This is a key skill to ensure that the published financial information the entities provide is useful for external users and stakeholders.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Discuss the relevant accounting treatment of a range of economic transactions in accordance with the appropriate international accounting standards and correctly determine the accounting treatment to be applied
  2. Critically discuss the accounting implications of contemporary financial reporting issues, including the limitations of financial reporting
  3. Critically evaluate and prepare consolidated financial statements under International GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) from single company statements, including accounting for business combinations such as subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures
  4. Discuss approaches to non-financial reporting

Module content

  • The role of the International Accounting Standard Board and the development of the regulatory and conceptual framework underpinning financial reporting
  • Published financial statements: income statement, statement of financial position, statement of changes in equity and cash flow statements, including business combinations, such as subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures
  • The analysis and evaluation of a wide range of accounting information, including financial instruments, earnings per share and employee benefits
  • The limitations of financial reporting and the development of non-financial reporting
More information
20 Credits

Code: 6AG536

Contemporary Reporting Issues

There are many developments and debates around corporate and integrated reporting. Organisations are required to report on more than just the financial results.

This module will investigate various contemporary issues relating to this area of performance management and integrated reporting. Delivery will include lectures, seminars and interactive sessions using Bloomberg financial software, projects and case studies.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding and knowledge of alternative forms of corporate accountability, including ethical, social and environmental impacts
  2. Critically appraise the benefits and limitations of alternative forms of corporate accountability
  3. Appreciate the contribution of professional accountants in new forms of corporate reporting

Module content

You will study the principles and impact of the circular economy, performance management and metrics in the circular economy, such as circularity assessments. This will involve the introduction, application and analysis of integrated reporting, including the work of the International Integrated Reporting Council, as well as environmental, social and governance reporting and impacts life-cycle analysis and case study analysis.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6EC505

Investing and Financial Market Behaviour

The module brings together major themes from economics, finance and psychology but also touches on many other business and social sciences disciplines to develop deep understanding of personal investment behaviour and financial markets in crisis. The module also develops critical practice skills through the learning process.

Students examine the theory and practice of pensions, investments, saving and debt decisions using concepts like inter-temporal decision-making, time preference, investment risk, capital accrual, fund management, investor behaviour bias in an international context. Students also examine the underlying issues in financial markets that lead to crisis and failure in order to examine the relationship between individual investment, organisational practice and regulation in financial markets.

Module learning outcomes

On completion of the module, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of personal finance and investment theory and practice
  2. Demonstrate broad ability to critically summarise and appraise a financial expert’s view
  3. Demonstrate a critical understanding of how and why financial crises arise and the role of individual, organisational and regulatory decisions on financial market outcomes

Module content

  • UK financial system, markets and instruments and the role of government regulation in the industry
  • The economics and psychology of personal finance decision-making through portfolio investment theory to determine the best long-run investment and saving strategy and the problems of behavioural bias
  • Savings activity, pension fund management and international patterns of investment. Students will attempt to build their own successful portfolio
  • The economic role of the banking sector and other financial organisations in relation to investment and the economic and psychological explanations of financial crises
  • The role of the regulators and different types of financial regulation
  • Arguments from real financial market specialists discussing the role of the Bank of England, banks and specialists such as hedge funds
More information
20 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

Pace of study

We recommend about 20 hours of study per week to complete one 20-credit module over a 10-week trimester. If you aim to study two modules in one trimester, we recommend 40 hours of study per week.

Assessment method

This course is assessed through 100% coursework with a range of methods, such as essays, research reports, presentations, group work and practical reports.

Who will teach you

Tony Stevenson standing up

Dr Tony Stevenson
Programme leader

Academic Lead Accounting Finance and Economics, Dr Tony Stevenson entered the Higher education sector as an international tutor teaching, Finance, and Mergers and Acquisitions from a practitioner’s perspective.

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How you will learn online

Our Accounting and Finance (Top-Up) BA (Hons) course taster will give you an idea of how online learning works. It includes a selection of content from a course module so you can see what some of our learning material looks like.

You will need to complete a short form to access the course taster.

Try our course tasterTry our course taster
Student wearing headphones at a laptop participating in an online webinar

Study Accounting and Finance Online at Derby Webinar

Tuesday, 1 December 2020 11.00 - 12.00

Join this webinar to discover more about studying Accounting and Finance online at Derby. The webinar includes a 30 minute presentation from Dr Anthony Stevenson, Academic Lead for Accounting and Finance.

Book your webinarBook your webinar

Entry requirements

You need to have one of the following qualifications:

If you do not hold one of the above Accounting or Finance qualifications, but have a HND or foundation degree in Business or equivalent overseas qualification, you may be eligible to apply for our BSc (Hons) Management Accounting (top up) degree as an alternative.


If you have already completed CIMA’s F3 module or hold more than six ACCA F papers, you will be eligible for exemptions on this BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance (top up) degree.

 ACCA qualification exemptions

You will be able to gain exemptions on this course, if you hold specific ACCA F papers. Depending on the papers you hold you will be exempt from either one or two modules.

ACCA PapersModule Exemptions

If you hold all of the following papers:

F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6 and F7

You will be exempt from the Financial Reporting (6AG521)

If you hold all of the following papers:

F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F8 and F9
You will be exempt from the Financial Reporting (6AG521)

If you hold all of the following papers:

F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6, F7 and F8

You will be exempt from the Financial Reporting module, plus, one of the following modules depending on your course start date:

Financial Statement Analysis (6AG512) - For students starting the course in September 

Contemporary Reporting Issues (6AG536) - For students staring the course in January

Financial Statement Analysis (6AG512) - For students starting the course in May

 CIMA qualification exemptions

CIMA members who have completed the F3 module, will receive one module exemption on this course.

CIMA ModuleModule exemption
F3 Financial Reporting (6AG521)

English language qualifications

If English is not your first language, or you have not successfully completed your highest level of qualification in English, you will need an English language qualification. For this course you will need at least one of the following:

* If you don't have GCSE Maths, you can study our Certificate of Credit in Introduction to Maths in Preparation for Higher Education, which is a 20-credit module designed to help you develop your mathematical skills in preparation for higher education. 

**If you have a minimum of IELTS level 4.5, you can study our Certificate of Credit in English for Academic Purposes, which we will accept as evidence that you are able to perform at a suitable level of IELTS 6.0. We will also accept the Certificate of Credit as evidence that you can perform at GCSE level.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2020 and August 2021.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £840 6 £5,040

2021/22 Fees for new entrants

Starting between September 2021 and August 2022.

 Per 20 creditsModulesCost
UK/EU/International £840 6 £5,040

About your fees

This figure would be the total cost of this course in the current academic year. However, please note that fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The total fee you pay may therefore increase if your course lasts longer than one year.

However, please also note that you can receive a 5% discount if you either:

Flexible payment plans available

Choose from three payment plan options:

Undergraduate funding options

Depending on where you are from in the UK or EU, and on your pace of study, you may be eligible for an undergraduate student loan. Accessible through Student Finance, this is a non-income based loan to meet the cost of tuition fees.

If you already hold an honours degree, and you are looking to re-skill or up-skill, you may still be eligible for a loan to study this course.

How to apply

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply now

Documents to support your application

You'll need to provide:

*Documents not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a certified translation by a professional translator/translation company. Each translation must contain:

A list of approved translators can be found on the UK Government website.

Application deadlines

All of our online courses have set start dates throughout the year. We require time to review your application and get back to you with a response before your course starts. Take a look at information regarding applying for an online course to see full details of deadlines and term dates.


Become a qualified accountant, quicker than most

We have designed the degree to help you get maximum exemptions from a range of professional qualifications*. This shortens the time required for you to become a fully qualified member of your chosen professional body.

There is always a demand for accounting graduates

Our past students have gone on to work for local public practices, multinational accounting firms and taken up accounting careers in merchant banks and other large businesses. As an accountant you will have the opportunity to work in many diverse fields, anywhere in the world.

*Please check with your regional professional body to find out more about the exemptions available to you

Contact us

Contact the University of Derby Online Learning:

Contact usContact usFrequently asked questionsFrequently asked questions

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