Accounting and Finance

An accounting and finance degree will open many doors to enable you to work in a range of industries. Our courses are shaped by the latest thinking, and students are taught by experts from a variety of backgrounds.

Career advantage

Bristol alumni are in the top 10 most targeted by UK top 100 graduate employers (High Fliers Research, 2021).

Learn while you earn

You can choose to apply for a placement in your third year to gain real life experience and make career connections.

Global opportunities

Choose to study abroad for a year as part of your course, or explore options for short-term overseas opportunities to help enrich your experience.

Accounting and Finance at Bristol

Built on tradition but shaped by the very latest thinking, our accounting and finance courses cover the breadth of both disciplines. From understanding cognitive biases through the study of behavioural finance, to learning about the disruptive innovations of bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and fintech, you will benefit from applying creative and critical thinking to how we measure value.

Our courses are taught by world-leading academics, many of whom are undertaking internationally renowned research. You will not only learn accounting and finance but also gain a solid foundation in economics and mathematics. We offer a wide range of optional units, meaning you can broaden your study beyond accounting and finance or tailor your degree to your own interests within those disciplines.

You will have access our financial trading computer room (Bloomberg) to gain hands-on experience with software used throughout the global financial services industry.

Our industry relevant courses are accredited by professional accountancy bodies. Students are able to get exceptions from professional exams from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). This gives a head start on completing professional qualifications to become a Chartered Accountant and goes to demonstrate that our courses are industry-relevant.

I really feel like everyone wants you to succeed and do really well, and I was surprised how much time the lecturers give; they’re so willing to spend their office hours talking to you and advising you.


Career prospects

A student works in the financial trading computer room using Bloomberg Professional software

You will have access to the Professional Liaison Network (PLN), which connects students with employers in the industry through internships and a professional mentoring scheme. They also arrange ‘insight talks’ by accounting and finance graduates from organisations such as the Bank of England and Hargreaves Lansdown.

You can also benefit from the help of a dedicated Employability Adviser for the school who develops tailored and bespoke career development support for our students.

Popular employment destinations with our students include KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY, and many other organisations across the world. Career paths include: Business Technology Analyst, Financial Services Manager, Accounts Associate, Auditor and Assurance Graduate.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

A teacher points at a whiteboard while talking to two students.

You will gain the skills and knowledge to work effectively in the fast-paced world of business and financial services. To help you prepare for your career, we guide you to think critically, enabling you to analyse and interpret real-life issues in Accounting and/or Finance to come up with creative solutions.

In the first year you will develop your skills across the core disciplines of accounting, economics, finance and mathematics, as well as choosing at least one optional unit.

In year two you will study financial accounting, management accounting and finance in more depth, learning more advanced theory and techniques alongside optional units.

In your final year you will have flexibility and a wide choice of optional units. You may choose to specialise and strengthen your skills in a particular area, or keep your options open and follow a broader path.

You can also choose to extend your degree to four years, spending your third year studying in English overseas, or take one of our Professional Placement degrees and spend a year working in a financial environment. Find out about all of our go abroad options. 

Sample units may include:

  • Economic Principles
  • Globalisation and Development
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability
  • Organisational Crime and Corruption
  • Digital Finance
  • Behavioural Finance.

Future success

Students in a classroom.

In the 2020 National Student Survey 91% of our accounting and finance students agreed that their course had helped them plan for their future career, offered activities and resources designed to prepare them for their career and developed useful skills for their career.

100% of students were in work or further study 15 months after the course (Graduate Outcomes survey, 2017/18 graduates).

Accounting and Finance

The School of Accounting and Finance is built on a tradition of scholarship and learning in the joint disciplines of accounting and finance, established over a long period here at the University of Bristol.

Our courses are shaped by the very latest thinking and our students work with academics who are experts in their field.  

Many of our undergraduate courses are accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Our courses combine theoretical and technical education with an understanding of how to tackle the many challenges faced by those working in accounting and finance today.

Why study Accounting and Finance at Bristol?

We have a reputation for producing high-quality graduates with strong quantitative skills and a global outlook. Choose to spend your third year studying in English overseas or take one of our professional placement degrees and spend a year working in a financial environment.

We are rare among research-intensive UK universities in having both teaching-focussed and traditional research-active career paths for academics; your learning will benefit from a variety of skills, experience, and expertise, as well as a strong commitment to teaching. We also pride ourselves in having small class sizes on most courses.

Not only do we provide you with a rigorous education in accounting and finance but we also ensure you gain a solid foundation in economics and mathematics. We offer a wide range of optional units, meaning you can broaden your study beyond accounting and finance or tailor your degree to your own interests within those disciplines. You may also combine your accounting and finance studies with economics or management. 

What kind of student would this course suit?

You will enjoy our accounting courses if you are interested in issues such as:

  • how financial information can support decision making;
  • how financial markets operate;
  • how to value shares and other financial assets.

You will also enjoy studying with us if you like a balance of approaches in your learning. Our courses combine academic and theoretical study with technical and professional learning, allowing you to experience the practical side of studying accounting while benefiting from the rigours of an academic discipline.

How is this course taught and assessed?

We teach using a variety of methods. As well as standard lectures introducing new material to a large group of students, we run exercise lectures, which involve application of material, and small-group classes. Our small-group teaching is a distinctive part of our approach at Bristol, enabling valuable and effective interaction with your tutor and peers.

You will prepare assignments during the year and receive feedback on them but they will not all count directly to your final mark for the course.

Most subjects are assessed predominantly by exam at the end of the semester in January or May/June, although there are some units where coursework will also count towards the final assessment.

What are my career prospects?

The University of Bristol is one of the ten most targeted universities by top UK employers (High Fliers 2021) and our accounting and finance graduate career destinations include KPMG, PwC, EY, Deloitte, Capita and many others. Find out more about what our students do after graduating

As well as the events and services provided by the Careers Service and the school's employability adviser, you can take the first steps toward your future career with our Professional Liaison Network (PLN). 

The PLN is a dedicated employability service that connects students, academics and researchers at the University with external organisations through activities designed to enrich your academic studies. Activities include internships, insight talks and our professional mentoring scheme. 


Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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