Accounts & Economics

Accounting

Why study Accounting? 

A qualification in accounting will always be helpful – whether it’s used professionally or personally

A Level Accounting helps students to understand the responsibilities of the accountant and the impacts of their recommendations on the business and wider environment

Students will build knowledge and understanding of key concepts, principles and techniques that they can apply to real-life scenarios, developing the ability to solve problems logically, analyse data methodically, make reasoned choices and communicate effectively

A  Level Accounting allows students to develop quantitative data analysis and interpretation skills, whilst the inclusion of ethics and an emphasis on management accounting will give students the confidence to communicate information to non-accountants and future clients

AQA have worked with ICAEW and CIMA, as well as teachers and universities during the development of the specification allowing students to gain core knowledge of financial accounting as well as cost and management accounting

The Course 

The course content includes:

  • An introduction to the role of the accountant in business
  • Types of business organisation
  • The double entry model
  • Accounting concepts used in the preparation of accounting records
  • Preparation of financial statements of sole traders
  • Limited company accounts
  • Analysis and evaluation of financial information
  • Budgeting
  • Standard costing and variance analysis
  • Accounting for organisations with incomplete records
  • Partnership accounts
  • Interpretation, analysis and communication of accounting information
  • The impact of ethical considerations

A Level Accounting emphasises both financial accounting and the recording of past events and management accounting as a means of planning and decision making. Students will develop an understanding of the principles of ethical behaviour which informs the actions of all those working within an accounting environment

Students should demonstrate a good understanding of the double entry model and accounting principles and concepts as these form the foundation of all financial accounting techniques. They will also need to demonstrate quantitative skills that are relevant. Students will be expected to demonstrate knowledge of the formulae used for calculations, carry out calculations and use the results of calculations to inform judgements, solve problems and make decisions. Students focus on developing their ability to write effectively so that they can report to stakeholders, making logical arguments and providing sound judgements based on analysis of available evidence taking account of the financial and non-financial factors

Students should keep up-to-date with financial news including announcements concerning the performance of leading UK businesses, including the examination of their published accounts.

How will I be Assessed 

Examinations at the end of Year 13, consisting of:

2 written exams, each 3 hours long and worth 120 marks

Each examination paper will consist of three compulsory sections:

  • Section A has 10 multiple choice questions and several short answer questions. The section is worth 30 marks
  • Section B has two structured questions each worth 20 marks
  • Section C has two extended answer questions each worth 25 marks

Skills gained by studying A Level Accounting includes:

  • Recording transactions using double-entry bookkeeping, verifying the accuracy of the bookkeeping and correcting any errors
  • Preparing financial statements for sole traders and limited companies, including recording adjustments, by applying knowledge of accounting concepts
  • Calculating and interpreting accounting ratios
  • Analysing and evaluating business performance using accounting techniques to interpret financial information
  • Developing a logical and methodical approach to problem solving through the analysis and evaluation of financial and management information
  • Preparing, analysing and evaluating budgets, including the calculation and interpretation of variances
  • Preparing information using costing techniques to enable managers to make decisions
  • Presenting and communicating accounting information numerically, graphically and in written form, so that it can be understood by non-accountants and can be used by stakeholders for decision making purposes
  • Analysing and evaluating projects through the application of capital investment appraisal measures
  • Preparing financial statements for partnerships and businesses with incomplete records
  • Preparing information to enable managers to plan, control and make decisions using a range of accounting techniques such as absorption costing, activity based costing and marginal costing
  • Evaluating the benefits and limitatioms of management accounting systems and techniques in providing information to enable managers to plan, control and make decisions
  • Preparing statement of cash flow
  • Evaluating the benefits and limitations of financial reporting in communicating information to a range of stakeholders to enable them to reach informed opinions about the organisation
  • Analysing situations to identify ethical considerations and suggesting appropriate actions

Quantitative skills gained in studying A Level Accounting

In order to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in accounting students need to acquire competence in the quantitative skills that are relevant and which are applied in the context of A Level Accounting including:

  • Calculate, use and understand ratios and fractions
  • Calculate, use and understand percentages and percentage changes
  • Calculate cost, revenue, profit and break-even
  • Calculate investment appraisal outcomes and interpret results
  • Calculate and apply payback and net present value including the use of discounting techniques
  • Calculate and interpret variances
  • Calculate total product cost and selling price using activity based costing and absorption costing
  • Interpret, apply and analyse information in written, graphical and numerical forms
  • Use and interpret quantitative and non-quantitative information in order to make decisions

What can I do next? 

Students choose various pathways after completing A Level Accounting, many continue with their studies at university, whist others gain employment or undertake higher level apprenticeships in accounting firms. Examples of destinations include KPMG, PWC, Disneyland Paris, Bath University, Queen Mary University, and LSE

Career Options

Management Accountant

Starting Salary £28,000

Management accountants are responsible for managing a company’s finances. They look after a company’s accounts. They also find ways of improving profitability and growth

To do this job you will need to have good maths and computer skills, you will also need to be accurate and pay attention to detail and have good communication skills

Accounting Technician

Starting Salary £17,000

As an accounting technician you would deal with accounting and finance matters in all types of businesses. In larger companies you would work as part of an accounts team. In a smaller firm you might be responsible for dealing with all wages and invoices.

If you enjoy working with numbers and you are interested in business and finance, this career could be ideal for you

Accounts Clerk – Bookkeeper

Starting Salary £16,000

Accounts clerks, also known as finance clerks or bookkeepers work in all types of businesses and organisations, keeping financial records up-to-date and helping to prepare accounts

If you are an organised person with a head for figures and have good computer skills, this could a a job that you would really enjoy

Chartered Accountant

Starting Salary £30,000 as a Graduate, when fully qualified £85,000

Chartered accountancy offers a prestigious career with lots of opportunity for progression and high earning potential

As a chartered accountant you'll give advice, audit accounts and provide trustworthy information about financial records. This might involve financial reporting, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency, or accounting systems and processes

Chartered accountants work in a range of organisations, including public practice firms and industry and commerce, as well as in the not-for-profit and public sectors. Working strategically, your aim is to maximise profitability on behalf of your client or employer

Stock Broker

Starting Salary £40,000

If you can handle a fast-paced and challenging financial environment, using your excellent communication, negotiation and analytical skills, working as a stockbroker may be the career for you

Stockbrokers are individuals who buy and sell stocks and other securities for retail and institutional clients, through a stock exchange or over the counter, in return for a fee or a commission

As a stockbroker, you'll need to:

  • keep up to date with the latest financial and tax legislation
  • stay informed of the latest financial news to understand the movements in the market and the causes of change
  • carry out specific market research and analysis
  • write reports and newsletters summarising the market research you have completed
  • proactively look for clients, sell your services and manage those relationships
  • regularly update your clients on the state of their portfolio and new investment opportunities
  • give presentations to clients at conferences and networking events
  • be honest and provide all information, including risks. As a broker you cannot exaggerate or provide misleading information

Economics

Why study Economics? 

Economics is a lively and evolving social science that studies the choices individuals, businesses, governments and entire societies make.

Economics helps you to look more deeply into the world around you, allowing you to develop a broader appreciation of how and why it functions as it does. It can also give you new perspectives on some of the most pressing and challenging problems facing the world today; the causes and consequences of the 2009 financial crash; the operation of the financial markets; growing income inequality; unemployment and underemployment; the economic implications of Brexit; action to reduce carbon emissions; interest rates; the issues surrounding government borrowing and debt; migration and the impact of an ageing population – to name but a few,

Economics is an ideal subject if you are interested in business, finance or political issues, and will suit you if you are considering a career in the media or law. It combines very well with a wide range of other subjects such as History and Politics but it is a very good ‘bridging’ subject which can be combined with Arts, Social Science or Scientific subjects. Mathematicians usually make good economists and, although it is not essential to take Mathematics, you should consider doing so if you intend to study Economics at University.

The course makes considerable use of material relating to current affairs, and we make use of news articles, videos and internet resources.

Aims of Economics 

Throughout the study of A Level Economics students are encouraged to:

  • Develop an interest in and enthusiasm for Economics
  • Appreciate the contribution pf economics to the understanding of the wider economic and social environment
  • Develop an understanding of a range of concepts and an ability to use those concepts in a variety of different contexts
  • Use an enquiring, critical and thoughtful approach to the study of economics and develop an ability to think as an economist
  • Understand that economic behaviour can be studied from a range of perspectives
  • Develop analytical and quantitative skills, together with qualities and attributes which will equip students for the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities of adult and working life

The Course 

Economics is conventionally divided into microeconomics and macroeconomics

Microeconomics involves the study of the behaviour of consumers and businesses, analysing how markets work and may often fail. Closer examination of housing, energy, labour, financial, health and education market helps students explore the real-world application of microeconomic theories and concepts. We also look at the theory behind the operations of firms and business enterprises and the rationale for government intervention, addressing issues such as:

  • Why has the price of petrol risen?
  • Why is the price of mobile phones not falling?
  • Why does a footballer earn more than a highly qualified doctor?
  • What factors affect the housing market?

We also consider areas of ‘market failure’, where the Government intervenes to ensure a more satisfactory outcome – pollution controls, public sector goods and services and legal constraints on monopolies, for example.

Macroeconomics is the study of the whole economy, and how Government policies such as use of taxation and interest rates can be used to achieve economic objectives. The course covers issues such as:

  • How can unemployment be reduced?
  • How can economic growth be encouraged?
  • Can we increase UK living standards?
  • Is income inequality a problem which should concern us?
  • Why has Britain’s relative position in the world changed?
  • Does inflation matter?
  • Will we be more prosperous outside the EU?

The main topic areas covered in the first year includes:

  • Economic methodology and the economic problem
  • Price determination in a competitive market
  • The market mechanism, market failure and government intervention in markets
  • The measurement of macroeconomic performance
  • How the macroeconomy works; the circular flow of income, AD/AS analysis and related concepts
  • Economic performance
  • Macroeconomic policy
  • Behavioural Economics

The main topic areas covered in the second year includes:

  • Perfect competition, imperfectly competitive markets and monopoly
  • The labour market
  • The distribution of income and wealth; poverty and inequality
  • The market mechanism, market failure and government intervention in markets
  • Financial markets and monetary policy
  • Fiscal policy and supply-side policies
  • The international economy

The A Level Economics course is a two year linear course and is structured to develop both microeconomic and macroeconomic concepts and theories in a variety of contemporary contests. The course is externally assessed by three examinations at the end of year 13 and quantitative skills are embedded with the assessment

The examinations are a combination of multiple choice questions, data questions and written answers. Economics involves written work, some numerical work and a considerable use of diagrams and graphs

Students develop the knowledge and skills needed to understand and analyse data, think critically about issues and make informed decisions. They will also build upon their quantitative skills and appreciate that, when evaluating arguments, both qualitative and quantitative evidence is important

Question papers use a variety of assessment styles including real-life case studies and data exercises to better prepare students for further study and employment

The examinations will measure how students have achieved the following:

  • Demonstrating knowledge of terms/concepts and theories/models to show an understanding of the behaviour of economic agents and how they are affected by and respond to economic issues
  • Apply knowledge and understanding to various economic contexts to show how economic agents are affected by and respond to economic issues
  • Analyse issues within economics, showing an understanding of their impact on economic agents
  • Evaluate economic arguments and use qualitative and quantitative evidence to support informed judgements relating to economic issues

In order to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding in economics students need to have acquired competence in the quantitative skills that are relevant to the content and which are applied in an economic context including:

  • Calculate, use and understand ratios and fractions
  • Calculate, use and understand percentages and percentage changes
  • Understand and use the terms, mean, median and relevant quantiles
  • Construct and interpret a range of standard graphical forms
  • Calculate and interpret index numbers
  • Calculate cost, revenue and profit
  • Make calculations of elasticity and interpret the result
  • Interpret, apply and analyse information in written, graphical and numerical forms

What can I do next? 

Students choose various pathways after completing A Level Economics, many continue with their studies at university, whist others gain employment or undertake higher level apprenticeships

 

Career Options

Economist

Starting Salary £30,000

As an economist, you would carry out research and collect large amounts of information that can cover any aspect of economic and social policy, ranging from interest rates, taxation and employment levels to energy, health, transport and international development

You would analyse the information using specialist software and advanced methods in statistical analysis in order to produce forecasts of economic trends and make recommendations of ways to improve efficiency

These findings will be used to advise various organisations, including government agencies, economic consultancies, major companies, banks, financial institutions, higher education establishments and investment groups

Data Analyst

Starting Salary £25,000

A career as a data analyst will suit you if you are highly analytical, have strong mathematical skills and are curious and inquisitive

Data analysts are in high demand across all sectors, such as finance, consulting, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, government and education

The ability to pay attention to detail, communicate well and be highly organised are essential skills for data analysts. They not only need to understand the data, but be able to provide insight and analysis through clear visual, written and verbal communication

You can work across a broad range of areas, including business intelligence; data quality; finance; marketing and sales

Investment Analyst

Starting Salary £30,000

As an investment analyst you will need to be good at researching and understanding the financial market, and be able to communicate this information to others

An investment analyst provides research and information to help traders, fund managers and stock brokers make decisions about investments. The information you provide ensures investment portfolios are well managed and that potential investment opportunities are highlighted.

Analysts and fund managers working in the UK are likely to research investments globally. Principal types of investor in the UK include banks and large corporations; charities; life assurance companies; pension funds and wealthy individuals

Stock Broker

Starting Salary £40,000

If you can handle a fast-paced and challenging financial environment, using your excellent communication, negotiation and analytical skills, working as a stockbroker may be the career for you

Stockbrokers are individuals who buy and sell stocks and other securities for retail and institutional clients, through a stock exchange or over the counter, in return for a fee or a commission

As a stockbroker, you'll need to:

  • keep up to date with the latest financial and tax legislation
  • stay informed of the latest financial news to understand the movements in the market and the causes of change
  • carry out specific market research and analysis
  • write reports and newsletters summarising the market research you have completed
  • proactively look for clients, sell your services and manage those relationships
  • regularly update your clients on the state of their portfolio and new investment opportunities
  • give presentations to clients at conferences and networking events
  • be honest and provide all information, including risks. As a broker you cannot exaggerate or provide misleading information

Chartered Accountant

Starting Salary £30,000 as a Graduate, when fully qualified £85,000

Chartered accountancy offers a prestigious career with lots of opportunity for progression and high earning potential

As a chartered accountant you'll give advice, audit accounts and provide trustworthy information about financial records. This might involve financial reporting, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency, or accounting systems and processes

Chartered accountants work in a range of organisations, including public practice firms and industry and commerce, as well as in the not-for-profit and public sectors. Working strategically, your aim is to maximise profitability on behalf of your client or employer