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Fundamentals of accounting

This module provides a broad introduction to accounting study at the university level. It covers the fundamentals of financial and management accounting as well as the essential skills, knowledge and ethics required to be a professional accountant. The module will also be suitable if you are in a general management position as the accounting material covers measuring management performance and improving financial planning, control and decision-making. You will gain an understanding of financial reports through their preparation, based on the double-entry bookkeeping system which is essential for the management of any organisation. 

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
B124
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.

OU SCQF FHEQ
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

Proper accounting is crucial for the prosperity and survival of any organisation. Our complex economic system depends on accurate, trustworthy and relevant financial records and reports. While this module focuses on the accounting required for a sole trader, the skills and knowledge you will learn are of central importance for accounting, and managing in any organisation, whether for-profit, not-for-profit or governmental.

Unit 1: Introduction to accounting
This unit introduces the scope and structure of the module and the purpose of bookkeeping and accounting, as well as the skills, knowledge and ethics required for accounting.
 
Unit 2: Essentials of double-entry bookkeeping
This unit introduces the key principles of the double-entry bookkeeping system, which is based on the accounting equation.
 
Unit 3: Accruals accounting explored
Unit 3 develops an understanding of recording a wide range of transactions through ledger accounts.
 
Unit 4: Control over the ledgers  
This unit introduces the books of original entry that underpin ledger accounts as well as the different ways that ledger accounts are monitored, controlled and corrected.
 
Unit 5: Preparing financial statements
This unit revisits end-of-period adjustments and how they are used to prepare financial statements. It also explains how to derive useful information from incomplete records, and how to prepare manufacturing accounts.
 
Unit 6: Essentials of cost and management accounting  
Unit 6 provides an introduction to the basic concepts and principles of management accounting, including cost analysis, accounting control systems and cost bookkeeping. This unit also covers the differences between manual and computerised accounting systems.
 
Unit 7: Management accounting applications
This unit considers some important management accounting applications, applying the concepts and principles of management accounting introduced in Unit 6.
 
Unit 8: Preparing for the exam
Unit 8 is designed to help you revise the module teaching materials and prepare for the end-of-module examination
 

You will learn

You will learn the fundamental concepts and techniques of financial and management accounting as well as a range of relevant skills. These include double-entry bookkeeping, advanced numeracy, reading and analysing relevant case studies, using information and communication technologies, preparing appropriate reports and using and manipulating spreadsheets.

Vocational relevance

This module has vital vocational relevance if you wish to work as a bookkeeper or aspire to any managerial role where you are accountable for your performance. It is of particular relevance if you wish to qualify as a professional accountant as this module is designed to be an ideal springboard for such an ambition.

Professional recognition

This module is designed to offer, on completion, immediate professional recognition by the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB). This accreditation will enable you to gain exemption from both their Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Level 3 Diploma in Accounting and Advanced Bookkeeping. On successful completion you will be able to apply to become a Member of the IAB. Conditions of accreditation and membership with the IAB, including any annual fees and the requirement for referees, will need to be confirmed directly with the IAB.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

While you study this module you will be supported by your tutor in face to face and online tutorials. Your tutor will facilitate online discussions with your fellow students in your tutor group forum and will be available for individual queries and help if you need it. Your tutor will also mark your tutor marked assignments and give you feedback on your progress.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

Fundamentals of accounting starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2023.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    Examination
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    There are no formal entry requirements for this module. What is required is a commitment to developing already existing basic skills in numeracy and literacy. You are also expected to have a basic level of computer literacy and a broad interest in business and management.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £1464.00

    Registration closes 13/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2023.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 18/08/2018.

    What's included

    This module consists of eight units of study which includes online activities and resources and printed books. 

    You will need

    A non-programmable calculator. Spreadsheet software is useful but not essential.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying B124 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition website.