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Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting

This short module caters for people who want a good grounding in double-entry bookkeeping and the production of basic financial statements as well as anyone who wants to proceed to professional qualifications as bookkeepers, accounting technicians or fully qualified accountants. You’ll gain practical skills in Excel spreadsheets and double-entry bookkeeping, both manual and computerised, as well as knowledge and understanding of the essential principles, concepts, ethics and limitations that underpin bookkeeping and financial accounting. This module is a recommended preparatory module for our Professional Certificate in Accounting. It has a choice of start dates, and you decide how long to take over your studies, from twelve up to twenty-four weeks.

Standalone study only

This module is available for standalone study only. Any credits from this module cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.


Module code
Study level
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

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What you will study

As this module leads to accreditation, it is not a ‘taster course’ as such.  It is more demanding than most OU level 1 modules and does require you to be highly committed to your studies, as it covers both introductory bookkeeping and accounting within a relatively short time period. This module uses the terminology of current UK GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practice), which is the terminology used predominantly in the UK by small and medium-sized businesses. The study of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is beyond the scope of this module. However, there is the opportunity to learn about IFRS in accounting modules at OU level 2 and above where IFRS terminology is used.

The content of this module consists of the following:

  • the basic principles, concepts, ethics, limitations and techniques central to bookkeeping and accounting
  • the role of bookkeeping and accounting within for-profit organisations, not-for-profit organisations and the public sector
  • the relationship between bookkeeping and accounting, including similarities and differences
  • careers in bookkeeping and accounting, and the requirements for professional qualifications in the two subjects.

Students will learn the following practical and professional skills:

  • perform basic operations with numbers, as required for bookkeeping and accounting
  • perform basic operations with Excel spreadsheets, as required for bookkeeping and accounting
  • complete all the steps required in a double-entry bookkeeping and accounting system from recording financial transactions in books of prime entry to preparing the profit and loss account/income statement and balance sheet
  • a brief introduction to Sage accounting software
  • develop the general practical and professional skills of bookkeeping and accounting
  • develop awareness of relevant ethical issues for bookkeepers and accountants.

The likely audience of this module is students who want a good grounding in double-entry bookkeeping and accounting, and the production of basic financial statements. The module is of particular vocational relevance to students who want to progress to professional qualifications as bookkeepers, accounting technicians or fully qualified accountants.

The study material will be supported by CD-ROMs and web-based material.

Professional recognition

Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting (B190) is accredited by the International Association of Book-keepers (IAB). The module provides exemption from both their level 2 Certificate in Book-keeping and also their level 3 Diploma in Accounting and Advanced Book-keeping. Therefore on successful completion of B190 students will be able to apply to become Members of the IAB.

Outside the UK

The study material is aimed at students in the UK or in any location where current UK GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practice) is used.

Teaching and 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 end-of-module assessment (EMA).

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in February, May, August and November each year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

End-of-module assessment
No residential school


Please note: this module is only available for standalone study. You cannot count the credits you gain from the module towards any current OU qualification. It may be possible, however, to count the credits gained towards a qualification if you are already studying with us and have declared your qualification intention before September 2012 – see your qualification description in StudentHome for details.

Students should have some basic computer literacy and be familiar with basic financial documents and records, i.e. bank statements, invoices, receipts, credit notes, etc.

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


Start End England fee Register
01 Aug 2015 See description £450.00

New to OU? Registration closed. Already an OU Student? If you can pay in full by card you can register here until 31/07/15


The deadline for financial support applications has now passed

01 Nov 2015 See description £450.00

Registration closes 23/10/15 (places subject to availability)


You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

01 Feb 2016 See description £450.00

Registration closes 25/01/16 (places subject to availability)


01 May 2016 See description £450.00

Registration closes 25/04/16 (places subject to availability)


This module is expected to start for the last time in August 2017.

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 you register.

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.

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

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. 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 qualification 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 modules.  

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 that is 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 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 01/08/2015.

What's included

Module guide, study book, CD-ROM material and use of website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available. For this module you will also need to install software provided by the OU on a disk or USB stick.

A Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system is suitable for this module. You will be required to install Microsoft Windows specific software.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

If you have a disability

Students will need to be able to access CD-ROM material in order to complete the learning outcomes of this module. Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. 

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.