You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

Financial accounting in context

Qualification dates
Start End

This module will help you to understand different types of company from their formation, company financial accounting, the regulatory framework in which they operate, and their role in the context of market economies, law and society. You’ll also gain an understanding of corporate governance, corporate responsibility, and sustainability reporting. You’ll learn how to interact with accountants and auditors to understand their duties, and other external stakeholders to understand their information needs. By the end of this module you should be able to prepare basic company financial accounts (including cash flow statements), and interpret the financial statements of a single entity company from the perspective of external stakeholders.

What you will study

You will study two aspects of company financial accounting and reporting.

Accounting technical: understanding, preparing and interpreting company financial statements and reports. You'll learn how to prepare income statements, balance sheets, statements of changes in equity, and cash flow statements for single entity companies. You'll also learn how to interpret financial statements from the perspective of external stakeholders.

Contextual: the economic, legal and social context of companies and company financial accounting. You'll learn about characteristics of market economies and companies, regulation, financial accounting standards, audit and corporate governance, and why business ethics, corporate responsibility, and sustainability reporting are essential for mitigating the deficiencies of corporate governance and financial reporting. You'll also learn about contract law and employment law and their influence on financial accounting.

You will learn

In addition, you will learn about the different legal forms of business entity and differences in regulatory requirements that company law places on private limited companies, public limited companies, and quoted or listed companies.

Entry requirements

This module assumes that you will have completed Fundamentals of accounting (B124) or equivalent. Therefore, you should already:

  • know and understand the principles of double-entry bookkeeping and how they underpin the balance sheet and the income statement
  • be able to prepare an income statement and balance sheet from trial balance and additional summary information for businesses organised as sole traders.

The end-of-period adjustments that you need to be able to make include:

  • closing inventory
  • depreciation of non-current assets,
  • accrued and prepaid expenses and accrued and deferred revenues,
  • writing off irrecoverable receivables,
  • increasing or decreasing the allowance for receivables.
  • interest expense and interest payable

At the start of the module you'll have the chance to review the prerequisite core knowledge and skills. This way, even if you completed an accounting module a while ago, you can refresh your understanding and skills in order to feel confident that you're ready to study this module. In addition to the knowledge and skills above, you'll be required to use a calculator and Excel spreadsheets.

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

What's included

The module website contains all the study materials. In addition, there is the printed Exam preparation workbook.

You will need

A non-programmable calculator.

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
  • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

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

To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. There will also be four online tutorials and one online day school which you are strongly encouraged to attend.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


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).

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying B293 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Financial accounting in context starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2026.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
No residential school