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Business management: fundamentals of management accounting

This microcredential will develop your understanding of how management accounting contributes to a successful business and improve your ability to make better financial decisions. Using best-practice approaches, you’ll gain new skills to interpret information, calculate costs, prepare a budget for planning and control purposes, and evaluate costing methods. Hands-on activities tackling real-world business problems will equip you with essential tools and techniques that can be applied to any organisation, regardless of the size or sector.

Key features

  • Learn practical skills that you can apply to your work straight away
  • Designed for non-financial professionals to gain confidence in understanding and using management accounting terminology
  • Interact with co-learners and a course mentor to further support your learning
  • Created by academic experts from The Open University’s triple-accredited Business School (AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS) with input from industry experts
  • The course has a global focus and delivers transferable skills for diverse sectors and organisations

What is a microcredential?

Microcredentials are professional development short courses with academic credit designed to help you quickly build in-demand career skills and knowledge that you can immediately apply. Learn more about microcredentials.


Module code




  • 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.

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.
Level of Study
3 10 6

Study method

This microcredential is studied entirely online

Module cost

Entry requirements

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What you will study

This undergraduate microcredential will give you the practical, best practice skills you need to succeed in management accounting. During this 10-week course, you’ll cover the following topics.

  • Key business concepts, what accountancy is and the differences between management accounting and financial accounting
  • Financial information from a number of different perspectives – who needs to understand financial information and why
  • The role of budgeting in helping organisations plan for and manage their activities and operations
  • The budget process, including relevant models of budgeting and practical experience in developing budgets for different organisations
  • Fundamental cost concepts and their relevance for planning, control and decision-making
  • The practical application of tools to help support a range of decisions in different organisations and businesses
  • Exploring the challenges involved in accurately costing a product or service
  • Using costing information in management decision-making and the importance of non-financial information in making the right decisions
  • How costing systems contribute towards financial and operational decisions

You will learn

By the end of your learning, you’ll be able to:

  • identify the need for accounting information when managing organisations
  • prepare a budget for planning and control purposes
  • calculate the cost of different types of products, processes and services
  • interpret a variety of different types of information from different information sources
  • evaluate and implement appropriate costing methods to make financial decisions.

Skills you will gain

  • Applying financial information to improve efficiency and effectiveness
  • Developing budgets for planning and control
  • Assessing the different types of cost for decision making
  • Understanding management accounting principles
  • Identifying the importance of management accounting in organisations
  • Problem-solving using management accounting techniques
  • Understanding the importance of contribution in decision-making
  • Identifying the break-even level of output

Vocational relevance

Materials include real-world examples and industry insight, ensuring your learning is relevant to the workplace. The course will particularly benefit:

  • professionals who would like to progress to management level
  • those who are new to an accounting role but lack formal qualifications
  • senior professionals looking to develop their management accounting skills
  • self-employed professionals looking to develop their skills and knowledge of management accounting.

Created by academic experts from The Open University’s triple-accredited Business School

  • Sabine Tuckett is an associate lecturer in accountancy with the OU. She is a chartered accountant with experience working in practice and teaches at the University of Exeter.
  • Paul Ranford is a chartered accountant and has authored many OU accounting module materials. He was awarded SFHEA for his teaching leadership in October 2017.
  • Jay Naik is an associate lecturer at the OU. He has 16 years of experience with other institutions as a senior lecturer covering all business subjects at undergraduate, postgraduate, and professional levels.
  • Mark Taylor is a consultant and educator whose interests include strategy, finance and management. In addition to teaching, he is involved in course design for companies and universities across the UK.
  • Haider Ali is a senior lecturer in marketing at the OU. He has consulted and taught globally and has been published in the Journal of Marketing Management.

Teaching and assessment

Study support

  • Learn 100% online on the OU’s learning platform with a mix of video, audio and written materials
  • Engage in interactive learning through self-assessment questions, polls, tasks and reflection
  • Share ideas and experiences in discussion with other learners, building skills, confidence and knowledge
  • Receive support from mentors who guide discussions and answer questions
  • Study at a time that suits you with the flexibility to access the course from your desktop, tablet or mobile device


You’ll take part in weekly tasks and discussions with co-learners to support and consolidate your learning. Towards the end of the course, you’ll submit a project or assessment demonstrating the skills you’ve acquired. This will be marked and graded by subject matter experts and make up 100% of your final mark.

What you will gain

10 UK credits at undergraduate level from The Open University* and a Certificate. Academic credits are awarded on passing the final assessment. These will be at undergraduate level 6 of the Framework for Higher Education (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) / level 10 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

*Academic credit may be used towards selected OU qualifications. For more details, including eligible qualifications, visit Counting microcredentials towards OU qualifications. The credit awarded may also be used at another university, subject to the agreement of the receiving institution.

Future availability

Business management: fundamentals of management accounting typically starts three times a year – in March, July and October. This page describes the microcredential that will begin in July 2024.


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

Course work includes:

End-of-module assessment

Entry requirements

This undergraduate-level microcredential is ideal for business professionals who wish to broaden their understanding of management accounting. You don’t need any prior experience or qualifications to enrol. The course has been designed to reflect learners’ differing accounting experience and mathematical skill levels. All required skills and foundational knowledge are covered within this microcredential.

Please note

  • The course material doesn’t assume learners are working. Past experiences will be just as relevant.
  • All teaching is in English, and your English proficiency needs to be adequate for undergraduate study. As a guide, this corresponds to Level 5.5 of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). However, you won’t need to provide a formal English language score to enrol.

Course length

This 10-week course requires approximately 10 hours of self-paced learning per week, totalling around 100 hours for completion.


Start End England fee Register
08 Jul 2024 Sep 2024 £500.00

Registration closes 07/07/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2024.

Additional Costs

Study costs

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

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

Ways to pay for this module

Microcredential funding

Some of our microcredentials are available to study for free through government-funded schemes.

Find out about funding available if you are based in Wales or Scotland.

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).

OUSBA is not available as a payment method for microcredentials.

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, Mastercard, Visa 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).

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 fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 29/05/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of less than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

All learning materials, exercises and activities are delivered entirely online. 

While certain content can be downloaded, some content is exclusively accessible online, requiring a reliable internet connection for viewing. Please consider this if you are travelling.

Computing requirements

You can learn from your desktop computer or laptop or take your learning with you on a phone or tablet. You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop/laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher. Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all currently supported Android and iOS versions.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet, you can contact us about the support that can be given to meet your needs. 

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.