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Financial accounting in context

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This module will help you to understand different types of companies 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 the 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

You’ll be provided with a printed Exam Preparation Workbook and have access to a module website which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial and forum access.

You will need

A non-programmable calculator.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You’ll 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 eight online tutorials, each related to assessment and dedicated to specific questions in the tutor-marked assignments or exam, 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.

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 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2026.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)

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