Making accounting and financial management accessible to all
Is a lack of financial experience holding you back from the next step in your career? Do you worry you can’t talk with confidence about figures and funding? While not everything is driven by the bottom line, almost any senior manager in modern business is expected to be able to contribute to discussions on budgeting and finance. Associate Professor Barry McCarthy leads a new MSc in Accounting and Financial Management that aims to take the fear out of figures for non-finance professionals.
The University of London, in partnership with Member Institution, UCL, offers an innovative MSc in Accounting and Financial Management. The flexible, online programme is aimed at almost anyone who wants to increase their understanding and develop their skills in core finance subjects – from accounting frameworks and analysing risk, to corporate governance and investment management.
Students gain a much deeper knowledge of finance and accounting and are therefore able to make meaningful contributions to decision-making at the highest level of their organisation.”
Professor McCarthy has more than 20 years’ experience teaching Higher Education programmes in accounting and finance. As Programme Director for the new MSc Accounting and Financial Management, he explained why he describes this programme as “accounting for non-accountants”.
“The aim of our programme is to equip non-financially trained people with the skills and understanding they need to be able to have important financial conversations at both middle and senior management levels. It isn’t for people who already have an accounting qualification and our students aren’t likely to be looking for a new career in accountancy either. But with this master’s they will gain a much deeper knowledge of finance and accounting and therefore be able to make meaningful contributions to decision-making at the highest level of their organisation.”
While women now occupy nearly 40% of boardroom roles in FTSE100 companies, more than three times the rate 10 years ago, only eight FTSE100 CEOs are women, and equality charities argue there is still significant under-representation of key minority groups, including women of colour and disabled women.
We have such great diversity amongst our students which means we’re playing a small part in building a more diverse management pipeline for the future.
Professor McCarthy believes programmes like the MSc Accounting and Financial Management have a role to play in contributing to more diverse business leadership in the future.
“Our programme is fully online and open to a global audience and we encourage and embrace the huge diversity of our students. We’re seeing applicants in their 20s who have just completed an undergraduate degree, as well as those in their 50s and 60s who have been working for many years but now want to gain the formal qualification to back up that experience. Whatever their background, our programme equips students with the core critical thinking skills they need for any management position they aspire to.
“On-campus programmes can be much harder for working people, those with children or caring responsibilities, to fit into their busy working lives. The fact that our programme is so accessible – you can study in your own time and at your own pace – and we have such great diversity means we’re playing a small part in building a more diverse management pipeline for the future.”
In addition to the University of London’s Virtual Learning Environment and online library, students are also able to take advantage of Icarus, an award-winning simulation developed by UCL School of Management academics, as an experiential learning tool in the Capstone project.
“The Icarus airport project is popular because it allows students to put into practice all they’ve learned throughout the programme, and see what it’s really like to make those business-critical decisions as they try to turn around a struggling airport. The gamification incentivises them because it’s competitive, which is no bad thing, and it’s a useful way for them to learn that there isn’t always one right answer – there can be two successful airports run in completely different ways.”
The aim of this programme isn’t to show you how to generate the figures, but to help you understand what to do with them.
While accessibility is at the heart of the programme, master’s level study requires commitment and self-discipline.
“Self-motivation and time management are key to success on the MSc,” commented Professor McCarthy. And what advice does he have for anyone considering the programme? “Don’t be scared, come and have a go.”
“People have a perception of accounting and financial management that it’s all about numbers and maths and therefore it’s scary. It isn’t,” he said. “For the majority of this course if you can use the four basic functions on your calculator you have pretty much all the skills you’ll need. The aim of this programme isn’t to show you how to generate the figures, but to help you understand what to do with them.”
Discover how the MSc in Accounting and Financial Management could help propel your career up the management ladder.