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Professional Accounting

Programme content and structure

The stage at which you join the programme is determined by the qualifications you hold.

For example if you have AAT Diploma in Accounting Level 3 or 280 UCAS points, you would normally enrol at Stage 1.

If you have already achieved some accountancy qualifications you may be able to join at a later stage. For example you have the ICAEW ACA Professional Stage you would join the programme at Stage 4

Stage 1

In Stage 1 you study for the AAT Diploma in Accounting Level 4.

Over 12 months, you will study four units:

  • Financial Accounting 1
  • Law
  • Management Accounting
  • Principles of Taxation

You’ll start to develop your skills in double entry bookkeeping, preparing final accounts for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies. You will also learn basic costing principles and progress to performing complex management accounting tasks and developing your own management skills. The Law unit covers, in a professional context, the impact of civil and criminal law on businesses and professional services. In the Principles of Taxation unit you will learn about both personal and business tax principles.


Stage 2

In Stage 2 you study for the ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB). *

Over 15 months you take four units:

  • Business Strategy
  • Financial Management
  • Business and Finance
  • Assurance

You will consider the business position from a strategic point of view, identify strategic choices available to organisations and how to implement strategy. You will also learn about financial options, managing financial risk and investment and financing decisions. The Business and Finance unit will provide an understanding of how businesses operate. You will also learn the concept, process and need for assurance and internal controls and how to gather evidence on an assurance engagement. Professional ethics is also covered as part of this Stage.

* To be awarded the CFAB qualification by the ICAEW students must also successfully pass an external ICAEW examination namely 'Accounting' or 'Financial Accounting and Reporting'


Stage 3

In Stage 3 you study for the BA (Hons) Professional Accounting and ICAEW ACA Professional Stage

Over 15 months, you take four units:

  • Audit and Assurance
  • Tax Compliance
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting
  • Business Planning: Taxation

Building on the knowledge and skills you acquired during Stage 2, you develop your understanding of application planning for tax purposes. You will learn about the accounting and reporting concepts and further aspects of consolidated financial statements.

You will also consider current issues in the reporting framework and the formulation of accounting and reporting policies. You will also learn tax compliance and business planning taxation.


Stage 4

Over 12 months, you take three units:

  • Corporate Reporting
  • Strategic Business Management
  • Case Study

This stage consists of the ICAEW ACA Advanced Stage papers. Two papers will enable you to demonstrate your knowledge and your planning and advisory skills. You will learn how to analyse and interpret internal and external financial and nonfinancial information. You will develop a multi-disciplinary approach and apply technical knowledge and professional judgement to business scenarios. This Stage will also involve compliance scenarios and commercial and practical advice. The Case Study unit will test your professional skills in the context of a specific business issue and will challenge you on multiple areas of the syllabus.

Following successful completion of Stage 4, you will have passed all levels of of the ICAEW qualification. In order to gain full membership of ICAEW, students are required to be in a formal training agreement with an authorised employer and complete at least 450 practical work experience days. As this is a requirement of membership set by ICAEW, you should refer to the ICAEW website for more detailed information.


Delivery and assessments


Since this is a partnership programme, there are assessments from AAT, ICAEW and Manchester Metropolitan University. All of the units are taught by Manchester Metropolitan University and all classes take place at the University.

However any ICAEW exams will be sat at an external venue.



The Business School is located in Manchester Metropolitan University All Saints Campus which is just off Oxford Road, Manchester.

For specific information about location, travel and car parking click here.


Download a copy of the Course Brochure