A Level Accounting


What is it about at sixth-form level?

Accountancy is often described as “the language of business”. It is an ancient art whose history is intertwined with the development of numeracy and writing. Records of trade and debts stretch back many thousands of years, as accountants were needed even in the earliest civilisations to maintain the well-being of the people.

A level Accounting helps you to develop knowledge and understanding of the purposes of accounting and to apply this to a variety of accounting problems. It is an introduction to the principles of accounting that are applied worldwide, teaching you to understand the fundamentals, the breakdown of financial statements and the interpretation of changes to them.

Lower sixth

In your first year, you study the double entry model and accounting principles and concepts as these form a foundation of the financial accounting techniques. This will progress to the preparation of income statements and statement of financial position of both unincorporated and internal statements of incorporated businesses. You will acquire knowledge of formulae used for computations and also carry out computations to use the results to make judgements, solve problems and make decisions. You will further develop your ability to write effectively so that you report, making logical arguments and providing sound judgements, taking account of financial and non-financial matters. You will study management accounting as a means of planning and decision making. This will include an appreciation of the benefits and limitations of budgeting and budgetary control.

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will develop their understanding of financial accounting techniques which can be applied where a business does not maintain a complete accounting system. You will also develop an understanding of partnership and study accounting for limited companies. There will also be a study of the issues of share capital and the requirement to publish accounts. You will focus on the use of marginal costing in decision making together with standard costing and variance analysis. You will then learn about the use of absorption and activity based costing as well as capital investment appraisal and you will develop an understanding of how accounting techniques, measures and ratios are used. Finally, you will consider how principles of ethical behaviour impact the practices of accounting professionals and organisations.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

An A level in Accounting is an excellent foundation for further study of accountancy at pre- professional and professional level. This subject will enable you to develop a capacity for methodical and critical thought. This serves as an end in itself, as well as a basis for further study of accounting and other subjects.

Accounting fits in very well with a variety of business-related fields – management, Finance, Business Studies itself and Economics. This subject brings an appreciation of the effects of economic, legal, ethical, social, environmental and technological influences on accounting decisions. A level Accounting develops transferable skills of numeracy, communication, interpretation and presentation in an accounting context.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

For the study of A level Accounting, you should have at least a grade C in GCSE mathematics, be confident in your addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills and generally enjoy working with numbers. You will not need to write essays but will be required to write about your interpretation of calculations, often in a report or memorandum. Approximately 25% of the exams marks are for written content.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

The AS level is examined in a single 3-hour paper which is worth a total of 120 marks. Topics covered include the double entry model, accounting records, sole trader financial statements, limited company accounts, budgeting and marginal costing. These areas are tested in three parts of the exam: Section A has 10 multiple choice and short answer questions and is worth 25 marks; Section B has four structured questions and carries 55 marks; and Section C has two extended questions and is worth 40 marks.

A level

The A level is examined in two separate papers. Paper 1 covers the same topics as the AS level examination and is also 3 hours in length and worth 120 marks in total. However these marks are distributed differently at A level: Section A is worth 30 marks; Section B carries 40 marks; and Section C is worth 50 marks. Paper 2 is structured in exactly the same manner, being 3 hours in length and worth 120 marks in total, distributed over Sections A, B and C identically to Paper 1. However, Paper 2 focuses on the more advanced topics and accounting practices covered in the second half of the A level course. Papers 1 and 2 are equally weighted at 50% of the A level.


Due to the recent accreditation of this specification (at the time of going to press), more up-to-date texts will be added as these become available.

AS Accounting for AQA 2nd Edition
By D. Cox & M. Fardon
Published by Osborne Books, ISBN 978-1905777143

A2 Accounting for AQA
By D. Cox & M. Fardon
Published by Osborne Books, ISBN 978-1905777174

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: AQA 7126, A level: AQA 7127


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Warwick University (Chemistry)

“I have definitely made the right decision to come to MPW - my grades have gone from averaging Es to straight As. Teaching at MPW is much more personal and I felt like talking to teachers. They are very good and give you lots of support if you do not understand something. My Personal Tutor took me through the UCAS process step by step. We went through my Personal Statement many times to make sure it was completely perfect. I am very excited about my firm choice.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Nottingham University (Philosophy)

As a dyslexic student who initially got CCEE for my AS, I was convinced that I could not achieve any higher. My time at MPW proved me wrong. Initially I was reluctant to move from my local school in York to a college so far away from home, my parents, and friends. At the end of my first year I was overjoyed to find that many hours of hard work and renewed revision techniques had resulted in me achieving three A's in my subjects. I wanted to continue at A2 as I knew it would greatly improve my university prospects and encourage me to work even harder. After two fantastic years at MPW I can emphatically say that going to MPW was the best decision I ever made. 


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”