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

The emphasis during the first year is to master double- entry bookkeeping and to develop an understanding of how income statements and balance sheets are drawn up. This will enable you to consider how they can be used to analyse the performance of one business against another. In more detail, you will be studying two units. In Unit 1 (Introduction to Financial Accounting), you will be looking at: the purposes of accounting; accounting records – subsidiary books and ledger accounts; verification of accounting records; and income statements and balance sheets, including simple adjustments. In Unit 2 (Financial and Management Accounting), you will look at: types of business organisation; accounting concepts; further aspects of the preparation of the final accounts of sole traders; internal final accounts of limited companies; ratio analysis and the assessment of business performance; introduction to budgeting and budgetary control; and the impact of ICT in accounting.

Upper sixth

During the second year you will deepen your understanding. You will learn to draw up final accounts in situations where some of the information is missing and learn about partnerships and both private and public limited companies. This will involve analysing real current financial reports of PLCs. In more detail, in Unit 3 (Further Aspects of Financial Accounting) you will look at: sources of finance; incomplete records; partnership accounts; published accounts of limited companies; and stock valuation. In Unit 4 (Further Aspects of Management Accounting), you will look at: manufacturing costs; marginal, absorption and activity-based costing; standard costing and variance analysis; capital investment appraisal; further budgeting issues; and social accounting as a factor affecting decision making.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

An Accounting A Level is an effective way to build your financial skills and can lead on to a degree level accounting course. It is also an asset if you are looking to go straight into accounting jobs or any job that requires some knowledge of accountancy.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

No prior knowledge of business or accounting are needed. You need good numeracy skills and a logical and analytical mind.

How is the course assessed?

AS level

For the AS, you will have two exams on Units 1 and 2 respectively. In both papers, you will have four compulsory questions each carrying a variable number of marks and a variable number of sub-questions. Each paper lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and is worth 50% of the AS (25% of the A level).

A2 level

For the A2, the format is similar. You will have two exams on Units 3 and 4 respectively and in both papers, you will have four compulsory questions each carrying a variable number of marks and a variable number of sub-questions. Each paper lasts 2 hours and is worth 50% of the A2 (25% of the A level).

Reading

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 1121, A2: AQA 2121 (legacy)

Sarah Ratcliffe
Head of Department