Our Accounting and Finance MSc provides you with an advanced understanding of financial management and the practical expertise to apply this in the real world. You will explore theories and cutting-edge finance techniques in the context of global business and develop the necessary skills and knowledge in line with financial reporting and the international accounting standards.

Cranfield School of Management consistently performs well in international business rankings. We are top 10 in the UK and 34th in Europe in the Financial Times European Business School 2021 Rankings.

Overview

  • Start date25 September 2023
  • Duration1 year
  • DeliveryTaught modules 60%, dissertation 40%
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typeFull-time
  • CampusCranfield campus

Who is it for?

  • Graduates with a desire to develop a career in accounting and finance such as financial controller, accounting manager, business consultant and finance experts.
  • Professionals who may be considering a career change or new graduates looking to advance their skills in accounting and finance.

Why this course?

  • Cranfield School of Management consistently performs well in international business rankings. We are top 10 in the UK and 34th in Europe in the Financial Times European Business School 2021 Rankings.
  • This course will prepare you for the world of employment as well as career development opportunities in accounting and finance.
  • You will learn to apply a range of advanced accounting skills to the practice of financial reporting from a global perspective.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of finance function practice and the changing external context in which it operates.
  • You will have an opportunity to undertake academically rigorous independent research and enhance your ability to communicate ideas, arguments, and research findings effectively in written form.
  • You will be taught by faculty with experience of the real world of finance and accounting, as well as having the opportunity to listen to guest speakers.
  • You will have the opportunity to study within a truly international environment, with students and academics coming from over 50 countries.

Informed by Industry

An external advisory panel informs the design and development of the course, and comprises senior finance practitioners, reinforcing its relevance to the modern financial world. Our faculty are also supported by a team of international visiting industry speakers and professors who bring the latest thinking and best practice into the classroom.

Course details

The course comprises 11 core modules and two elective modules (choice out of four). This enables you to tailor the programme of study to suit your personal career plan.

Throughout the course you will have access to a highly effective infrastructure including Bloomberg live financial news and data terminal, BOARDEX, Capital IQ, CRSP, Datastream, EIKON, EBSCO, FACTIVA, FAME, Financial Times, ORBIS Bank Focus, ProQuest, Science Direct, SDC Platinum and Thomson One resources. You will use real-world, international case studies to support your learning. The culmination of the learning process is your opportunity to undertake research for your individual thesis.

Course delivery

Taught modules 60%, dissertation 40%

Dissertation

You will undertake research for your individual thesis, enabling you to apply the knowledge and skills you have learnt during the course. This provides the opportunity to work in an original way.

Course modules

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course.

Corporate Finance

Module Leader
  • Professor Yacine Belghitar
Aim

    This core module provides a foundation in the essentials of corporate financial management. The course focuses on three principal aspects of corporate finance: the investment decision; the cost of capital; and the financing and payout decisions. Based on recent theoretical and empirical developments, the course explores the framework in which corporations make their financial and investment decisions.

Syllabus
    • The Objective Function for Corporations
    • Corporate Governance
    • Making Investment Decisions with the NPV Rule
    • Valuing Bonds and Common Stocks
    • Introduction to Risk and Return
    • Portfolio Theory and the CAPM
    • How Corporations Issue Securities
    • Capital Structure
    • Payout Policy
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Evaluate the impact of the separation of corporate ownership, management and control.
  2. Appreciate and incorporate risk in project appraisal and investment.
  3. Estimate and evaluate the capital structure and dividend policy of the company.
  4. Understand and appreciate the complexity and contradictions of the current academic literature in financial management and its implications for professional practice.

Financial Data Analysis

Module Leader
  • Dr Nemanja Radic
Aim

    This core module aims to provide the relevant mathematical and statistical training necessary to be able to conduct appropriate empirical studies and apply theoretical financial models in practice. Specific aims include hypotheses testing & statistical inference, developing simple models, summarising data and findings, and making supportable conclusions.

Syllabus
    • Collecting data using databases.
    • Sampling and estimation.
    • Hypothesis testing.
    • Descriptive statistics.
    • Statistical tests.
    • Theory and implementation.
    • Regression analysis – theory and implementation.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the nature and scope of research in accounting and finance.
  2. Assess the facilities available for conducting literature searches and obtain relevant data to facilitate empirical investigation.
  3. Assess various population parameters and their point and interval estimates.
  4. Formulate null and alternate hypotheses, and to conduct a test of hypothesis about a population mean as well as a population proportion.
  5. Critically assess and apply a variety of statistical techniques for data analysis (i.e., regression analysis).

Financial Accounting

Module Leader
  • Dr Matthias Nnadi
Aim

    To introduce the fundamental accounting principles and their application to business organisations. The module relates to the measurement and recording of activities and financial transactions of a business. It provides a solid grounding in preparation of financial statements, and the interpretation and analysis of financial reports.

Syllabus
    • Core accounting principles and conventions.
    • Accounting cycle and financial statements.
    • Interpretation and analysis of financial statements.
    • Regulatory framework and the annual report.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Evaluate and apply the principles underpinning the financial accounting.
  2. Critically discuss the financial statements for a variety of business organisations.
  3. Calculate and interpret ratios using information in the financial statements.
  4. Critically examine different aspects of regulatory framework surrounding published annual reports.

International Financial Markets and Ethics

Module Leader
  • Dr Nemanja Radic
Aim

    Part I of this module aims to provide an overview of the nature and operation of international financial markets and their traded instruments. Students are introduced to the organisation of the international financial system, the markets for foreign exchanges, stocks, bonds, commodities and derivatives, and the risks and opportunities offered in these markets and systems.

    The role of regulation and ethics will be highlighted and examined in Part II. This will include the aims and structures of regulation and will also provide topical focus on the role and limitations of ethics in financial markets, ethical decision-making frameworks, and cases of lapses in culture and impact upon society and the markets.

Syllabus
    • The organisation of the international financial system.
    • International banking and Eurocurrency market.
    • International foreign exchange markets.
    • International debt markets.
    • International equity markets.
    • International commodity markets and futures.
    • Current issues and research topics in context of: 1) ethics and regulation/or risk taking, 2) regulation and corporate governance, and 3) the role of governance within an ESG Framework.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the organisation of the international financial system.
  2. Describe the organisation, structure, and instruments of international financial and commodity markets.
  3. Evaluate roles of the markets in domestic and global economy and discuss the risks and opportunities related to the international financial markets.
  4. Assess and justify the potential for ethical behaviour and improved conduct to fill the void where law and regulations fail to succeed.
  5. Identify and evaluate the role that corporate governance can play in determining the access to or cost of capital for firms and their performance.

Strategic Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Will Lewis
Aim

    Strategic Management is concerned with the direction and scope of the organisation.  This involves determining the purpose of the organisation, establishing objectives and formulating strategies to achieve the objectives. It predominantly explores how an organisation positions itself with regard to its changing environment, and in particular its competitors, in order to gain and sustain competitive advantage. This means that strategic management considers how an organisation’s internal resources and capabilities can be developed to meet the changing demands of customers, in such a way as to achieve the expectations and objectives of its stakeholders. 

    An introduction to the Strategic Management module

    Imran Zawrar

Syllabus

    The module begins by focusing on strategy at the strategic business unit level. It is orientated around five key questions

    1) where to compete?

    2) how to gain competitive advantage?

    3) what capabilities are required?

    4) what capabilities do we have?

    5) how do we change?

    The module then explores corporate level strategy and the issue of strategy implementation and change. Throughout the module a range of tools and techniques for strategic analysis and choice will be introduced.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  • Identify the key questions and associated challenges to be addressed in formulating an organisation’s competitive and corporate-level strategies.
  • Evaluate how an organisation sustains competitive advantage though harnessing its internal resources and capabilities and reacting appropriately to changes in its external environment.
  • Appraise and differentiate between corporate, competitive (business unit) and functional strategies.
  • Critically apply a range of tools and techniques to illuminate the key questions of competitive strategy and corporate strategy.

Global Business Environment

Module Leader
  • Professor Constantinos Alexiou
Aim

    As the world of business becomes more competitive, more dynamic, and more global, there is a growing and indeed urgent need for businesses to be critically aware of the events taking place in their wider economic environment. Businesses cannot afford to ignore the importance of changes in the external economic conditions under which commerce and business must take place.

    In the context of free market economy, it is imperative that students be aware of the Global Business Environment within which financial institutions operate. Recognising the importance of the external economy on business decision-making is one thing but responding to it is quite a different matter. To be able to reach sound business decisions in a dynamic economy requires all economic agents to have a clear understanding of economic interrelationships and their impact upon business.

Syllabus

    The initial sessions will be focused on how the economy works and the economic objectives of governments. We will then move onto how governments manage the economy, emphasis throughout this module is on the real world - theory is included only as an aid to developing a deeper and clearer understanding of the practical problems and policy challenges facing governments and nations.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Evaluate the importance of the global business environment for businesses.
  2. Critically assess the drivers of economic activity and global growth.
  3. Appraise the potential for trade-offs with respect to economic objectives and economic management.
  4. Evaluate the policies used by governments and central banks i.e., both demand-side and supply-side policies.
  5. Assess and effectively discuss real world problems that relate to global financial markets.

Business Valuation

Module Leader
  • Dr Vineet Agarwal
Aim

    To develop a good understanding of the techniques of valuation of businesses as well as the different securities issued by them, this is vital for various stakeholders including managers, investors, governments, and regulators. This understanding has a bearing on both financing decisions (issue of equity or debt) and investment decisions (identifying firm value for acquisitions, divestitures etc.). This module provides the framework for valuing businesses as well as financial modelling to aid decision making.

Syllabus
    • Analysis of accounting and financial information of a business.
    • Computing the cost of capital using CAPM.
    • Forecasting equity and firm level cash flows.
    • Application of discounted cash flow methods.
    • Application of market multiples.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Build valuation models and scenarios in Excel.
  2. Critically discuss the basic principles of corporate valuation.
  3. Estimate the discount rates and understand their limitations.
  4. Assess multiples-based valuation methods.
  5. Critically assess assumptions and limitations of different valuation techniques.

Small Business Finance

Module Leader
  • Professor Andrea Moro
Aim

    This module focuses on financing issues faced by small business ventures firms. It explores the issues from the perspective of the small and medium firm, the investors, and the providers of debt finance. The module aims to provide students with awareness and understanding of the risk incurred by investing in a small and medium firm. It allows for an examination and evaluation of alternative financing strategies that small and medium ventures can pursue by exploring different financial tools.

Syllabus
    • Overview of the entrepreneurial venture and its peculiarities.
    • Exploration of equity funding (entrepreneur’s finance, bootstrap finance, business angels, venture capital, etc.)
    • Exploration of debt finance (trade credit, short term finance, factoring, long term finance, leasing).
    • Examination of evolution of financial needs with growth and exit strategies.
    • Examination of innovative form of finance.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Critically discuss the peculiarities of small and medium ventures and how they affect entrepreneurs’, investors’, and banks’ decision about financing.
  2. Appreciate the critical role that traditional financing tools play in new venture creation (in terms of start-up survival and firm’s growth).
  3. Formulate a deal structure for an entrepreneurial venture.
  4. Critically assess different investment harvesting alternatives.

International Financial Reporting

Module Leader
  • Dr Matthias Nnadi
Aim

    The module builds on the introductory concepts developed in the Financial Accounting module. This module aims to equip students with advanced financial accounting techniques to prepare financial statements of listed companies in compliance with the requirements of the International Accounting Standards.

Syllabus
    • Regulatory and conceptual framework of financial reporting.
    • Accounting for assets and liabilities.
    • Reporting of financial performance.
    • Group accounts and business combinations.
    • Sustainability reporting and accounting for climate change.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge and critically discuss the theoretical framework and principles of financial reporting in a global context.
  2. Evaluate the application of International Financial Reporting Standards to the disclosure of specific assets and liabilities.
  3. Critically prepare financial statements of a listed company in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards.
  4. Apply the International Financial Reporting Standards to group accounts and business combinations.
  5. Evaluate innovations in financial reporting including integrated reports, sustainability reporting and accounting disclosure for climate change.

Strategic Management Accounting

Module Leader
  • Dr Matthias Nnadi
Aim

    This module is designed to develop knowledge and skills that will enable you to apply management accounting techniques to support the strategic and operational decision making. The module focuses on the management and cost accounting fundamentals and the application of management accounting tools for planning, decision making, control and performance evaluation.

Syllabus
    • Cost concepts and costing techniques.
    • Cost-Volume-Profit analysis & relevant costing.
    • Theory and practice of pricing.
    • Budgeting and variance analysis.
    • Performance measurement and analysis.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of fundamental cost and management accounting concepts.
  2. Devise and apply different types of revenue and cost analysis for supporting operational and strategic decisions.
  3. Critically design and prepare budgets and perform variance analysis for strategic planning and control.
  4. Apply and evaluate various performance measurement and management tools in strategic management context.

Research Methods

Module Leader
  • Dr Vineet Agarwal
Aim

    This module is designed to provide participants with the required skills for structuring their research projects including conceptualising research questions and writing literature reviews. It introduces the need for and validity of empirical models and imparts a greater understanding of the empirical methods in accounting and finance. The module helps develop important skills in the assessment, analysis and interpretation of published research in accounting and finance.

    Given the huge number of alternative research designs and analytical techniques in this area, the participants should only expect to be given an overview of the principal methods and techniques. The module will equip the participants with the skills to find additional resources to help them gain a working knowledge of these methods and techniques.

Syllabus
    • The nature and purpose of research for an MSc thesis.
    • Developing a research proposal.
    • Conducting the literature review.
    • Introduction to databases and data collection.
    • Common analytical techniques including event studies and dealing with endogeneity.
    • Structuring a thesis.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Conceptualise research questions.
  2. Identify and critically evaluate relevant literature.
  3. Critically assess and apply the most suitable research design to address the particular research questions.
  4. Understand the limitations of empirical methods and draw robust conclusions from empirical studies.
  5. Conduct empirical research and evaluate the results of the analysis.

Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Private Equity

Module Leader
  • Dr Wasim Ahmad
Aim

    Private equity differs from public equity, which is generally the focus in corporate finance. Private equity has become a major source of capital for innovation, growth and corporate restructuring. To succeed as a PE professional, one needs to embrace and tackle various challenges relating to the financing of the company, its operations and the entrepreneurial and uncertain nature of business venturing. The module will cover the nature of and rationale for PE investing, the spectrum of PE activities and the potential conflicts among stakeholders. Another focus will be on value creation programmes to generate PE fund returns.

Syllabus
    • The PEQ cycle, from fund raising to investing and exiting.
    • Strategies to create firm value in private equity: due diligence, operational concept, exit strategies.
    • Measures to align interests among stakeholders in PE.
    • Consider the ethical implications of the PE model.
Intended learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, a student will be able to:

  1. Discuss the idiosyncrasies of PE investments from the perspective of investors in this asset class.
  2. Assess and contrast the various types of PE investment: venture capital, buyouts, restructuring, etc.
  3. Propose and justify practical measures through which private equity firms can enhance the value of their portfolio companies.
  4. Design a due diligence programme to critically assess the risks involved in a particular proposed PE transaction.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Restructuring

Module Leader
  • Professor Yacine Belghitar
  • Professor Andrea Moro
Aim

    The module focuses on transactions significantly affecting the corporation’s assets, liabilities and/or equity claims and stresses the economic motives for undertaking them. Transactions are examined from the perspective of the corporation (e.g., firm managers), from the perspective of capital markets (e.g., investors, stockholders, creditors) as well as from the perspective of the society. The module integrates various technical skills learned earlier in the MSc programme such as accounting, corporate finance and strategy.

Syllabus
    • Theoretical rationale of mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring.
    • The range of restructuring choices.
    • Strategies for takeover, merger, corporate turnaround, and corporate renewal.
    • Corporate insolvency and reorganisation – insolvency and bankruptcy regimes in the UK, US, Continental Europe and other countries.
    • The role of competition and shareholder protection regulation in the mergers, acquisition and restructuring.
    • Financing strategies and tools.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Assess the financial, strategic and political causes and motivations driving mergers, acquisitions and restructuring transactions.
  2. Evaluate the regulations on competition and shareholders’ protection and their impact on mergers and acquisitions.
  3. Assess the financial consequences of restructuring for various stakeholders such as different types of lenders, shareholders, the board of directors and managers and how they generate conflicts of interests among them.
  4. Justify and apply alternative valuation techniques to assess a deal.
  5. Examine and assess the strategic and managerial implications of methods of payment and the criteria for successful restructuring and re-organization of firms in bankruptcy/ administration.

International Public Finance and Taxation

Module Leader
  • Dr Matthias Nnadi
Aim

    This module aims to train students in both theory and applications in the field of public finance and taxation. The purpose of the module is to understand the role of the government through expenditure and taxation, as well as develop an idea on topics such as externalities and the political economy. It will expose students to frontier research on the theory behind the design of various public policies relating to the spending, taxing, and financing activities of Government. The module addresses the fundamental questions of how decisions should be made; whether tasks should be financed through the public sector or the private sector budgets? It therefore deals with public goods, and policies with respect to external effects.

Syllabus
    • The public sector context.
    • What is public sector finance and how does it differ from that in the private sector?
    • Sources and control of finance in the Public Sector.
    • Choice of government financing systems.
    • Purposes and principles of taxation.
    • Public budgeting at state and local levels of government.
    • Financial Management Techniques Budget preparation and analysis.
    • Budgets, managing budgets, estimating, budgetary control.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Critically discuss the principles of taxation and its application in public sector.
  2. Apply the range of methods available for financing the public sector.
  3. Identify sources of finance, develop, and manage budgets in public and/or private sector contexts.
  4. Critically examine budgeting in a public service environment.
  5. Evaluate the relationships between costs and performance; and the rationale for charging for public services.

International Finance

Module Leader
  • Dr Matthias Nnadi
Aim

    This module aims to develop a solid understanding of foreign exchange and interest rate risks that multinational corporations encounter. The focus is on developing insights on how and why these risks arise and what can be done to manage these risks. The other aim is to provide students with commonly used applications of derivatives in managing exchange rate and interest rate risks.

Syllabus
    • Introduce students to the world of foreign exchange markets, how exchange rates are quoted and interpreted and what role FOREX markets play in the international finance.
    • Discuss why and how multinational corporations invest in foreign markets. The key determinants of Direct Foreign Investments (DFI) are explored in detail.
    • Discussion of underlying theoretical models which explain the relationship between interest rates, inflation, and other macro-economic variables and the exchange rates. How forward rates are determined in the market and why covered interest rate arbitrage and carry trades occur and how they are used by investors to exploit disequilibrium in the foreign exchange rates.
    • Discussion of basics of currency derivatives and how they work, and the different types of foreign exchange exposures and how they affect market value. How transaction and operating exposure are managed by both internal hedging techniques and derivatives are discussed in detail using case studies.
    • How interest rate risks arise and how it affects multinational corporations is followed by how these risks are managed. Students learn about interest rate and currency swaps, how they are set up and how they are valued. The final sessions are used for discussion of international capital budgeting process, how it is done and how key risks need to be considered and managed.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

  1. Discuss relationship between interest rates, inflation and purchasing power parity and exchange rate.
  2. Identify and contrast different types of foreign exchange exposures.
  3. Analyse and predict interest rate and exchange risks.
  4. Select and apply different types of derivatives for managing interest rate and exchange risks.
  5. Evaluate the issues for multinational firms in their international capital budgeting decisions.

Modules

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff. As a result, they may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed above the compulsory and elective (where applicable) modules which are currently affiliated with this course. All modules are indicative only, and may be subject to change for your year of entry.




Accreditation

Students who successfully complete the Cranfield Accounting and Finance MSc can join CIMA via the Master’s gateway route. Upon successfully completing the MSc in Accounting and Finance, students can register with CIMA to take an online case study exam in order to obtain the CIMA Advanced Diploma in Management Accounting (CIMA Adv Dip MA).

AICPA and CIMA logos

Your career

The Careers and Employability Service offers a comprehensive service to help you develop a set of career management skills that will remain with you throughout your career.

During your course you will receive support and guidance to help you plan an effective strategy for your personal and professional development, whether you are looking to secure your first accounting and finance role or wanting to take your career to the next level.

Cranfield graduates are highly valued in the job market and aim for careers in investment banking, financial services or the financial function of a diverse range of global corporations.

Our finance graduates have secured jobs with organisations including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Barclays Investment Bank, Bloomberg, Bank Indonesia, Lloyds Banking Group, Credit Agricole, Diageo, Ernst & Young, Thomson Reuters, Toyota, UBS and Morgan Stanley. Their roles have included Data Analyst, Financial Planner, Consultant, Private Equity Analyst and Financial Risk Manager.

How to apply

Our students do not always fit traditional academic or career paths. We consider this to be a positive aspect of diversity, not a hurdle. We are looking for a body of professional learners who have a wide range of experiences to share. If you are unsure of your suitability for our Accounting and Finance MSc programme we are happy to review your details and give you feedback before you make a formal application.

To apply you will need to register to use our online system. Once you have set up an account you will be able to create, save and amend your application form before submitting it.

Application deadlines

There is a high demand for places on our courses and we recommend you submit your application as early as possible.

Entry for September 2023

  • Applications are now open for all students for 2023/24 entry.

Once your online application has been submitted together with your supporting documentation, it will be processed by our admissions team. You will then be advised by email if you are successful, unsuccessful, or whether the course director would like to interview you before a decision is made. Applicants based outside of the UK may be interviewed either by telephone or video conference.

Read our Application Guide for a step-by-step explanation of the application process from pre-application through to joining us at Cranfield.