Could you please describe yourself in a few sentences?
My name is Philip McDonald. I work here at the University of Westminster. I came from Ireland originally and came over to London to find work and train as an accountant. I am qualified ACCA – that’s the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants – and after gaining experience in practice, banking, commerce, I moved into education and I’ve now been working as a lecturer for the past twenty years: ten of those at the University of Westminster.
Which area of academia are you most passionate about and why?
The main areas that I teach are management accounting and corporate finance/financial strategy. I like management accounting as opposed to financial accounting, not that I’m putting down the financial accountants, but I think that management accounting is much more interesting from the point of view you’re helping to inform decision-making and it is the decisions made that will result in the profits that are reported by the financial accountant. Then on the other side of things you’ve got to have any decisions that are going to be taken on finance somehow so the other area as I say is corporate finance and that looks at all the different ways that you can finance projects for instance. One of things I really like is economics as well and economics feeds into both areas and I’d put it like this: that it’s a jigsaw and you need all the different parts of the jigsaw to make sense, to get the overall picture. And the two might not seem to be related initially – management accounting and corporate finance – but essentially they’re very interlinked.
Can you please tell us a bit about your course?
The Finance and Accounting MSc was developed about ten years ago, using my experience form the world of accounting to bring together the skills that are required by a professional accountant, but also with using what already existed in the university, which were the skills of how to become a financial professional. We combined these two skill areas to form the MSc, Finance and Accounting course. Students who do this course will be able to claim exemptions from all the accountancy bodies. However we have a special link with the ACCA and students who decide to go down the ACCA path will automatically, on graduation, be able to claim seven exemptions from the ACCA exams. In London we are the only university that offer that number of exemptions after one year of study. Our nearest competitor, the London School of Economics, allows its students to claim four exemptions. Separately, we have a comparable arrangement with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) route. If you follow this path you will have the opportunity of doing a “Gateway” exam. The successful completion of this exam will allow you to claim 12 exemptions from CIMA professional examinations.
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