HNC/HND Accounting

The HN Accounting qualifications are respected qualifications and provide candidates with the competences to meet the requirements of employers recruiting accounting staff. In addition they enable candidates to progress to further academic and professional qualifications either prior to taking up an accounting position or in parallel with it.

NextGen HNC Accounting pilot 2024-25

SQA recently highlighted in our newsletter - NextGen: HN News - that we are increasing pilot delivery for NextGen HNC Accounting for 2024-25. 

If you are interested in piloting HNC Accounting, please read our ‘pilot centre application information’ and complete the online form using the link in the document. The closing date for applications is Wednesday 24 January 2024

Subject information can be accessed on our NextGen: HN Digital Publishing site 

Stay up to date on NextGen: HN progress by visiting and reading our quarterly newsletter – NextGen: HN News

If you have any questions, please contact us by completing the form

Prior verification

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IFRS 16 Leases Guidance

Guidance - IFRS 16 Leases - August 2019 (79 KB)


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This subject will not have alternative assessment guidance for session 2023-24. You should refer to the Group Award/Unit specifications for detailed delivery and assessment information. For general support on delivery and assessment see the HNVQ assessment guidance 2023-24.

The HNC and HND Accounting Group Awards are based on standard accounting practice. They have up-to-date relevance and appeal for those seeking employment in the accounting sector.

The qualifications can be delivered flexibly to meet the needs of candidates ¿ eg through open or distance learning (as long as there is access to the appropriate software).

The HNC and HND qualifications in Accounting are designed for people who wish to take up a career in accounting and/or financial administration, or progress to further study. They are suitable both for employees and for those who are not yet employed in the sector.


Access will be at the discretion of the centre. Examples of appropriate formal entry qualifications are:

  • any two relevant National Courses at Higher together with three Standard Grade passes at level 3 or above
  • an SVQ Level 2 in Accounting or other relevant area
  • Units from previous HNC/HND Accounting frameworks
  • different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable, as would suitable vendor qualifications at an appropriate level

Candidates should have some prior knowledge of numeracy and communication, although formal qualifications may not be necessary if suitable experience had been gained informally or through work experience.

Mature candidates with suitable work experience may be accepted for entry provided the enrolling centre believes that they are likely to benefit from undertaking the award.

Progression and employment

The HNC is aimed at those employed, or wishing to become employed in roles such as accounts assistant, trainee accountant and financial administrator.

It is possible to progress from the HNC/HND Accounting to degree courses at various universities. Check with the relevant institutions before selecting optional Units.

With relevant options, the courses provide exemptions from examination papers for some professional accounting bodies, including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

What you'll learn

The HNC Accounting will give you skills and knowledge in financial accounting and cost accounting using manual and computerised methods, including:

  • preparing, analysing and reporting on financial data
  • practical IT skills using a range of software packages
  • integrate financial and costing data

During the course, you will develop study and research skills and interpersonal skills. You will also have the opportunity to develop the Core Skills of Communication, Numeracy, Information Technology, Problem Solving and Working with Others at SCQF Level 6.

The HND Accounting award is designed for those who wish to take up a career in accounting and/or financial administration within a range of business organisations.

You will develop the following skills: researching, evaluating and interpreting financial data; applying relevant legislation and accounting standards; providing information for decision making; integrating financial and management accounting with relevant business taxation.

Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

Ongoing internal course assessment will apply. Specific information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment are contained within each Unit.  

Candidates will also be assessed in relation to a Graded Unit/s towards the end of their programme. The purpose of the Graded Units is to assess the candidate¿s ability to retain and integrate the knowledge and skills gained in the mandatory Units; and to assess that the candidate has met the principal aims of the Group Award.

The Graded Units are:

  • Accounting: Graded Unit 1 - F8KE 34
  • Accounting: Graded Unit 2 - F8KF 35
  • Accounting: Graded Unit 3 - F8KG 35

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Network Event - March 2019

Update letter 2019

Network Event - February 2018

Update letter 2018

Update letter 2017

Mapping to AAT's Accounting Qualifications