The paper examines the performance of accounting and finance students entering university via a ‘widening participation’ scheme that seeks to attract students who have been historically under-represented in higher education. Focus is placed on the policy of providing contextual entry offers that recognise that academic qualifications be judged in the social context in which they were achieved. Accounting and finance recruits the highest proportion of ‘widening participation’ students at a UK ‘Russell Group’ university and provides a key arena for investigating widening participation policy. The study is based on a quantitative analysis of relative performance levels over 12 years and interview findings with 27 students. The quantitative results show that those receiving contextual offers perform at least as well at university level as students with equivalent entry qualifications, thereby supporting contextual entry offer policy. The paper also provides insights into why accounting and finance is popular with ‘widening participation’ students.