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Unit information: Contemporary Issues in Accounting in 2018/19

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Unit name Contemporary Issues in Accounting
Unit code EFIMM0033
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Mariano Scapin
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Accounting and Finance
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit covers a range of important contemporary issues and topics in financial accounting and management accounting. It is designed to develop students’ appreciation of important academic and regulatory debates, drawing on the empirical and theoretical accounting literature on the complexities and conceptual antecedents and consequences of the issues covered.

The aims of this unit are to build on the material that students will have covered in their undergraduate studies with a view to illustrating the major conceptual and technical accounting issues of the day. Such issues include, but are not confined to, the Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting, accounting for financial instruments, accounting for employee benefits, capital markets-based accounting research, theorising management control systems, controlling strategy and managing costs. The unit will consider the economic and social consequences of these issues and will discuss relevant contemporary accounting literature drawn from a variety of sources, based on both quantitative and qualitative research designs.

Intended learning outcomes

Having successfully completed this unit students should be able to:

  • Show an awareness of some of the main accounting issues faced by accounting researchers, businesses, accounting professionals and standard setters;
  • Appreciate some of the concepts and technical complexities underlying the issues studied in both financial and management accounting;
  • Discuss and critically evaluate the academic evidence on the contemporary issues covered in the unit;
  • Discuss the social and economic consequences of the issued covered, drawing on appropriate theoretical and empirical evidence.

Teaching details

25 contact hours split between lectures and classes (typically 18 hours of lectures and 7 hours of classes).

Assessment Details

The unit is assessed via a three-hour examination in January. The exam will require students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of contemporary issues in accounting. It will test student’s ability to interpret, critique and discuss academic literature and theory relevant to the issues raised. Students will be required to organise, analyse and present quantitative data. The exam will test the students’ ability to think critically and communicate effectively in writing under exam conditions.

Formative assessment will be undertaken through tutorials, where students will receive verbal and, occasionally, written feedback on their work. In addition to comments on their individual work, a 'model answer' will also be provided in order to inform students of what will be expected of them in the examination.

Reading and References

Students will be directed to a number of sources drawn principally from academic journals. The nature of the unit is that the material will not typically be covered by text books, so articles from the contemporary accounting literature will form the basis of the reading. Journals from which the readings will be drawn include Accounting and Business Research, Accounting Horizons, Accounting, Organizations and Society, The Accounting Review, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, European Accounting Review, Journal of Accounting and Economics, Journal of Accounting Research and Management Accounting Research.