Management Accounting, Financial Management and Organisational Control

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Wim Van Der Stede OLD 2.18

and others


This course is available on the BSc in Accounting and Finance, BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics, BSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, BSc in Economics and BSc in Statistics with Finance. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

Available to students on other undergraduate/Diploma programmes with the permission of the Accounting Departmental Tutor.


Students must have completed Elements of Accounting and Finance (AC100).

Course content

The course addresses contemporary issues in management accounting, financial management, and organisational control. It focuses on cutting-edge concerns in practice and research, and seeks to foster a critical understanding of both. The course consists of four modules, all of which are taught by faculty with specific expertise in the area. The exact composition of the course may vary from year to year, but issues which are typically addressed include financial controls, organisational structures, performance measurement and incentive systems, budgetary control and public-sector and non-profit financial management.

The Function of management control systems: The course starts with the study of the quintessential role of management control systems in decentralised organisations, with a focus on the measurement and evaluation of the performances of organisational entities and their managers. Focusing on financial control systems, this module analyses issues related to financial target setting (as part of organisations’ planning and budgeting processes), performance measurement and evaluation, and the assignment of various forms of organisational rewards, such as bonuses and promotions.

Accounting in non-governmental organisations: Many of the concepts from the first module are then studied in the context of NGOs, including measuring the performance and effectiveness of NGOs, the use of 'business-like' management control and financial management systems, the evaluation of programme efficiency and impact, the accountability to donors and beneficiaries, and the role of accounting in 'Northern' vs. 'Southern' NGOs.

Management accounting, budgets and behaviour: Also building on the first module, this module focuses on budgeting issues, the no-budgeting option, contingency theory, organisational participation, understanding how budgets impact people, and how people impact operations and capital budgets in organisations, through the lens of different organisational theories.

Accounting in the new public sector: The final module studies management accounting and financial management in the 'new public sector', including performance measurement, cost accounting, cost management and pricing; the roles of accounting controls in the health system reforms in the UK and elsewhere.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to present cases and produce written work for classes. Some of this work may be done in groups. Case studies will be used extensively. All students will be expected to contribute to class discussion.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists will be given out at the start of each part of the course. Illustrative references include: A Bhimani and M Bromwich, Management Accounting: Retrospect and Prospect, Elsevier/CIMA (2009); A Bhimani, Contemporary Issues in Management Accounting, OUP (2006); O Olson, J Guthrie & C Humphrey (Eds), Global Warning: Debating International Developments in New Public Financial Management, Cappelan Akademisk Forlag As, Oslo (1998); K Merchant & W Van der Stede, Management Control Systems: Performance Measurement, Evaluation and Incentives, FT/Prentice Hall (2012).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2012/13: 100

Average class size 2012/13: 20

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Commercial awareness