AC415      Half Unit
Management Accounting for Decision Making

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Bjorn Jorgensen Old 2.17


This course is available on the MPhil/PhD in Accounting, MSc in Accounting and Finance, MSc in Accounting, Organisations and Institutions, MSc in Law and Accounting, MSc in Management, MSc in Management (CEMS MIM) and MSc in Management, Organisations and Governance. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course cannot be taken concurrently with AC490 Management Accounting, Decisions and Control.

Other students may be admitted only with the agreement, in writing, of the MSc (Accounting) Course Tutor if they have sufficient relevant background knowledge.

The course is capped to two sections of around 55 students; ie, 110 total. Students on the waiting list will be admitted on a first-come first-served basis, although MSc students on the Accounting programmes will be given priority.

Course content

This course is focused on management accounting, which is a key function in organisations that involves developing and using financial and non-financial information to support decision making, not only in a technical sense, but bearing in mind that the way in which management accounting systems are designed and implemented often determines whether employees will be motivated to act in ways that are congruent with the objectives of the organisation.

The discipline of management accounting is often partitioned into (1) cost and management accounting systems and (2) management control systems, where the latter is the key focus of another course, AC411. AC415 can, but is not required to, be taken with AC411. Students can take AC411 or AC415, or both.

Returning to AC415, while financial accounting requires that product cost information be accumulated in particular ways for external reporting, the focus in AC415 is on cost and other accounting and non-accounting information systems that aid managerial decision making. This includes the study of management accounting systems in widespread use today as well as an analysis of the problems associated with these systems in today’s business environment (such as their tendency to provide distorted product cost information), as well as approaches to mitigate these problems (eg, activity-based costing; use of non-financial information).

With the above brief overview in mind, this course analyses key concepts which form the discipline of management accounting:

- Product costing and pricing

- Activity-based costing/management (ABC/ABM)

- Profitability and variance analysis

- Transfer pricing including tax considerations for international transactions

- Performance measurement and incentive compensation systems

- ROI, EVA, and other performance metrics


33 hours of seminars in the LT.

That is, AC415 is delivered in two sessions of 1.5 hours each week. Each session is conducted in groups of circa 55 students and is almost exclusively taught by way of the case method of instruction. Case studies permit the exploration of management accounting issues in a broad range of settings. The case method of instruction, however, requires good advance preparation by the students, and every person should be ready to contribute to the case discussion when called upon. Students should expect to be "cold called" and not count on being able to hide behind classmates who volunteer to participate.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to come to each session prepared having done the assigned readings and having prepared the assigned cases.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list is laid out for each session on the syllabus.

Reference textbook: Horngen, Sundem, Burgstahler, and Schatzberg, Introduction to Management Accounting, 16e (Prentice Hall, 2014).


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in ST

Case Assignment (10%) during LT

Project (15%) during LT

Thus, students are required to complete two assignments during term time (totalling 25% of the mark for the course) and a final exam (75%).

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2014/15: Unavailable

Average class size 2014/15: Unavailable

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills