Not available in 2019/20
AC331      Half Unit
Contemporary Issues in Financial Reporting

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible



This course is compulsory on the BSc in Accounting and Finance. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Students must have completed Elements of Accounting and Finance (AC100) or Elements of Financial Accounting (AC102). Accounting Theory and Practice (AC200) is recommended to complement either AC100 or AC102, but not required.

Course content

AC331 considers the impact of political, technological, social, and ethical influences on corporate financial reporting and accounting regulation, in both national and international contexts. Specifically, the course critically analyses the processes and politics of accounting standard-setting, the concept of fair value accounting, how corporations report their provision of pension for employees, issues of income-smoothing and manipulation of corporate financial statements, the reporting of financial instruments, off-balance-sheet accounting, segmental reporting, and issues in foreign-currency translations. However, the exact composition of the topics may vary from year to year driven by the latest developments in financial reporting, standard-setting and related debates.

The course aims to enhance students’ understanding of contemporary issues in financial accounting and regulation, looking at some of the major contexts, such as business entities, key economic and political institutions, and society, in which financial reporting plays a quintessential role. Throughout the course, taken-for-granted “wisdoms” will be critically evaluated and challenged. As future accountants, managers, directors, regulators or in any other role that is affected by the universal presence of accounting, students will need to negotiate and manage change. This course encourages and prepares them to acquire such skills through critical evaluation, scepticism, and informed debate of cutting-edge financial accounting and reporting issues.


22 hours of lectures, 10 hours of classes and 2 hours of help sessions in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students should prepare weekly written work for class discussion. At least two pieces per term will be collected for marking and some of these assignments will count towards the final mark for the course.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists of books and journal articles will be provided during the course. No one book covers the entire course. Recommended books include Rankin, M., Stanton, P., McGowan, S., Ferlauto, K. and Tilling, M. (2012) Contemporary Issues in Accounting, Wiley as well as press releases and current issues highlighted by accounting organisations such as the IFAC, ICAEW, ACCA, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. 


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Coursework (25%).

The exam duration is 2 hours and 15 minutes. The first 15 minutes will be reading time.

The details of the coursework will be made available on Moodle nearer the scheduled start time of the course.

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills