Accounting Theory and Practice

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Pik Kun Liew OLD 3.34 and Dr Per Ahblom OLD 3.13


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Accounting and Finance. This course is available on the BSc in Management, BSc in Mathematics, Statistics and Business and Diploma 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.

Please seek permission from BSc in Accounting and Finance Programme Director.


Students must have completed either

(1) Elements of Accounting and Finance (AC100), or

(2) Elements of Financial Accounting (AC102) and Elements of Management Accounting, Financial Management and Financial Institutions (AC103), or

(3) equivalent.

Course content

This is a one-unit course that builds on the foundation laid by the first-year accounting courses. AC200 is also intended to provide students with the conceptual knowledge and technical skills necessary for final-year courses in accounting. The course considers the major theoretical and practical approaches to accounting and consists of two main components: financial accounting and management accounting.

Financial Accounting: The course begins with an evaluation of the regulatory environment in which financial accounting operates. This part of the course focuses on the preparation and analysis of the published financial statements of public interest entities operating on their own, or within group structures. The function and content of published financial statements, the issues posed by consolidated accounts, and the analysis of accounting information to evaluate corporate performance will also be examined. A range of specific areas of financial accounting issues will be looked at, for example, segmental reporting, issues in foreign-currency translations, how corporations report their provision of pension for employees, and problems associated with the treatment of taxation. 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.

Management Accounting: The course then explores theoretical concepts, practices, designs and wider issues of cost and management accounting. The characteristics and use of various systems and models, such as cost-driver analysis and activity-based costing, in organisational decision-making at both operating and strategic levels will be introduced and critically evaluated. This part of the course also considers ways in which non-financial information can be used to complement financial accounting information in order to enable a more holistic approach aimed at providing relevant and useful information to management for the purposes of planning, decision-making, and organisational control.


Teaching is delivered in weekly seminars over 10 weeks across Michaelmas Term (MT) (Weeks 1-10) and Lent Term (LT) (Weeks 1-5, and Weeks 7-11 where Week 6 is a reading week). There will be no seminars in Week 11 of MT but students will be required to participate in a summative assessment this week as scheduled in the timetable. Seminars contain a variety of concept-focused content, practical exercises, and case analyses. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered using virtual sessions as an alternative to face-to-face teaching.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to come to each seminar prepared where the assigned course materials have been read and attempted. There will also be several online quizzes to assess student’s knowledge and progress in both terms on a formative basis for feedback. Feedback on performance and progress will be provided during seminars, on selected written homework assignments, and during academic support and feedback hours.

Indicative reading

Detailed course programmes and reading lists will be distributed before the first lecture of each term. A range of academic papers, professional reports and news articles will be used in the course. 


Exam (60%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Presentation (15%) in the MT.
Project (15%) in the LT.
Class participation (10%) in the MT and LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2019/20: 152

Average class size 2019/20: 44

Capped 2019/20: Yes (200)

Value: One 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