AC331      Half Unit
Contemporary Issues in Financial Accounting

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jose Carabias Palmeiro OLD 2.13 and Mr Alexander Nezlobin OLD 3.33


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.


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 key areas of topical interest and the impact of accounting standards on financial statements in an IFRS context. Specifically, the course critically analyses accounting practices and processes from the point of view of investors. The course will examine on revenue recognition, tangible and intangible assets, the reporting of financial instruments, off-balance-sheet accounting, stock-based compensation, as well as, issues related to the differential approaches to measurement including historical cost and fair values. 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. Throughout the course, taken-for-granted “wisdoms” will be critically evaluated and challenged. Finally, this course encourages and prepares students to become informed players on the debate around financial accounting and reporting issues.


This course is delivered through a combination of weekly lectures and classes in the Michaelmas Term. Teaching sessions contain a variety of conceptual content, case analyses and practical exercises. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered by a combination of online recorded (asynchronous) lectures and virtual interactive (synchronous) classes as an alternative to face-to-face teaching.

Formative coursework

Students should prepare weekly written work for class discussion. One specified piece of written work will be collected for marking.

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:

  • Beaver, W.H. (1998) Financial Reporting: An Accounting Revolution, 3rd edition, Pearson;
  • Lewis and Pendril (2004) Advanced Financial Accounting,7th edition, Financial Times Prentice Hall;
  • Penman, S. (2013) Financial Statement Analysis and Security Valuation, 5th edition, McGrawHill

As well as accounting standards, firms’ press releases, analysts’ reports and academic research papers.


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

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: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: 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