AC415      Half Unit
Management Accounting for Decision Making

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Henry Eyring OLD 3.10


This course is available on the Global MSc in Management, Global MSc in Management (CEMS MiM), Global MSc in Management (MBA Exchange), MSc in Accounting and Finance and MSc in Accounting, Organisations and Institutions. 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) Programme Director if they have sufficient relevant background knowledge.

The course is capped to two sections of around 50 students; ie, 100 total. Enrolment on this course is constrained by section size and the number of sessions available. Students are admitted on the course on a first-come-first-served basis. If the course is over-subscribed, students on the waiting list will continue to be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis as places become available, but MSc students on the Accounting programmes will only then be given priority although cannot be guaranteed a place if no places become available. Therefore, to avoid frustration and possibly being unable to take the course, students wishing to reduce the risk of non-admittance on the course should prioritise their courses and register early for their preferred, “must have” courses. Late registration or changes to earlier course choices may be unsuccessful.

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


30 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.

There is a reading week in week 6 of LT.

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.

Bhimani, A., C.T. Horngren, S.M. Datar, and M.V. Rajan (“BHDR”),  2019,  Management and Cost Accounting, (Pearson, 7th Edition); Merchant, K.A., and W.A. Van der Stede, 2017,  Management Control Systems: Performance Measurement, Evaluation, and Incentives (Pearson, 4th Edition).


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Case assignment (25%) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17.5
Merit 30.8
Pass 38.5
Fail 13.3

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: 90

Average class size 2019/20: 44

Controlled access 2019/20: 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