AC416      Half Unit
Topics in Financial Reporting

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Maria Manuel Correia MAR 3.38 and Dr Aneesh Raghunandan MAR 3.39


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.

Other students may be admitted if they have knowledge of financial accounting acquired at undergraduate level, and only with the agreement, in writing, of the MSc Programme Director.

The course has a limited number of places and demand is typically high.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.


Prior knowledge of financial accounting is assumed.  AC480 (Qualitative Methods in Accounting and Finance) is a pre-requisite for students with no/little prior knowledge of financial accounting.

Course content

Corporate financial statements are a key source of information about the economic activities of a firm. This course is intended to enhance the student's ability to relate economic events to financial statements and disclosures. It also seeks to aid in developing a coordinated set of concepts and principles to serve as a framework for analysing a wide variety of financial reporting issues. The goal is to enable students to understand the mapping between underlying economic events and the information in financial statements, and how this mapping affects inferences about the economic activities and position of the firm. The course also explores the regulatory environment and political climate, and how these link with the introduction of new standards and their underlying theories. Students are encouraged to relate economic events to diverse practices in financial statements, and to think critically of ongoing controversies and debates.

The emphasis of this course is on understanding and critical thinking, rather than bookkeeping. The course draws heavily on academic literature on the suggested topics.

The course objectives are achieved through teaching a variety of financial reporting issues and topics including the following: standard setting with respect to the conceptual frameworks; accounting for leases and pensions; accounting for value creation with special emphasis on cash flows statements and revenue recognition; capital markets efficiency; corporate disclosure; and corporate governance. Most topics are covered from an International Financial Reporting Standards and/or United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles perspective. 

Detailed choice of subjects will be determined by those lecturing on the course and may vary to some extent from year to year. Knowledge of basic accounting is assumed.


30 hours of seminars in the AT.

Teaching is delivered in two one and a half hour sessions each week. Sessions contain a variety of technical content, practical exercises, and case analyses. 

Formative coursework

Students are expected to prepare for each session in advance, having done the assigned readings and having prepared the assigned cases.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists are handed out at the start of the course. Relevant books covering specific parts of the course are:

  • Financial Reporting and Analysis, by Revsine, Collins, Johnson,  and Mittelstaedt, and Soffer (McGraw Hill, 8th ed.);
  • Financial Accounting: An Introduction to Concepts, Methods and Uses, by Stickney, Weil, Schipper and Francis (Thomson Learning, South-Western, 14th ed.).


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the January exam period.
Continuous assessment (5%) and group project (20%) in the AT.

Continuous assessment consists of a set of quizzes to be submitted online. The group project will require students to search the press for issues of relevance to the topic they have been assigned and produce a five-page report which they will present. These presentations may be virtual.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 43.3
Merit 34.3
Pass 17
Fail 5.4

Key facts

Department: Accounting

Total students 2022/23: 207

Average class size 2022/23: 52

Controlled access 2022/23: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills