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Module ASB-4418:
Accounting Theory

Module Facts

Run by Bangor Business School

15 Credits or 7.5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Prof Doris Merkl-Davies

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of the module is to develop students' ability to critically evaluate the various theories in accouting and to understand how accounting theories can be used to explain the behaviour of preparers and users of accounting information.

Course content

The module covers an introduction to financial accounting theory; theories of regulation; normative theories of accounting; positive accounting theory; behavioural accounting theories; systems-oriented theories; critical accounting theories.

Assessment Criteria


Work demonstrating an adequate attempt at acquiring and applying knowledge.

Content 1. Partial identification of the issues 2. Adequate understanding and use of appropriate conceptual frameworks, experience and facts; some errors 3. Some evidence of consulting source material 4. No originality 5. Insufficient relevance

Structure 1. Links parts together, but lacks a coherent structure 2. Clear, but limited, objectives 3. Does not always reach a conclusion 4. Weakened by inappropriate or inaccurate use of language


Work demonstrating high level of analytical and applied competence on a broad range of factors. Free of major errors.

Content 1. Clear identification of the issues 2. High standard of critical analysis using appropriate conceptual frameworks and/or applying relevant experience and facts 3. Good evaluation and synthesis of source material 4. Shows some fresh thinking and originality 5. Substantially relevant

Structure 1. Clearly structured and logically developed 2. Clear, relevant and attainable objectives 3. Relevant conclusions 4. Supported by an appropriate range and use of language


Work of excellent quality in every respect. Focused and comprehensive, with critical depth and insight. Representing a model answer at the top end of the range.

Content 1. Concise and comprehensive identification of the issues 2. Excellent standard of critical analysis using appropriate conceptual frameworks and/or applying relevant experience and facts 3. Comprehensive and excellent use, evaluation and synthesis of source material 4. Shows fresh thinking and originality 5. Wholly relevant

Structure 1. Well structured and logically developed 2. Exceptionally clear, relevant and attainable objectives 3. Clearly spelled out and relevant conclusions 4. Supported by a good range and appropriate use of language

Learning outcomes

  1. Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various accounting theories.

  2. Analyse the development and intellectual underpinning of rival theories that seek to explain accounting behaviour.

  3. Analyse the structure of the key accounting theories.

  4. Analyse the options and strategy of accounting regulators.

  5. Examine the nature and content of key accounting standards in relation to their theoretical content.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Assignment 25
Exam 75

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Tutorial 11
Lecture 22

One two-hour lecture and one one-hour tutorial every week.

Private study 117

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Mentoring - Able to support, help, guide, inspire and/or coach others
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Courses including this module