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Module ASB-4907:
Accounting Dissertation

Module Facts

Run by Bangor Business School

60 Credits or 30 ECTS Credits

Semester 3

Organiser: Prof Aziz Jaafar

Overall aims and purpose

To provide an opportunity to initiate, plan and accomplish a substantial piece of work entailing an extensive review of the existing published theoretical and empirical literature on one of three prescribed accounting topics, augmented by the use of databases and the application of quantitative methods in further analysis of that topic.

Course content

Students will follow a series of workshops in Semester 2 and Semester 3, each resulting in a piece of coursework that will constitute individual chapters of the dissertation. The workshops include:

  1. Conducting and writing a literature review

  2. Research methodology (choice of 1 from the 3 alternatives below): 2.1. Topic 1: Accounting Quality • Regression analyses examining the determinants and/or effects of accounting quality (e.g., earnings management). 2.2. Topic 2: Market-based accounting research • Event study methodology, focusing on the relationship between accounting information and share prices. 2.3. Topic 3: Corporate governance • Regression analyses examining the finance and accounting outcomes of CG, including firm performance, cost of capital, and cost of debt, and the impact of CG on the firm’s disclosure environment, including disclosure quality and analysts’ forecasts.

  3. Data collection, and presentation of results

Assessment Criteria


C- to C+ (50-59%) Work demonstrating an adequate attempt at acquiring and applying knowledge.


  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


  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


B- to B+ (60-69%) Work demonstrating high level of analytical and applied competence on a broad range of factors. Free of major errors.


  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


  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


A- to A* (70%+) 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.


  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


  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. Apply appropriate analytical, statistical, IT, research design, writing and other research skills in order to present relevant theoretical and/or empirical evidence on the chosen topic.

  2. Apply knowledge on the role of accounting in the relationship between companies and society, particularly financial market participants.

  3. Make use of library and electronic resources to identify literature and locate data.

  4. Plan, organise and manage an extensive research project on the chosen topic.

  5. Apply appropriate accounting theories in empirical research.

  6. Synthesise and critically appraise a body of academic literature.

  7. Compile, edit and present a substantial research report.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Dissertation 25
Literature Review 35
Methodology 15
Results and conclusion 25

Teaching and Learning Strategy


The module ‘Accounting Dissertation’ takes the form of a series of five 2-hour workshops scheduled over an eight-week period in Semester 2 and Semester 3.

Private study

Following the five workshops, the students work independently to synthesise relevant literature, identify and discuss appropriate methodolgy, collect relevant data, and apply the chosen methdoology to the data to obtain results, which are interpreted and discussed.

One-to-one supervision

Students receive one-to-one support and individual feedback from relevant members of staff with specialist expertise who are responsible for the delivery of workshops relating to components 1-3.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • 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

Subject specific skills

  • knowledge of some of the contexts in which accounting can be seen as operating (examples of contexts include the legal, ethical, social and natural environment; the accountancy profession; the business entity; the capital markets; the public sector)
  • knowledge of the main current technical language and practices of accounting (for example, recognition, measurement and disclosure in financial statements; managerial accounting; auditing; taxation) in a specified socio-economic domain
  • knowledge of some of the alternative technical languages and practices of accounting (for example, alternative recognition rules and valuation bases, accounting rules followed in other socio-economic domains, alternative managerial accounting approaches to control and decision-making)
  • skills in recording and summarising transactions and other economic events; preparation of financial statements; analysis of the operations of business (for example, decision analysis, performance measurement and management control); financial analysis and projections (for example, analysis of financial ratios, discounted cash flow analysis, budgeting, financial risks)
  • knowledge of contemporary theories and empirical evidence concerning accounting in at least one of its contexts (for example, accounting and capital markets; accounting and the firm; accounting and the public sector; accounting and society; accounting and sustainability) and the ability to critically evaluate such theories and evidence age
  • knowledge of theories and empirical evidence concerning financial management, risk and the operation of capital markets (in cases of degrees with significant finance content).
  • Quantification and design. Data, and their effective organisation, presentation and analysis, are important in economics. The typical student will have some familiarity with the principal sources of economic information and data relevant to industry, commerce, society and government, and have had practice in organising it and presenting it informatively. This skill is important at all stages in the decision-making process.
  • An ability to interpret financial data including that arising in the context of the firm or household from accounting statements and data generated in financial markets. The interpretation may involve analysis using statistical and financial functions and procedures such as are routinely available in spreadsheets (eg Microsoft Excel) and statistical packages. It may assume the skills necessary to manipulate financial data and carry out statistical and econometric tests (e.g. estimation and interpretation of asset pricing models; financial modelling and projections; event studies and residuals analysis; elements of time series analysis, such as serial correlation mean reversion, and stochastic volatility).
  • An understanding of the financing arrangements and governance structures of business entities, and an appreciation of how theory and evidence can be combined to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of such arrangements (e.g. decisions as to sources of finance and financial structure; the pricing of corporate securities; the market for corporate control; corporate governance structures and mechanisms; financial planning and international dimensions of finance).
  • An ability to understand financial statements, and a basic appreciation of the limitations of financial reporting practices and procedures (eg financial statement analysis; the relation between cash flow accounting and accrual accounting; discretionary accounting practices).
  • Problem solving and critical analysis: analysing facts and circumstances to determine the cause of a problem and identifying and selecting appropriate solutions.
  • Research: the ability to analyse and evaluate a range of business data, sources of information and appropriate methodologies, which includes the need for strong digital literacy, and to use that research for evidence-based decision-making.
  • Numeracy: the use of quantitative skills to manipulate data, evaluate, estimate and model business problems, functions and phenomena.
  • Articulating and effectively explaining information.
  • Conceptual and critical thinking, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
  • Self-management: a readiness to accept responsibility and flexibility, to be resilient, self-starting and appropriately assertive, to plan, organise and manage time.

Courses including this module