Module ASB-3211:
Adv.Accounting Theory & Pract

Module Facts

Run by Bangor Business School

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Prof Doris Merkl-Davies

Overall aims and purpose


If you register for this module, you cannot also register for ASB-3107 Marketing of Services or ASB-3113 Marketing Communication.


You should be able to critically evaluate the various theories in accounting; and to understand how accounting theories can be used to explain the behaviour of preparers, users and regulators of accounting information; develop knowledge and skills in understanding and applying selected accounting standards and the theoretical framework in the preparation of financial statements; prepare financial statements in accordance with international accounting standards.

Course content

One semester of this module focuses on advanced accounting practice. We commence by examining the conceptual framework for financial reporting developed by the IASB and by considering the regulatory framework for financial reporting at national and international levels. We move on to consider accounting standards and current professional debates in specific accounting areas. The areas we will be covering this year are financial instruments, the presentation of financial statements, liabilities, employee benefits & share-based payments, taxation, leases, and accounting for carbon emissions.

The other semester of this module provides a discussion of the various theories of financial accounting and explores their relevance to the study, practice, and regulation of accounting. It covers the measurement of various elements of accounting, the underlying reasons for organizations to provide certain types of accounting information, the underlying reasons for individuals and groups to engage in lobbying for specific accounting methods, the impact of the adoption of different accounting methods on organizations, the reasons for capital market reactions to specific types of accounting information, and alternative measures of income.

The content may include but will not be limited to: Normative theories of accounting; Positive accounting theories; Behavioural accounting theories; Systems-oriented theories; Critical accounting theories; Conceptual frameworks for financial reporting; A regulatory framework for financial reporting; Presentation of financial statements; Specific issues, including financial instruments, leases, liabilities, employee benefits, share-based payments, taxation.

Assessment Criteria


D- to D+

Conceptual issues are covered in a superficial way with only limited additional material shown beyond the lecture content but with few errors. Some detail knowledge of Accounting Standards shown.


B- to B+

Conceptual awareness shown beyond the basic level with evidence of greater depth of reading and development of ideas but may still show some errors or misunderstanding. Good illustration of the content of Accounting Standards combined with the theoretical insight above.


A- to A*

Demonstration of depth of reading and thought at the conceptual level, and detailed Accounting Standards knowledge, together with a detailed and intelligent interweaving of theory and practice.

C- to C+

C- to C+

Conceptual and practical issues are covered beyond the basic level, with some material beyond the lecture content. There are few errors but analysis may lack comprehensiveness. Some detailed knowledge of relevant international accounting standards is shown, but insight into theoretical and conceptual issues lacks some sphistication.

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. Discuss and apply a conceptual framework for financial reporting.

  4. Discuss a regulatory framework for financial reporting.

  5. Prepare an entity's financial statements in accordance with international accounting standards.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Group Assignment

Group assignment


Final exam


Multiple choice test


Teaching and Learning Strategy


One 2-hour lecture per week.

Private study
  • Preparation for lectures;
  • Reading;
  • Preparation of group assignment.

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.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • 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
  • 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).
  • People management: to include communications, team building, leadership and motivating others.
  • Ability to work with people from a range of cultures.
  • 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.
  • Self reflection: self-analysis and an awareness/sensitivity to diversity in terms of people and cultures. This includes a continuing appetite for development.


Talis Reading list

Reading list

  • Deegan, C. and Unerman, J. (2011). Financial Accounting Theory. European 2nd ed. McGraw-Hill.
  • Rankin, M., Stanton, P., McGowan, S., Ferauto, K., and Tilling, M. (2012). Contemporary Issues in Accounting. 2nd ed. Wiley.
  • Elliot, B. and Elliot, J. (2019). Financial Accounting and Reporting, 19th ed. Pearson.

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: