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Unit information: Accounting Theory, Scandals and Standards in 2015/16

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Unit name Accounting Theory, Scandals and Standards
Unit code ECONM1016
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Ellwood
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Economics, Finance and Management
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit investigates current issues in financial reporting and the move to accounting convergence. The emphasis is on forces that have shaped financial reporting practice, especially the search for a conceptual framework, measurement issues and reaction to accounting crises. The unit develops an awareness of earnings management, income smoothing and creative accounting leading to examination of accounting scandals and contemporary issues that face accounting standard setters.

Intended learning outcomes

  • To examine the conceptual theory of accounting.
  • To demonstrate the subjectivity and choice within accounting frameworks in the terms of content, valuation and measurement.
  • To look at the theory and practice of creative accounting.
  • To consider recent accounting scandals and outline contemporary issues that face accounting standard setters.
  • To look at corporate governance in the context of accounting manipulation.

Teaching details

Lectures (14 hours) supplemented by tutorials (4 hours).

Assessment Details

There will be a two hour examination (70% with an assignment contributing 30%). The assignment will be a 2000 word essay or equivalent Students will also be expected to prepare work for tutorials. The examination and assignment will assess the learning outcomes specified above.

Reading and References

Essential Text:

  • Jones M (2010): Creative Accounting, Fraud and International Accounting, John Wileys: Chichester

Supplementary Reading:

  • Clarke F and Dean G (2007): Indecent Disclosure Gilding the Corporate Lily, Cambridge University PressHamilton S and Micklethwaite A (2006): Greed and corporate failure: the lessons from recent disasters, Palgrave MacMillan
  • Partnoy (2004): Infectious Greed, Profile Publications
  • Smith T (1996): Accounting for Growth: stripping the camouflage from company accounts, Random House Business Books