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Unit information: Accountability and Accounting for Sustainability in 2015/16

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Unit name Accountability and Accounting for Sustainability
Unit code EFIMM0015
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Cooper
Open unit status Not open

ECONM2028 International Financial Accounting



School/department School of Accounting and Finance
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will acquaint students with the nature and scope of alternative forms of accountability which goes beyond the traditional accounting model. Development of such alternative forms of corporate accountability is considered essential in the modern business world as is evidenced by the publication of substantial CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)/sustainability reports by 95% of the G250 companies (KPMG, 2011). Students will learn the theory and practice of accounting for sustainability with insights into real life corporate practices in this area.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the unit students should be able to:

  • Discuss and critically evaluate alternative forms of accountability.
  • Discuss the different theoretical perspectives that underpin accountability and accounting for sustainability.
  • Critically evaluate the practice of accounting for sustainability from different perspectives.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught on-site to full-time students. No additional requirements for distance or e-learning.

15 hours of lectures supported by 5 hours of fortnightly tutorials.

Assessment Details

Summative Assessment (20%): Small groups of students will be required to submit a 1000 word report and make a presentation that critically evaluates a corporate sustainability report drawing on an appropriate theoretical framework.

Exam (80%): 2-hour written exam

Reading and References

Core texts:

  • Deegan, C., and Unerman, J. (2011) “Financial Accounting Theory” (Second European Edition), McGraw Hill, UK.
  • Gray, R., Adams, C., and Owen, D. (2014) “Accountability, Social Responsibility and Sustainability: Accounting for society and the environment”, Pearson, UK.
  • Unerman, J., Bebbington, J., and O’Dwyer, B. (2nd Edition forthcoming) "Sustainability Accounting and Accountability", Routledge, UK.

Additional reading:

  • Students will also be directed to reading academic journal articles.