Advanced Financial Accounting

Module description


 This module draws from research and the academic debate from 1960s to the present and critically discusses core financial accounting concepts such as measurement of income, assets, and liabilities. It also covers the development of conceptual frameworks over time up to the ongoing development of a new financial accounting framework. In addition, the module covers accounting treatment of certain complex items such as financial instruments and intangible assets. The module also covers positive accounting theory and the outcome of research on earnings management behavior.

 Additional Information:


International accounting standards are discussed in this module.


This module offers the opportunity to develop skills in critical thinking, integration and synthesis between theoretical and practical perspectives, and the ability to identify potentially fruitful issues for further inquiry and research.

Students will be able to use information technology for information retrieval, numerical analysis and report production, be able to debate and discuss issues, and develop written and oral presentation skills.

Full module specification

Module title:Advanced Financial Accounting
Module code:BEAM024
Module level:M
Academic year:2016/7
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Joanne Horton - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The module aims to provide students with a thorough grounding in a number of key advanced topics of financial accounting theory, research and practice; to develop their familiarity with and powers to criticize the academic literature; and to develop their ability to integrate and synthesize between topics in order to enter usefully into current debates and to suggest potentially fruitful avenues for development.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. critically evaluate economic theory and accounting theory
  • 2. describe alternative frameworks for the accounting of financial instruments
  • 3. define alternative drivers and perspectives for financial accounting in a global setting
  • 4. critically evaluate alternative paradigms in accounting financial accounting research used in the UK and other countries
  • 5. critically evaluate alternative conceptual frameworks, standards and practices in financial reporting
  • 6. explain different settings in which propensity to manage earnings is posited to be heightened
  • 7. explain different mechanisms for the management of earnings
  • 8. define alternative approaches to the detection of earnings management
  • 9. explain financial accounting-based corporate valuation
  • 10. explain income theory
  • 11. explain the formulation of accounting standards in the UK and other countries
  • 12. explain financial accounting-based firm valuation
  • 13. explain detection of earnings management

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 14. demonstrate powers of research in the academic literature and texts
  • 15. demonstrate powers of academic literature criticism
  • 16. apply and criticize models
  • 17. demonstrate powers of integration and synthesis to suggest potentially fruitful questions
  • 18. demonstrate a methodological approach to data, results, conclusions, achievement of objectives, and possible avenues for extension and improvement

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 19. use information technology for information retrieval, numerical analysis and report production
  • 20. build team skills in debating discussion topics and producing teams solutions to problems
  • 21. build presentation skills in lecture / example class participation

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours22Lectures
Contact hours11Tutorials

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Problem setsVarying1-21Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination903 hours1-14, 16, 17, 18Written
Coursework 10Max 1500 words1-14, 16, 17, 18Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Coursework Cpirsepwrl (10%) mas 1500 words1-14, 16, 17, 18July
ExaminationExam (90%) 3 hours1-14, 16, 17, 18August

Syllabus plan

  • Economic income and wealth concepts and their relation to accounting
  • Accounting for financial instruments: long term loans (‘bonds/debentures’)
  • Accounting for assets: deprival value and asset impairment
  • Conceptual framework
  • Positive accounting theory
  • Accounting for intangibles: current debates and research
  • Earnings management
  • Market value relevance and Fair Value accounting: current research and its relevance to standard setters
  • Review and revision

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

International GAAP (2014)

Riahi-Belkaoui, A. (2000) Accounting Theory, Butterworths Thomson Learning

Scott, W.R. (2003), Financial Accounting Theory, 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall

Sunder, S. (1997), Theory of Accounting and Control, SouthWestern College Publishing

Watts, R.L. and Zimmerman, J.L. (1986) Positive Accounting Theory, New York: Prentice Hall

A selection of academic journal articles, including:

Beaver, W. and Demski, J.S. (1979), ‘Nature of Income Measurement’,Accounting Review, Vol. LIV, No.1, January, pp.38-45

Ohlson, J. (1995), ‘Earnings, Book Values, and Dividends in Equity Valuation’, Contemporary Accounting Research, 11(2), pp. 661-687

Please be advised that no purchase of textbooks is necessary; readings are provided throughout the lectures and generally consist of journal articles.

 In addition, a selection of academic journal articles, that will be made available on ELE.

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

A selection of web based materials, including:

Financial Reporting Council / Accounting Standards Board at

International Accounting Standards Board at US FASB at www.fasb/org

US SEC Filings & Forms (EDGAR database) at

Information on current International Accounting Standards at

Origin date


Last revision date