This module examines how we can understand whether the outcome(s) of the decisions we make move us towards a state of sustainability or to a more unsustainable state. Drawing on theoretical and empirical research and your own professional experience this module explores the tools and techniques organisations currently use to provide information to decision makers; what other tools and techniques are available for use; and what issues, concerns, problems, and shortcomings the users of the information produced should be aware of. Thus this module examines the supply and demand of information in relation to issues of sustainability. There are no co- or pre-requisites and no prior qualifications are assumed.
This module is focused on sustainability, which is a global issue, and draws on different perspectives from a variety of countries.
Guest speakers previously have covered topics such as shadow accounting and the Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability project.
Students deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and learn to communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Further, students demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level, and learn basic accounting literacy, which are all valuable qualities and skills for employment.
The lectures, reading list, and coursework (which includes a group evaluation of a sustainability report) all address issues of sustainability. All of the resources for this module are available on the ELE (Exeter Learning Environment).
Full module specification
|Module title:||Integrated Accounting|
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 3: |
This module aims to examine how we can understand sustainability through an accounting lens. Its purpose is to provide you with a working knowledge of the core concepts, principles and techniques of both financial accounting and management accounting. The module will enable you to understand how to plan, control, report upon and analyse organisational activity from both financial and non-financial perspectives. You will also explore how contemporarily used and sustainability focused tools and techniques assist or detract from providing performance measurement and management control for a sustainable future.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. explain the core concepts, principles and techniques of both financial and management accounting
- 2. evaluate the concepts underpinning social and environmental accounting and integrated reporting
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 3. utilise accounting/financial formulae and techniques to analyse financial statements and other accounts
- 4. apply and critically analyse accounting/financial models in a real-world context
- 5. locate, extract, analyse and reference data from multiple sources
- 6. critically assess the reporting of non-financial aspects of organisational performance
- 7. identify quantitative and qualitative measures for assessing an organisation's financial, social, environmental and sustainable performance
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 8. analyse and draw conclusions from structured and unstructured problems
- 9. demonstrate effective written communication and IT skills, particularly in the context of reporting and explaining numerical analysis
- 10. demonstrate effective independent study and research skills
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities||30||Lectures|
|Guided Independent Study||40||Reading and Research|
|Guided Independent Study||10||Worksheets|
|Guided Independent Study||40||Researching and Writing Assignments|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Formative exercise||1 page||1,2||Written feedback|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Worksheets (individual)||20||Equivalent of 4 pages||1, 2, 8, 10||Written feedback|
|Written individual assignment||35||2000 words||2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10||Written feedback|
|Written group assignment||45||2500 words||2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9||Written feedback|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|All coursework||Single coursework assignment (100%)||1, 2, 3, 8, 9||Within 6 weeks of original assessment|
The new assignment will have a brief which is materially different to the original assignment.
In this module we will critically engage with:
- How to understand sustainability through an accounting lens;
- How accounting creates visibility and invisibility over differing aspects of organisational practice;
- Analysis and rationale for financial disclosures, management reports, social and environmental disclosures and reports of sustainability;
- Accounting’s place within an organisations broader management control system; and
- The importance of relative and absolute performance measurement;
As a means of developing this critical engagement we will examine many specific areas of accounting, which may include the following:
- Fundamentals (core concepts, principles and techniques) of financial and management accounting;
- Balanced scorecards;
- Simon’s levers of control;
- Integrated reporting and the GRI initiative;
- Shadow and counter accounts;
- Ecological footprints; and
- Full coast accounting and sustainability assessment models;
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Atrill, P., & McLaney, E. (2011). Accounting and Finance for Non-Specialists. 7th ed. Harlow: Pearsons.
Ball, A., Milne, M.J., 2005. Sustainability and management control, in: Berry, A.J., Broadbent, J., Otley, D. (Eds.), Management control : theories, issues, and performance. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York, pp. 314-337.
Simons, R., 1995. Levers of control: how managers use innovative control systems to drive strategic renewal. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Mass.
Wackernagel, M., Rees, W.E., 1996. Our ecological footprint: reducing human impact on the Earth. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, B.C.
WWF - World Wide Fund for Nature, 2012. Living Planet Report 2010: Biodiversity, biocapacity and better choices, Gland, Switzerland, available at http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/about_us/living_planet_report_2012/
Module has an active ELE page?
Last revision date