This course introduces students to accounting theories and discusses selected contemporary issues in accounting. At the heart of this course is the acknowledgment that accounting is not just a technical matter. In other words, accounting is not just about learning particular accounting standards and techniques, or about the preparation and analysis of financial statements. The course steps back from the more technical aspects of accounting to contemplate the social, economic and political contexts. Using a selection of cases, students consider historical and contemporary issues that influence the development of accounting practices, regulation (accounting standards) and accounting thought.
The primary aim of this course is to provide students with an understanding of a set of contemporary topics that academics, regulators, standard setters and accountants consider important. Such topics might include the going-concern assumption, accounting conservatism, earnings management/creative accounting, fair value accounting, the expectation gap (in audits), SOX, the principles-rules debate, reporting for SMEs and corporate social responsibility reporting.