ACM003-Management Accounting: Theory and Practice

Module Provider: Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Management accounting studied at undergraduate level or equivalent
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Ms Sue Blackett


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Management accounting can be studied as a heterogeneous collection of techniques used to measure and analyse the resources, processes and outputs of organisations. While it is important to understand the techniques, it is equally important to study how those techniques are used. A good understanding of costing techniques is assumed as the module explores beyond these to their application in practice and questions their use(s) and role(s) in organisations from a theoretically informed perspective. Much of the research in management accounting explores the role of the management accountant and the application of management accounting techniques in practice, through a variety of theoretical lenses. The module will draw on published case studies to analyse contemporary management accounting in practice.


This module aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of the concepts relating to the provision and use of financial information in organisational decision-making, planning, control and performance management. Students will consider the contribution of different theoretical perspectives to the interpretation of management accounting’s role.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:

1. Describe many of the theoretical perspectives commonly used in management accounting research.

2. Critically assess the strengths and limitations of these approaches.

3. Use different theoretical approaches to analyse case studies of management accounting practice.

4. Evaluate the changing and different roles of the management accountant.

5. Organise and communicate information clearly, succinctly and in the required format, both under timed conditions and in assessed work.

Additional outcomes:

The students should be able to demonstrate advanced knowledge of theoretical perspectives used in management accounting, and then apply management accounting knowledge and skills to real life situations for planning, control, performance management and decision-making purposes.

Outline content:

Theoretical perspectives may include: agency theory; accounting symbolism; the labour process view; Foucauldian-based approaches; new-institutional theory; normative models and bounded rationality; and, theories of co-operation in organisations. These may be applied to cases involving, for example, the use of standard costing, strategic management accounting, decision-making by divisional managers, performance measurement of organisations and of managers and the design of incentive systems. The contribution of the management accountant to organisational performance and factors influencing that role in organisations.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

A range of teaching and learning methods will be employed, but will focus largely on lectures, group work and independent supported learning. The case study approach will be used as a basis for analysis and discussion in seminars.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Written assignment including essay 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

2.5 hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students would be required to write a 2,500 word essay (+/-10% allowed) on a combination of topics in management accounting, in order to deepen their core accounting knowledge as well as research skills. The assessment method may include writing a critical summary, and applying theories to real life cases, reflecting on findings, and making sound conclusions and offering plausible recommendations that would help in planning, decision-making, control and performance management.  Coursework is due for submission by 2.00pm of the Friday of week 6 of the Spring Term.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will be required to prepare and lead discussions and to present the results of group discussion to other students in their seminars. This experience will help students prepare for their assessments.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Students will be required to obtain a weighted average mark on coursework and examination of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:

By examination only (one 2.5-hour written paper) in August.  Coursework will not be included in the re-assessment.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 25 October 2018


Things to do now