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 to level 6 or equivalent
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2021/2

Module Convenor: Ms Sue Blackett

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module is delivered at University of Reading. 


Management accounting is a collection of diverse 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 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 management accounting information in organisational decision-making, planning, control and performance management. Students will consider the contribution of different theoretical perspectives to critically evaluate the role of management accounting. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this module, students should be able to: 


1. Critically evaluate theoretical perspectives commonly used in management accounting research. 

2. Critically assess the strengths and limitations of theoretical perspectives. 

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

4. Critically eva luate 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:

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; normative models and, theories of co-operation in organisations. These perspectives 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 perfor mance and factors influencing that role in organisations. 

Basic bibliography: 

  • Seal, W., Rohde, C., Garrison, R. H. and Noreen, E. W. (2019). Management Accounting. 6th ed. London:McGraw-Hill Education. 

  • Drury, C. (2018). Management and Cost Accounting. 10th ed. Andover: Cengage Learning.

Global context:

Collaborative working and appreciation of differing viewpoints and use of international research and case studies. 

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 18
Seminars 8
Practicals classes and workshops 4
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 45
    Advance preparation for classes 20
    Preparation for seminars 5
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 45
    Revision and preparation 20
    Reflection 35
Total hours by term 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Written assignment including essay 30
Set exercise 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

One 2.5-hour closed-book written exam in the Summer term which contains a pre-seen essay question (set exercise). The remainder of the paper is unseen.

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 academic essay, applying theories to cases, reflecting on research findings or making sound conclusions and offering plausible recommendations that would assist in planning, decision-making, control and performance management.  Coursework is due for submission in week 26 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 / workshop groups. Independent study will be set and opportunities provided for students to receive feedback. Formative feedback opportunities will help students prepare for summative 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 exam, including a pre-seen essay question) in August.  Coursework will not be included in the re-assessment. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Cost Amount
1. Required text books £60.00
2. Specialist equipment or materials  
3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear  
4. Printing and binding  
5. Computers and devices with a particular specification  
6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence  


Last updated: 14 May 2021


Things to do now