ACM007-Contemporary Management Accounting Practice

Module Provider:
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2023/4

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 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 and sustainability 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 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 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:

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, theories of co-operation in organisations and sustainability. 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 performance 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. (2021). Management and Cost Accounting. 11th 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 12
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 45
    Advance preparation for classes 20
    Preparation for presentations 20
    Preparation for seminars 5
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 15
    Revision and preparation 10
    Essay preparation 30
    Reflection 25
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Set exercise 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Not applicable.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Set Exercise: 

One online 45-minute progress test to be submitted the week 5 of the Spring term. Test will consist of a combination of multiple-choice and longer questions. This is an individual piece of work. 

Oral Assessment and Presentation:

A 10-minute group presentation based on a case study scenario. To be conducted in the last week of the Spring term. 

Written assignment:

Students would be required to write a 3,000-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 the first week of the Summer term. This is an individual piece of work. 

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. Students are expected to complete activities on Blackboard to receive formative feedback. Formative feedback opportunities will help students prepare for summative assessments.

Penalties for late submission:

The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline.  

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Students will be required to obtain a weighted average mark across all assessments of 50%.

Reassessment arrangements:

By resubmission of the written assignment in August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Required textbooks / online resources  £60



Last updated: 12 April 2023


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