Current Issues in Financial Reporting

The details
Essex Business School
Kaplan Singapore
Autumn & Spring
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 21 March 2025
11 April 2024


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

In the first five weeks of the autumn term, we will look at deconstructing what accounting and regulation are, we will also look at the role of international standard setters and politics in standard setting. Following this, we will move to look at accounting theory which forms the foundations for the approaches to accounting that are currently taken in society. The module will continue with a more in-depth look at corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting, including discussions about recent initiatives as well as academic findings. We will then look at fair value accounting in terms of its valuation measurements, its strengths and weaknesses in comparison with historical cost accounting and its relationship with the global financial crisis. In the last two weeks of this term, we will discuss the accounting issue of foreign currency translation and we will compare and contrast the different methods which can be used to account for it. In the first five weeks of the Spring term, we will discuss the accounting treatment of goodwill and other intangible assets. More focus will be provided on the initial recognition of goodwill with particular reference to IRFS 3 "Business Combinations", and subsequent measurements reflected in impairment tests following IAS 36 "Impairment of Assets". Recent academic research will be discussed to provide more insight into the complexities associated with the accounting of goodwill in practice. We will then explore issues related to Off-balance Sheet accounting with a particular focus on lease contracts. We will discuss the role that these tools have played in encouraging opportunistic behaviours that lead to the bankruptcy of global companies and to the recent global financial crisis. The final five weeks of the Spring term are devoted to exploring issues of income manipulation techniques by firms with reference to IAS 37 - Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets. This is followed by examining the important issue of pension schemes and post-employment benefits accounting in company reporting and, how companies report the provision of pension for employees and with particular reference to IAS19. In the penultimate week of the term, we turn our attention to Financial Instruments, examining their recognition, measurement and disclosure in the financial statements with particular reference to IAS39/IFRS9. An examination of Accounting for Government Grants and Disclosure of Government Assistance ends the Spring term under the requirements of the module.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To enable students to apply the requirements of international financial reporting standards (IFRS) to the preparation of single company and consolidated financial statements.

  • To propose and justify the most appropriate accounting treatment for given scenarios.

  • To identify and critically evaluate the choices that specific IFRS make available and the potential misuse of such choices for earnings management purposes.

  • To Identify ethical threats and evaluate appropriate actions and safeguards to mitigate those threats.

  • To describe and critically evaluate the benefits and implications of integrated reporting and sustainability accounting within a corporate accountability framework.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Critically evaluate the accounting standard setting process and evaluate the impact of political, social, and ethical influences on corporate financial statements and accounting standards and regulations;

  2. Measure fair value, goodwill, and financial instruments and how they are presented in the financial statements, as well as demonstrate a critical understanding of these measurements.

  3. Prepare, present, and analyse a wide range of economic matters in the financial statements such as pensions, leases, foreign currency translation, revenue recognition and provisions and be able to critically reflect on the complexities associated with these accounting topics.

  4. Assess the tensions between accounting measurements and their objectivity/subjectivity as well as the implications for credible financial statements;

  5. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of corporate financial reporting practices involving creative accounting.

  6. Critically evaluate key issues in corporate social responsibility and sustainability reporting.

Skills for Your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

On completion of this module, students who have engaged in an in-depth way with the module should have attained key transferable skills that include being able to:

  • Evaluate relevant evidence and solve problems.

  • Analyse financial data.

  • Analyse academic literature.

  • Work effectively in a team, show leadership in that team and adapt to changing circumstances in a flexible and productive manner.

  • Demonstrate transferable skills.

  • Develop a slide deck of research findings, express ideas for business purposes, and understand how to present successfully and confidently.

  • Develop clear arguments in essays.

  • Apply and adapt academic skills to a professional working environment.

  • Develop and apply high level financial analytical skills in the working environment for clients and employers.

  •  Understand the need to communicate and explain complex financial statements to nonaccounting colleagues and write reports in a clear and concise manner.

  • Be aware of, and understand, contemporary accounting debates and developments in an international and practical context.

  • Appreciate the importance of 'softer' skills in the working environment such as developing a professional attitude and commitment, exhibiting sound communication, awareness of completing tasks to strict deadlines, think critically about complex issues and recognise different perspectives. 

  • Use core IT programs and understand plagiarism and referencing.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

The module will be delivered over 20 weeks.

The module will be delivered by:

  • 2-hour lectures
  • 1-hour fortnightly classes

Your attendance is required at each of the lectures and classes assigned to you.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: Remote, Open Book, 180 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
30% 70%


Coursework Exam
30% 70%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Silvia Gaia, email:
Dr Rebecca Warren, email:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information
Essex Business School

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