Current Issues in Financial Reporting

The details
Essex Business School
Kaplan Singapore
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 28 June 2024
20 September 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC N400 Accounting,
BSC N401 Accounting (Including Foundation Year),
BSC N402 Accounting (Including Year Abroad),
BSC N404 Accounting (Including Placement Year),
BSC N420 Accounting and Finance,
BSC N420JS Accounting and Finance,
BSC N420NS Accounting and Finance,
BSC N422 Accounting and Finance (Including Placement Year),
BSC NN43 Accounting and Finance (Including Foundation Year),
BSC NNK3 Accounting and Finance (Including Year Abroad),
MACCN440 Accounting and Finance,
MACCN441 Accounting and Finance (Including Placement Year),
MACCN442 Accounting and Finance (Including Year Abroad),
BSC NN24 Accounting and Management,
BSC NN27 Accounting and Management (Including Placement Year),
BSC NN42 Accounting and Management (Including Foundation Year),
BSC NNK2 Accounting and Management (Including Year Abroad),
BSC N4L1 Accounting with Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC NKL1 Accounting with Economics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC NL41 Accounting with Economics,
BSC NL44 Accounting with Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA L147 Financial Economics and Accounting (Including Placement Year),
BA L148 Financial Economics and Accounting,
BA L149 Financial Economics and Accounting (Including Year Abroad),
BA LX14 Financial Economics and Accounting (Including Foundation Year)

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

This module is centred upon constructing, examining and applying theoretical frameworks to evaluating contemporary issues in accounting.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
• Critically review the attempts by accounting standard setters to develop a conceptual framework and assess the likelihood of success of such a pursuit;
• Evaluate the impact of political, social, and ethical influences on company financial statements and accounting standards and regulation;
• Assess developments in company financial reporting in their national, economic, social and political contexts;
• Assess the strengths and weaknesses of corporate financial reporting practices.

Module information

Skills for Your Professional Life
(Transferable Skills - reflecting the skills mapping recently undertaken in EBS)

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

Learning and teaching methods

BE130 is a 20 week (30 credits) module. The module will be delivered by: * two-hour lectures/workshops (weeks 2 -11 and 16-25) * one-hour fortnightly classes (weeks 3-11; 16-25 and 30) Classes will take place on a fortnightly basis. Your attendance is required at each of the lectures and classes assigned to you. Please look at the Module website for supporting material.


  • Van Mourik, C. et al. (2020) International Financial Reporting & Analysis. 8th edition. London: Cengage Learning EMEA.
  • Deegan, C. and Unerman, J. (2011) Financial Accounting Theory: European Edition. 2nd edition. London: McGraw-Hill Education - Europe.
  • ‘Counter-conducting environmental injustices and (un)accountability: Ken Saro-Wiwa’s accounts of the Ogoni’s struggle for emancipation’ (no date b).
  • ‘Counter-conducting environmental injustices and (un)accountability: Ken Saro-Wiwa’s accounts of the Ogoni’s struggle for emancipation’ (no date b).
  • ‘Examining the accounts of oil spills crises in Nigeria through sensegiving and defensive behaviours’ (no date).
  • ‘Shell Nigeria’s Global Memorandum of Understanding and corporate-community accountability relations: A critical appraisal’ (no date). Available at:
  • ‘Formative Perspectives on the Relation Between CSR Communication and CSR Practices: Pathways for Walking, Talking, and T(w)alking’ (no date).
  • Adams, C.A. (2004) ‘The ethical, social and environmental reporting-performance portrayal gap’, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 17(5), pp. 731–757. Available at:
  • Anders la Cour, Joakim Kromann (2011) ‘Euphemisms and hypocrisy in corporate philanthropy’, Business Ethics: A European Review [Preprint]. Available at:
  • ‘Organized hypocrisy, organizational façades, and sustainability reporting’ (no date). Available at:
  • Hines, R.D. (1988) ‘Financial accounting: In communicating reality, we construct reality’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 13(3), pp. 251–261. Available at:
  • Morgan, G. (1988) ‘Accounting as reality construction: Towards a new epistemology for accounting practice’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 13(5), pp. 477–485. Available at:
  • Chee Chiu Kwok, W. and Sharp, D. (2005) ‘Power and international accounting standard setting’, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 18(1), pp. 74–99. Available at:
  • Bengtsson, E. (2011) ‘Repoliticalization of accounting standard setting—The IASB, the EU and the global financial crisis’, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 22(6), pp. 567–580. Available at:
  • Cortese, C.L., Irvine, H.J. and Kaidonis, M.A. (2010) ‘Powerful players: How constituents captured the setting of IFRS 6, an accounting standard for the extractive industries’, Accounting Forum, 34(2), pp. 76–88. Available at:
  • Nobes, C. (2013) ‘The continued survival of international differences under IFRS’, Accounting and Business Research, 43(2), pp. 83–111. Available at:
  • Young, J.J. (2006) ‘Making up users’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 31(6), pp. 579–600. Available at:
  • Hines, R.D. (1989) ‘Financial Accounting Knowledge, Conceptual Framework Projects and the Social Construction of the Accounting Profession’, Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 2(2). Available at:
  • Zhang, Y. and Andrew, J. (2014) ‘Financialisation and the Conceptual Framework’, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 25(1), pp. 17–26. Available at:
  • Brown, J. and Fraser, M. (2006) ‘Approaches and perspectives in social and environmental accounting: an overview of the conceptual landscape’, Business Strategy and the Environment, 15(2), pp. 103–117. Available at:
  • Bebbington, J., Russell, S. and Thomson, I. (2017) ‘Accounting and sustainable development: Reflections and propositions’, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 48, pp. 21–34. Available at:
  • Gray, Rob (2010) ‘Is accounting for sustainability actually accounting for sustainability...and how would we know? An exploration of narratives of organisations and the planet’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 35(1), pp. 47–62. Available at:
  • Handy, C. (2002) ‘What’s a Business For?’, Harvard Business Review, 80(12), pp. 49–56. Available at:
  • Barth, Mary (2010) ‘How did Financial Reporting Contribute to the Financial Crisis?’, European Accounting Review, 19(3), pp. 399–423. Available at:
  • Christian Laux and Christian Leuz (2010) ‘Did Fair-Value Accounting Contribute to the Financial Crisis?’, The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 24(1), pp. 93–118. Available at:
  • Christian Laux and Christian Leuz (2009) ‘The crisis of fair-value accounting: Making sense of the recent debate’, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 34(6-7), pp. 826–834. Available at:
The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   AUTUMN TERM ESSAY   13/11/2023  66.8% 
Coursework   GROUP VIDEO PRESENTATION   13/03/2024  33.2% 
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:
Autumn Term: Rebecca Warren, Osamuyimen Egbon. Spring Term: Silvia Gaia & Alaaeldin Ahmed



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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