Critical Debates in Accounting

The details
Essex Business School
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
24 January 2024


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 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

This module explores critical debates on accounting by locating the subject within a variety of economic, political, social, and cultural contexts. The module goes on to evaluate contemporary accounting research and developments in the context of practical 'real-life' business case studies. The module discusses and applies conventional and contemporary (management) accounting principles and techniques to practical problems and scenarios. In the light of recent dramatic changes to the business environment such as deregulation, globalisation, climate change, financial scandals, environmental disasters and violation of human rights, the module looks at accounting from a broad perspective. Key issues such as gender budgeting, performance measurement and environmental accounting will be examined in detail. The module also critically evaluates the diffusion of accounting systems in the third and public sector and critically appraises the influence of new organizational forms and new technologies on the role of accounting nationally and internationally.

Module aims

This module aims:
1. to provide students with broader understanding of accounting systems by locating it within socio-political, socio-economic and socio-cultural contexts;
2. to support and encourage education and learning, and foster the capacity for individual study;
3. to encourage and facilitate critical, analytical thinking as a foundation for subsequent academic study, employment and personal development;
4. to provide the necessary support to enable the successful completion of the degree;
5. to develop active learning and self-assessment skills.

Module learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:
1. Gain an appreciation of the importance of keeping abreast of current and future research into the field of accounting given the ever-evolving competitive environment and the wider context in which accounting operates.
2. Develop an understanding of accounting within an economic, political, social and cultural context.
3. Understand global management control practices and the role of accounting information in globalisation and privatisation.
4. Develop an understanding of accounting’s role in organisational change, creativity and innovation.
5. Understand comparative accounting practices in varied contexts.

Module information

Skills for Your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)

The module aims to develop a variety of personal transferable skills in different analytical domains:
* Students are expected to develop academic and cognitive skills such as creative problem solving, synthesising and bringing together concepts and ideas discussed throughout the lectures, which is linked to critical thinking -i.e., forming a judgement based on available facts, observations and arguments. Also, improving argumentation and essay writing skills are expected;
* By analysing the range of academic literature discussed during the module students are expected to enhance their data analysis skills;
* The module also aims to provide students with experiences related to teamwork and group presentation, improving soft skills (as teamwork and showing leadership) but also communication skills (such as understanding how to present successfully and confidently);
* Students should develop core IT skills (e.g., MSword, MSexcel, PowerPoint, outlook); and
* Accounting specific skills, such as developing imaginative thinking within the accounting field and appreciating new ways of seeing accounting such as accounting for gender inequality or accounting for the environment.

Learning and teaching methods

The module will be delivered over 10 weeks, consisting of one 2-hour lecture per week. Students are required to attend all lectures. They are expected to prepare for these sessions in advance by undertaking the essential readings. During the lectures, students are expected to participate actively by leading/taking part in class discussions and/or responding to issues raised by teaching staff or peers. NB: The week numbers referred to here and throughout the booklet are based on the University's academic year calendar


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

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Assignment 1 - Essay  04/03/2024  80% 
Coursework   Assignment 2 - Group Presentation  18/03/2024  20% 

Additional coursework information

The written coursework will be an essay. The question will require students to reflect and provide their own opinion/arguments on selected accounting topics, which means that there is no right or wrong answer. However, students are also expected to engage in their own reading for the written essay and conduct relevant library research for material above and beyond what is given in the lecture.

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
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Andre Lino, email:
Dr André Lino, Dr Anne Steinhoff



External examiner

Dr Pingli Li
University of Southampton
Associate Professor
Dr Alvise Favotto
University of Glasgow
Senior Lecturer in Accounting
Available via Moodle
Of 28 hours, 28 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Essex Business School

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