• Class Number 4827
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Sarah Adams
    • Dr Louise Lu
    • Dr Sarah Adams
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

The objective of this course is to provide the student with the opportunity to obtain a sound knowledge of normative, positive and critical theories of accounting. The course begins by examining the nature of theories and alternative forms of logic. The conceptual framework and key contemporary and historical accounting issues are examined, highlighting the role of theory in understanding current accounting standards, accounting practice and the use of accounting information by the myriad stakeholders in reporting entities. Throughout the course examples of the relationship between theories of accounting and decisions facing real people (accountants and financial statement users) are highlighted.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. have read more widely in accounting;
  2. have acquired a deeper and more critical appreciation of what defines contemporary accounting practice, and more importantly, what it is that should define the nature, scope and future of accounting;
  3. be familiar with concepts of theory development and theories of accounting policy choice, measurement of economic income and the societal use of accounting information;
  4. have achieved a deeper understanding of selected contemporary issues in accounting;
  5. have developed an ability to critically analyse these issues within the theoretical framework developed earlier in the course.

Research-Led Teaching

This course builds on current research to examine contemporary issues in accounting, which includes research in other disciplines such as finance and economics. The course adopts an interactive approach to learning and teaching and draws from active learning pedagogies. Students are encouraged to be an active participant in the learning process.

Required Resources

Prescribed Text

Deegan, Craig. Financial Accounting Theory, 4th edition, McGraw-Hill, 2013.

The required text is available for purchase from the bookshop on campus.

A small number of copies of the textbook are also available for 2 hour loan in the reserve loan section of the Chifley Library.

Prescribed Readings

Students will be required to complete prescribed readings each week to complete the prescribed tutorial questions. The prescribed readings for each week will be listed on Wattle in advance. Some weeks will require students to access journal articles from the ANU Library website - links for these will be posted on Wattle in the relevant week.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in various ways in this course, including verbal or written feedback on the return of assessment tasks, during class discussion, or during consultation with lecturers and tutors.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The greatest benefit from lectures is obtained by reading the relevant material in advance of attending the lectures and participating in discussion during tutorials. Students are required to prepare the relevant set of questions in advance of attending tutorials and come to tutorials prepared to discuss the issues involved, and any difficulties encountered in responding to the set questions and areas in which they are in need of clarification.


As a further academic integrity control, students may be selected for a 15 minute individual oral examination of their written assessment submissions.

Any student identified, either during the current semester or in retrospect, as having used ghost writing services will be investigated under the University’s Academic Misconduct Rule.



Email and the Wattle Course Website

Email and the Wattle course website are the preferred ways of communication.

If necessary, the lecturer and tutors for this course will contact students on their official ANU student email address. Students should use this email address when contacting staff as spam filters used by ANU may not allow other email addresses to be received. Information about your enrolment and fees from the Registrar and Student Services' office will also be sent to this email address.


Students are expected to check the Wattle site for announcements about this course, e.g. changes to timetables or notifications of cancellations. Notifications of emergency cancellations of lectures or tutorials will be posted on the door of the relevant room.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to course. Introduction to theories and their application to accounting. No tutorials in Week 1.
2 Positive accounting theory I – introduction and agency theory Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
3 Positive accounting theory II – earnings management and accounting policy choice Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
4 Positive accounting theory III - behavioural accounting research Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
5 Regulation of financial accounting Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
6 The Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
7 Capital market response to accounting reports I Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
8 Capital market response to accounting reports II Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
9 Corporate Social Responsibility Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
10 Alternative Measurement Approaches I Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
11 Alternative Measurement Approaches II Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.
12 Alternative Measurement Approaches III Required readings will be indicated on Wattle. Tutorial questions will be placed on Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Referencing exercise (5%) 5 % 25/03/2020 03/04/2020 1,2,3,4
Research Essay (30%) 30 % 13/05/2020 27/05/2020 1,2,3,4,5,6
Final Exam (65%) 65 % * * 1,2,3,4,5,6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Materials permitted in the exam venue:

·        No electronic aids are permitted e.g. laptops, phones

·        Dictionary – for candidates with written approval from School

Details regarding materials and equipment that is permitted in an examination room can be found on the ANU website:


Information regarding permitted examination materials for the course will be available on the examination timetable website when the examination timetable is released:


Assessment Task 1

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 25/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 03/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Referencing exercise (5%)

Purpose: To ensure that students are in no doubt as to the level of referencing required in a scholarly paper, to critically analyse a scholarly article, and to identify and organise sources relevant to the completion of the research essay.

This assessment task is optional. If you fail to submit this assessment task by the due date, the weighting of your final exam will increase by 5%.

Outline: This task will be completed individually. You will complete two tasks (1) a summary and critical review of a selected academic article, with correct referencing and (2) identifying sources and referencing them correctly using the Harvard referencing system; and an outline of the scholarly articles chosen for the Research Essay and indication of how they will use them.

This assessment is due 6pm AEDT on Wednesday 25 March 2020 (Week 5) through Turnitin (Wattle). Late submission not permitted.

Further details on this assessment will be provided on Wattle in Week 1.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 13/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 27/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research Essay (30%)

Purpose: To critically analyse a selected contemporary issue in financial accounting.

Outline: The Research Essay examines your ability to critical analyse a selected contemporary issue in financial accounting. It is expected that your essay will be broadly researched, clear, well reasoned and argued, and that it will draw upon a considerable range of source material.

This task will be completed individually.

This assessment task is optional. If you fail to submit this assessment task by the due date, the weighting of your final exam will increase by 30%.

Assessment Criteria: The Research Essay will be assessed based upon the following criteria:

Evidence of scholarly research: extent of literature review, relevance of articles, substantiation of arguments with references to literature.

Depth and relevance of discussion: coverage and depth in the focus areas of the essay, demonstration of knowledge and understanding of theory.

Critical analysis: level of critical analysis, argumentation, originality of ideas and insight.

Written expression: effective language and writing (including attention to grammar and sentence construction), structure and coherence of the essay as a whole.

Consistency with academic conventions: correct and consistent referencing, formatting and abiding by word count.

This assessment is due 6pm AEST on Wednesday 13 May 2020 (Week 10) through Turnitin (Wattle). Late submission not permitted.

 Further details on the Research Essay will be placed on course Wattle website in Week 1.      

Assessment Task 3

Value: 65 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Final Exam (65%)

The final exam is a 3-hour exam.

If you fail to submit either/both of the Referencing Exercise and/or Research Essay, then the weighting of the final exam will increase proportionally up to 100%

Centrally administered examinations through Examinations, Graduations & Prizes will be timetabled prior to the examination period. Please check ANU Timetabling for further information. Exam scripts will not be returned. Students may review their exam scripts by appointment during scheduled sessions at the RSA School Office.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education), submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. Submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned using the course Wattle site.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Students may not resubmit assignments.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Sarah Adams
+61 2 6125 4857

Research Interests

Sarah Adams' research interests can be found from the following link: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/about/staff-directory/?profile=Sarah-Adams

Dr Sarah Adams

Dr Louise Lu
+61 2 6125 4859

Research Interests

Dr Louise Lu

Dr Sarah Adams
+61 2 6125 4857

Research Interests

Dr Sarah Adams

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions