ACCTING 3500 - Accounting Theory

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

Topics may include theory development in accounting, normative accounting theories, positive accounting theories, ethics in accounting, social and environmental accounting issues, and professional judgement in accounting

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ACCTING 3500
    Course Accounting Theory
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Business School
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites ACCTING 2501
    Course Description Topics may include theory development in accounting, normative accounting theories, positive accounting theories, ethics in accounting, social and environmental accounting issues, and professional judgement in accounting
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Janice Loftus

    Course Co-Ordinator
    Associate Professor Janice Loftus
    Location: 13:10, Level 13, 10 Pulteney Street (Nexus 10)
    Telephone: 8313 1024

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

    1. Apply knowledge of accounting techniques, concepts, principles and theories to solve financial reporting problems.
    2. Apply a structured decision model to exercise judgement in the application of accounting standards.
    3. Work in teams to design and undertake a research project.
    4. Effectively utilise oral and written communication skills to communicate to peers.
    5. Apply the code of ethics for professional accountants to make sound decisions.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1, 2 and 3
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    3 and 4
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Rankin, M., K. Ferlauto, S. McGowan, and P. Stanton, Contemporary Issues in Accounting, 2018, 2nd edition, John Wiley and Sons, Australia.* AND

    Financial Reporting Handbook, 2020, John Wiley & Sons, Australia (CAANZ Handbook).

    * E-book is available.

    Students shouls use the most recent version. Students are permitted to use earlier editions of the Handbook but may place themselves at a disadvantage in doing so.
    At relevant sections of the course additional prescribed readings elaborate on, or supplement, items in the prescribed texts. These readings are provided via links on the course website (MyUni) or are available in the Barr Smith library.
    Recommended Resources
    If you are seeking additional reading in relation to assumed knowledge you should refer to:
    • Deegan, C. (2014). Financial Accounting Theory, 4th Edition.McGraw-Hill, Australia.
    • Godfrey, J., A. Hodgson, A. Tarca, J. Hamilton and S. Holmes, Accounting Theory, 7th Edition, 2010, John Wiley and Sons, Australia.
    • Henderson, S., G. Peirson, K. Herbohn, T. Artiach and B. Howieson (2017) Issues in Financial Accounting, 16th edition. Pearson Education Australia.
    • Leo, K., J. Knapp, S.McGowan and J. Sweeting (2015) Company Accounting, 10th Edition, John Wiley & Sons Australia.
    • Loftus, J., K. Leo, N. Boys, S. Daniliuc, B. Luke, H.N. Ang and K. Byrnes, (2020) Financial Reporting, 3rd edition, John Wiley & Sons Australia.
    • Loftus, J., K. Leo, S. Daniliuc, N. Boys, B. Luke, H.N. Ang and K. Byrnes, (2018) Financial Reporting, 2nd Edition, John Wiley & Sons Australia.
    • Picker, R., K. Clark, J. Dunn, D. Kolitz, G. Livne, J. Loftus and L. van der Tas, (2016), Applying IFRS Standards, 4th Edition, Wiley.
    Resources to assist in developing communication skills:

    The writing centre provides academic learning and language development services and resources for local and international students including drop-in consultations:

    Online Learning
    Students should refer to the course website for certain required readings and additional references as directed. The website also includes links to some useful websites.

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    At this advanced level of study you are much more responsible for the quality of your learning than when you first entered university. Accordingly, active rather than passive learning is emphasised. For each topic there are self-study questions; and tutorial questions.

    Self-study questions

    Self-study questions facilitate your comprehension of the content of the prescribed readings. Guidance on self-study questions is provided on MyUni. Your learning will be enhanced by attempting the questions before referring to the guidance notes to assess your response.

    Tutorial questions

    Tutorial questions are generally more challenging than self-study questions because they emphasise analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information, as well as the development of creative solutions to problems. There are two types of tutorial questions:

    • Tutorial questions that you should attempt in preparation for the tutorial; and
    • In-class activities, which are to be completed during tutorials.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Students in this course are expected to attend one lecture and one tutorial class each week.
    · Lectures : 2 hours per week, commencing week 1
    · Tutorials: 1 hour per week, Tutorials commencing week 2. 
    The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units/semester) to devote a total of 48 hours/week to their studies. Accounting Theory III is a three-unit course and you are expected to commit 8 - 9 hours of private study outside of your regular classes.
    Learning Activities Summary
    Please consult the MyUni site for this course for more detailed information regarding the course topics.

    The exercise of judgement in applying principles-based accounting standards
    Components of accounting policies: definition; recognition; measurement; and disclosure
    Application of accounting policy decision model
    Introduction to SGDE activities
    The role or ethics in accounting
    Economic consequences of accounting policy decisions - agency theory
    Capital markets theory and research in accounting
    Social and environmental reporting and accounting for carbon trading

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    The third-year stage of the the University of Adelaide Small Group Discovery Experience (SGDE) for accounting is implemented in this course.
    SGDE groups are formed within tutorials groupings. You have the option of forming your own group, provided all members are enrolled in the same tutorial. SGDE groups will be confirmed by week 4.
    Several skills workshops will be provided to help you (and your small group) on your journey of discovery. The skills workshops will be accommodated within the usual lecture timetable. The skills workshops will cover analysing questions, accessing on-line materials, giving and using feedback.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Mid-semester test Individual

    Week 5

    20% 1, 4
    Assignment Individual TBA 8% 1, 2, 4
    Tutorial Activities (incl. Short-answer writing tasks, Homework) Individual Throughout 8% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Report on Small Group Discovery Experience (SGDE) Individual and Group TBA 14% 1, 2, 3, 4
    Final Exam Individual Exam Period 50% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    TOTAL 100%

    Assessment Summary

    A variety of assessment tasks are used to evaluate your knowledge of content covered in this course, your ability to apply it and your progress in achieving the learning objectives for Accounting Theory III. 


    To pass this course, students must pass the final exam and achieve a total of at least 50% overall. Students not achieving the minimum exam mark will be awarded no more than 49.

    Assessment Related Requirements
    These guidelines apply to both the individual assignment and the group research report.
    Assignment Guidelines including Referencing Details: Correct referencing is important because it identifies the source of the ideas and arguments that you present and helps to avoid the problem of plagiarism. This course makes use of the “Harvard” system of referencing. Guidelines for the use of this style of referencing can be found in the Communication Skills Guide (link available on MyUni). This booklet also provides guidelines on a range of other important communication skills (including writing essays and reports, making oral presentations etc.).

    Late Assignment Submission: Students are expected to submit their work by the due date to maintain fairness and equity. Extensions will generally only be given for medical or other serious reasons. All requests for extensions must be emailed to the lecturer in charge of the course before the due date. Each request will be assessed on its merits. Unless subject to an extension (by prior arrangement) assignments will be penalised by a 10% mark reduction (10% of the maximum mark) for each day, or part thereof, that it is late.

    Extensions for assignments may be granted under special circumstances. An extension request based on illness or exceptional personal circumstances must include the Supporting Statement/Certification Form, of the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment application form.
    Students applying for an extension based on medical reasons must visit their medical practitioner, with that approved University form, and have the medical practitioner complete it. A doctor's certificate will not be accepted. Any student seeking an extension must contact the course co-ordinator PRIOR to the due date. Extensions, except on medical grounds, cannot be given after the due date.

    Marking of Assignments: Staff will aim to complete marking communicate feedback and grades to students within three weeks of submission.
    Assessment Detail
    Assessment Detail
    A summary of the assessment components is provided below. Comprehensive details for each assessment will be made available on MyUni.

    Mid-semester test 20% (week 5)
    This test will be held within the scheduled lecture time. A one hour test will cover topics one to three, inclusive, and include both short-answer style and multiple-choice questions. This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 and 4. Further details, including location(s), will be posted on MyUni.

    Individual Assignment 8%
    This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1, 2 and 4.

    Tutorial Activities: 8%

    This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 to 5, inclusive. Tutorial marks will be awarded for:
    Short-answer writing tasks (average of two) (4 marks)
    Homework (average of four) (4 marks)

    Short-answer writing tasks: The writing tasks are intended to help develop your written communication skills. The writing tasks will be held during tutorials (refer to MyUni for specific details for both writing tasks). Please note that the first writing task will be held in week 3. Writing task will be scheduled at the beginning of tutorial classes, unless specified otherwise by your tutor. Writing tasks can only be taken in your enrolled tutorial.  Missed tests cannot be 'made up' on another occasion for any reason (including medical). Requests for special consideration may be made in accordance with University policy and, if granted, will be addressed by reweighting of assessment.

    Homework: Completed homework must be uploaded on MyUni each week by 6.00 p.m. one day before your scheduled tutorial. The homework will be assessed four times per semester. Students are not given prior knowledge of the weeks in which homework will be assessed.

    Report on Small Group Discovery Experience (SGDE) (14%)
    This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 to 4, inclusive. The assessment of the SGDE comprises:
    An individual mark which is based on direct observation of participation in SGDE activities during tutorials and a designated individual component of the group research report (6%); and
    A group mark based on the designated group component of the group research report (8%).

    Final Exam 50%
    There will be a three-hour exam. This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 to 5, inclusive. The Financial Reporting Handbook will be permitted in the examination (Hard copies only; e-books not permitted). This must be unannotated and contain no inserts, tabs, other material or coded messages in any form. It is permissible for the Handbook to include highlighted text and/or underlining. Handbooks will be checked and offenders may face penalties for cheating. In this course, only calculators incapable of storing text are permitted in the examination. You are not permitted to take a DICTIONARY (English or English-Foreign) into the examination. Legible hand-writing and the quality of English expression are considered to be integral parts of the assessment process. Poor or illegible handwriting may result in marks not being awarded.

    Assignments and SGDE research reports must be submitted electronically through MyUni Turnitin Assignments, which is a computer programme that detects plagiarism. Please retain copies of your submitted work.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

    We acknowledge the contribution of feedback from past students in our endeavours to provide a more effective learning environment.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

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