ACCTING 3500 - Accounting Theory

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022

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 Accounting
    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)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2 and 3

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    3 and 4

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • 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, 2021, John Wiley & Sons, Australia (CAANZ Handbook) (or access to all Australian Accounting Standards, Interpretations and the Conceptual Framework available on the AASB website).

    * E-book is available.

    Students should 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.
    • 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 or watch recordings of lectures/workshops, watch recorded mini-lectures and podcasts, etc. and participate in one tutorial class each week.
    • Lecture/workshops 2 hours per week, which are recorded and avialable on MyUni, supplemented by podcasts and other recorded presentations available via MyUni
    • Tutorials: 1 hour per week, tutorials commence in 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
    • 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, including climate change disclosures and accounting for carbon trading
    • Developing research skills in accounting
  • 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
    TEST 1 Individual

    Week 5

    15% 1, 4
    Assignment Individual TBA 8% 1, 2, 4
    Tutorial Activities (incl. Short-answer writing task and homework) Individual Throughout 6% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Small Group Discovery Research Project Individual and Group TBA 16% 1, 2, 3, 4
    TEST 2 Individual Week 11 10% 1,4
    Final Exam Individual Exam Period 45% 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. 


    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. The assessment is based on a wide range of learning activities to better reflect your achievements of the learning outcomes throughout the course.

    Test 1 15% (week 5)
    An open-book, on-line, 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 will be posted on MyUni.

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

    Tutorial Activities: 6%

    This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 to 5, inclusive. Tutorial marks will be awarded for:
    A short-answer writing task (2%)
    Homework (average of four) (4%)

    Short-answer writing task: The writing task is intended to help develop your written communication skills. The writing task will be held on-line during week 3. If missed, the writing tasks 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.

    Small Group Discovery Reasearch Project(16%)
    This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 to 4, inclusive. The assessment of the research project comprises:
    An individual mark which is based on direct observation of participation in research project activities during tutorials (5%) and a designated individual component of the submission on the group research project (3%); and
    A group mark based on the designated group component of the submission on the group research project (8%).

    Test 2 10% (week 11)
    An open-book, on-line, one-hour test will cover topic 6.  This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 and 4. Further
    details will be posted on MyUni.

    Final Exam 45%
    The exam will be held in the University examination period. This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 to 5, inclusive.

    Assignments, inlcuding the research project, must be submitted electronically through MyUni. 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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