ACCTING 3013 - Public Sector Accountability

North Terrace Campus - Summer - 2020

This course aims to develop students? knowledge and skills pertaining to financial management and accountability in the public sector. Students are introduced to concepts and principles for effective stewardship and the evaluation of efficiency and performance in a range of public sector contexts. The course aims to develop students? skills in analysing financial information used within public sector organisations for activities such as planning, procurement and investment.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ACCTING 3013
    Course Public Sector Accountability
    Coordinating Unit Adelaide Business School
    Term Summer
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Summer offerings up to 16 hours per week, Semester offerings up to 4 hours per week.
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites ACCTING 1002
    Course Description This course aims to develop students? knowledge and skills pertaining to financial management and accountability in the public sector. Students are introduced to concepts and principles for effective stewardship and the evaluation of efficiency and performance in a range of public sector contexts. The course aims to develop students? skills in analysing financial information used within public sector organisations for activities such as planning, procurement and investment.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Sabine Schuhrer

    Course Timetable

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

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1. Explain the role of government in a modern democratic society; including all levels of government in Australia and the differences to the private sector with regard to accountability;
    2. Explain and critically evaluate major requirements and issues in public sector budgeting, accounting, performance management and auditing;
    3. Explain and critically discuss selective current issues and international developments in public sector accounting;
    4. Work professionally (i.e., independent, self-motivated and organised, reliable, show respect for others, competent) with a high level of engagement as an individual and in small groups;
    5. Communicate effectively with internal and external stakeholders
    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)
    1 - 3
    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 - 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
    4 & 5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1 - 5
    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
    1 - 5
    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
    4 & 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Funnell, W., Cooper, K. & Lee, J. (2012). Public sector accounting and accountability in Australia. (2 ed.). Sydney, Australia: UNSW Press.
    Additional required readings are listed on to MyUni.
    Recommended Resources
    As listed in MyUni
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course is designed as an interactive seminar/workshop style in intensive mode and is not recorded. This means that students are expected to attend all scheduled seminars, including excursions and presentations by guest speakers. Students are also expected to prepare, actively participate and contribute throughout the course.

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

    A full time course load equates to approximately 144 hours, including face-to-face, preparation and revision. As this course is offered in intensive mode, students are expected to devote significant hours outside of the workshops, from the beginning of the workshops until the exam.

    It is essential to prepare and revise the required readings and exercises performed in class.
    Learning Activities Summary

    1. Accountability in the Australian Public Sector and legislative foundations
    2. Introduction: A brief history of Government and the public sector in Australia;
    Constitutional and institutional framework of public sector accounting and accountability in Australia
    3. Basics of Public Sector Accounting in Australia and the budget cycle
    4. Selected Accounting Standards and Issues

    (Mid-semester quiz and Excursion)

    5. Selected Accounting Standards and Issues 
    6. Performance and sustainability reporting
    7. Public Sector Auditing
    8. Current Issues and International developments in public sector accounting and accountability

    For further information refer to MyUni.
  • 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


    25% 1, 2, 3, 5
    Professionalism Individual Throughout 10% 4, 5
    Final Exam Individual TBA 65% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    TOTAL 100%

    The assessment tasks are used to evaluate your knowledge of content covered in this course, your ability to apply it, your progress in achieving the learning objectives and your ability to demonstrate professional behaviour in Public Sector Accountability.

    Assessment Related Requirements

    To pass this course, students must have a satisfactory result in 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 Detail
    Mid-semester Test (25%)
    A closed-book test will covering sessions 1 to 4, inclusive during the scheduled lecture time in session 5. This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 and 4. Further details, including location(s), will be posted on MyUni.

    Professionalism (10%)

    This assessment component relates to student participation and engagement. Marks will be awarded by the workshop instructor based on elements such as punctuality, level of engagement/participation, preparedness and respectful interactions and communications with peers, guests and instructors. A maximum of 1 mark per workshop will be awarded. For workshops with guest speakers or excursions, a maximum of 2 marks are awarded. Punctual attendance and active listening are basic expectations and are not sufficient to obtain any marks. A maximum of 10 marks can be awarded for this component

    Final Exam (65%)

    There will be a three-hour exam. This assessment task relates to course learning outcomes 1 - 5. This is a closed book exam. All content discussed in the course, including lecture slides, documents and readings, as well as content presented by guest speakers and in excursion is assessable. You are not permitted to take a dictionary 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.

    No information currently available.

    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.

  • 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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