Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module ECOS40315: Contemporary Issues in Accounting and Taxation

Department: Business School (Economics and Finance) [Queen's Campus, Stockton]

ECOS40315: Contemporary Issues in Accounting and Taxation

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap None.
Tied to L1T509


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enhance students' understanding of the key principles of accounting and taxation and their associated frameworks;
  • To develop students' appreciation of the limitations of financial information and of possible extensions to the accounting framework;
  • To develop knowledge of advanced accounting skills and concepts;
  • To explore the international environment in which professional accountants operate;
  • To explore ethical issues in accounting and taxation;
  • To explore contemporary research agendas in accounting and taxation.


  • Professionalism, Reputation and Ethics in Accounting;
  • Narrative Disclosures, Impression Management and Communication Clarity;
  • International Accounting and Harmonisation of Accounting Standards;
  • Advanced Financial Risk Management Techniques and Ethical Issues in Financial Management;
  • Corporate tax planning and Regulatory responses;
  • International Taxation Systems;
  • Implications of Technological Developments on Accounting and Taxation;
  • Research Agendas in Accounting and Taxation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students should have an advanced understanding and critical appreciation of:
  • differences in principles, concepts and treaties in international tax systems;
  • traditions of quality in financial reporting
  • the boundaries of financial information;
  • the influence of narrative disclosure on understandability of corporate reports and performance;
  • the role of corporate reporting in impression management;
  • conflicts of interest in corporate reporting and tax planning;
  • philosophies of professional ethics, and ethical issues in financial reporting and taxation;
  • the objectives and challenges of accounting standard harmonisation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to apply the following analytical techniques in an accounting context:
  • critical analysis of reasoning;
  • content analysis techniques;
  • paratextual analysis;
  • case study analysis;
  • development of analytical models to evaluate the impact of corporate repprting tools on communication clarity.
Key Skills:
  • written communication
  • planning, organising and time management
  • problem-solving and analytical skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Learning will be based on knowledge transfer from lectures, seminars and personal study; investigation of cases and real world organisations which underpin the seminars will encourage students to develop awareness of cultural differences and apply these to the development of their skills in managing themselves and others in such contexts.
  • Practical activities and discussions will develop students’ technical awareness of topics and their analytical skills.
  • The formative written assignment will provide feedback to students regarding their understanding of the main concepts and technical treatments, and the formative presentation will enhance their communication and presentation skills.
  • The summative written assignment will test students' knowledge and critical understanding of the material covered in the module, their analytical and problem-solving skills .

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 1 per week 2 hours 18
Seminars 4 1 per fortnight 2 hours 8
Formative presentation 1 Annual 2 hours 2
Preparation & Reading 122
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written assignment 2500 words (maximum) 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Group presentation and written report of 1000 words maximum. Additional formative assessment, and feedback, may take a number of forms such as oral feedback on work prepared by students for seminars; answers to questions either discussed during a seminar, or posted on DUO; discussions with teaching staff during consultation hours, or via e-mail.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University