Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2018-2019 (archived)

Module ECON48615: Contemporary Issues in Accounting and Taxation

Department: Business School (Economics and Finance)

ECON48615: Contemporary Issues in Accounting and Taxation

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap None.
Tied to L1T509
Tied to N3K209


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enhance understanding of the key principles of financial and non-financial accounting and reporting, taxation and their associated frameworks;
  • To develop appreciation of the limitations of financial information;
  • To develop techniques in incorporating relevant non-financial information into reports for decision makers;
  • To develop knowledge of contemporary and evolving practice in non-financial reporting, particularly with respect to social, climate change and other environmental issues;
  • To develop knowledge of accounting and reporting theories and concepts;
  • To explore the changing global international environment in which professional accountants and businesses operate;
  • To explore ethical issues in accounting and taxation;
  • To explore contemporary research agendas in accounting, reporting and taxation.


  • Professionalism, reputation and ethics in business, accounting and reporting;
  • The changing business context in which accountants operate;
  • Contemporary developments in social, environmental and economic accounting and reporting practices;
  • Contemporary financial accounting issues;
  • The changing context and nature of narrative disclosures;
  • Corporate tax planning and regulatory responses;
  • International taxation systems;
  • Implications of technological developments on accounting and taxation;
  • Research agendas in accounting, reporting 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;
  • accounting treatments for short term and long term employee benefits, and share-based payment transactions;
  • the influence of narrative disclosure on understandability of corporate reports and performance;
  • the role of corporate reporting in influencing organisations and society;
  • conflicts of interest in corporate reporting and tax planning;
  • philosophies of professional ethics, transparency, accountability and ethical issues in taxation;
  • current developments in non-financial accounting and reporting.
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;
  • case study analysis;
Key Skills:
  • written communication
  • planning, organising and time management
  • problem-solving and analytical skills
  • working in a group to plan, organise, and deliver a group formative assignment

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 10 1 per week 2 hours 20
Seminars 4 1 per fortnight 1 hours 4
Formative presentation 1 Annual 2 hours 2
Preparation & Reading 124
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