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ACC5216 Accounting Theory

Semester 3, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business and Law
School or Department : School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Teruyo Omura
Moderator: Raymond Leong


Pre-requisite or Co-requisite: ACC5213 and ACC5215

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at


Many students ask why do we have to study theory? This course answers this question for accounting to show how theories underpin not just about everything we do in our lives but also the practice of accounting. Theories are just that, someone’s view of phenomena. So theories must be looked at with a critical eye, not taken on blindly. They can help us make decisions providing benefits including explaining current practice, providing some principles for taking decision actions and identifying problems so that we can improve our professional practice. Students may then be able to move from what we now do (positive theory) to what we would like to do (normative theory) making a contribution to the accounting profession in the form of ideas and recommendations for a better world.


This course introduces students to the theory that underpins accounting practice. Using established accounting theories, the factors or incentives that exist for preparers of financial reports are investigated. These factors require consideration when making financial reporting decisions or evaluating the decisions of others. The primary objective of this course is to overlay theory concepts and a framework to accounting practice from a critical perspective so students see the relevance of theory to practice. This includes an investigation of the popular theories and evidence in regard to financial reporting. The financial reporting issues addressed include the choice of accounting methods, voluntary disclosures, environmental performance reporting and the regulation of financial reporting. As a capstone course for the accounting major, students will be asked to bring together all their learned knowledge of accounting from separate courses and take a critical look at theory and practice of accounting.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate effective communication skills to a tertiary academic standard (as specified in Communication skills handbook for accounting) in assessment tasks
  2. demonstrate problem solving, critical thinking and judgement skills to the level of threshold learning outcomes for accounting through assessment tasks
  3. demonstrate the ability to undertake independent research outside the prescribed course materials and communicate those research findings in assessment tasks
  4. explain how the development and application of accounting theories enhances decision making in accounting and identify the factors to consider when making or evaluating those decisions
  5. critically evaluate conceptual framework and different accounting models with respect to the fundamental problem of financial reporting
  6. evaluate the influence of accounting information on investor behaviour and share prices using the empirical evidence from capital markets research
  7. outline, apply and evaluate the accounting theories that are used to explain and predict accounting practices
  8. outline the contribution that behavioural research has made towards understanding the role of accounting information and the influence of accounting information on behaviour and decision processes
  9. assess the construction and application of accounting theories from an ethical perspective
  10. critically evaluate each of the accounting theories and research methods covered in this course and make a determination as to their usefulness to accounting practice
  11. apply the insights gained from the theories and evidence presented in this course to the issue of whether the reporting of accounting information should be regulated.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Relevance of accounting theory to practice 5.00
2. Conceptual framework 10.00
3. Regulatory environment 10.00
4. Normative approach to accounting 10.00
5. Positive accounting approach 10.00
6. Impact of capital markets on accounting practice 10.00
7. Systems oriented theories 10.00
8. Extended systems of accounting 10.00
9. Behavioural aspects of accounting 10.00
10. Ideology, ethics and governance in accounting theory and practice 5.00
11. Contemporary issues in accounting 5.00
12. Critical perspectives on accounting theory 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Rankin, M, Stanton, P, McGowan, S, Ferlauto, K & Tilling, M 2012, Contemporary issues in accounting, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Queensland.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Gaffikin, MJR 2008, Accounting theory research, regulation and accounting practice, Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest, New South Wales.
  • Godfrey, J, Hodgson, A, Holmes, S & Tarca, A 2010, Accounting theory, 7th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Queensland.
  • Henderson, S, Peirson, G & Harris, K 2004, Financial accounting theory, Prentice Hall, Frenchs Forest, New South Wales.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 33.00
Directed Study 39.00
Private Study 93.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ONLINE TEST 10 5 29 Nov 2013 (see note 1)
CASE STUDIES 30 15 20 Dec 2013
ASSIGNMENT 50 20 10 Jan 2014
EXAMINATION PART A 15 15 End S3 (see note 2)

  1. Further details of assessments will be provided on the course StudyDesk during the semester.
  2. The examination is scheduled to be held in the end-of-semester examination period. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    If you are an international student in Australia, you are advised to attend all classes at your campus. For all other students, there are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval of the examiner, then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the examination for this course are:
    1. writing materials. These must be non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination.
    2. translation dictionary. With the examiner's approval, candidates may take an appropriate non-electronic translation dictionary into the examination room. This will be subject to perusal and, if it is found to contain annotations or markings that could give the candidate an unfair advantage, it may be removed from the candidate's possession until the appropriate disciplinary action is completed.
    Students are not permitted to take mobile telephones, pagers or other electronic means of communication into the examination room.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Assignments:
    1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment via the assignment drop box located on the USQ Study Desk for this course. It is the responsibility of the student to confirm successful submission of assignments. The onus is on the student to provide proof of submission, if requested by the examiner.
    2. If requested, students will be required to provide a copy of an assignment submitted for assessment purposes. This should be despatched to the USQ within 24 hours of receipt of a request being made.
    3. The examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances. If students wish to claim extenuating circumstances, the student must apply via email to the examiner stating the extenuating circumstances PRIOR to relevant due date. The examiner shall consider the statement and decide on the outcome. If granted an extension, the student shall provide, via post or facsimile, validated documentary evidence confirming the extenuating circumstances outlined in their email and a copy of the extension approval emailed by the examiner. No extension will be granted if an extension is applied for after the due date of the assignment, for example, a request for an extension included with the late assignment will not be granted.
    4. Students must use their name as the file name for the assignment and ensure that the document is adequately named for identification purposes.
    5. The examiner will not accept submission of assignments by facsimile or email.
    6. Students who do not have regular access to Internet services or who are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner to negotiate such special arrangements PRIOR to the submission date.
    7. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the first page of the assignment document the date of the public holiday for the examiner's convenience.

  2. Course weightings:
    Course weightings of topics should not be interpreted as applying to the number of marks allocated to questions testing those topics in an examination paper. The examination may test material already tested in assignments.

  3. Referencing in assignments:
    Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide at

  4. Deferred work:
    Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded: IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination); IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  5. Dishonest actions:
    1. Any student who is alleged to have performed a dishonest action relating to any assessment in the course will have a course of action taken against him/her as outlined in the academic regulations.
    2. Pieces of assessment should be the work of individual students. Joint pieces of assessment are not permitted unless written approval has been obtained from the examiner.
    3. Dishonest action in relation to assessment includes: copying or attempting to copy the work of others; use of or attempting to use information prohibited from use in that form of assessment; submitting the work of another as your own; consciously committing acts of plagiarism, that is, taking and using another's thoughts or writings as one's own with intent to deceive, which occurs when paragraphs, sentences, a single sentence or significant parts of a sentence which are copied directly, are not enclosed in quotation marks and appropriately referenced in the student's work; direct quotations are not used, but text is paraphrased or summarised, and the source of the material is not acknowledged by footnoting or other reference in the text.

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at