Studying Accounting at UNSW Business School
ACCT5996
Postgraduate
Semester 1
6 Units of Credit
On Campus
Accounting

1. Course Details

Summary of Course

This course examines the use of financial and non-financial information for the purpose of analysing business processes to achieve superior organisational performance. The course introduces a number of management accounting tools and quantitative techniques that can be used to analyse how business processes consume resources, create value for a firm and its customers, and how this value may be analysed for improvement opportunities.

Teaching Times and Locations

Please note that teaching times and locations are subject to change. Students are strongly advised to refer to the Class Timetable website for the most up-to-date teaching times and locations.

View course timetable

Course Policies & Support

Course Aims and Relationship to Other Courses

This course is offered as part of a range of postgraduate coursework programs, including the Master of Professional Accounting. ACCT5930 or COMM5003 are prerequisites or co-requisites for this course. ACCT5996 is a prerequisite for a certain other management accounting courses available in relevant postgraduate coursework programs (refer to the UNSW Handbook for further details).

Note: This course is not available to students who have completed ACCT2522 in the last three years.

2. Staff Contact Details

Position Title Name Email Location Phone Consultation Times
Lecturer-in-chargeAProfPaul AndonRoom 3084, Quadrangle building - Ref E15+61 2 9385 5821Please refer to the Course Website on Moodle for consultation times.

Details of all other seminar facilitators for this course will be posted on the Course Moodle site.

3. Learning and Teaching Activities

Approach to Learning and Teaching in the Course

At university, the focus is on your self-directed search for knowledge. Seminars, textbooks, exams and other resources are all provided to help you learn. It is therefore essential to prepare for class as instructed each week (refer to the weekly Seminar Preparation Guide), and to proactively participate in class.

Remember that your preparation is tied to participation points, which contribute to your Course Contribution mark.

Learning Activities and Teaching Strategies

Lectures and Seminars

The first and last weeks of this course are delivered in a large lecture format (2 hours each). The intention of the first week is to introduce you to the course and to basic management accounting concepts and ideas. The last week will recap the course content, and demonstrate the management accounting competencies you have developed over the course of the term.

All other weeks are delivered in small group seminars (3 hours each week), where you will develop your technical skills in management accounting calculation, your skills in applying management accounting techniques to organisational situations and problems, explore more deeply issues relating to the design, implementation, and use of management accounting techniques. A particular focus of each seminar will be an in-depth case study, where you will work closely with your designated seminar group to explore more complex management accounting issues associated with each topic.

Your success in completing this case with your group is heavily depending on you preparing for each seminar as instructed, including by completing the required readings, and completing pre-class assignment questions. Your preparation will be reward through participation points, which will contribute to your Course Contribution mark.

5. Course Resources

The website for this course is on Moodle.

The required textbook for this course is:

  • Langfield-Smith, K., Smith, D., Andon, P., Hilton, R.W., and Thorne, H. (2018) Management Accounting: Information for Creating and Managing Value, 8th edition (ebook).

The link to the eBook is available from the course Moodle site.

In addition to this required text, other supplementary reading materials may be issued as appropriate (refer to your Seminar Preparation Guide each week for details).

Please note that it is against Australian copyright laws to photocopy, take photos, scan, or otherwise copy anything more than a reasonable portion of the required textbook.

If you bring anything other than a genuine version of the ebook to class, you will be asked to leave the class and obtain a genuine copy.

6. Course Evaluation & Development

Each year feedback is sought from students and other stakeholders about the courses offered in the School and continual improvements are made to courses based on this feedback. UNSW's myExperience survey is one of the ways in which student evaluative feedback is gathered. In this course, we will seek your feedback through end of semester myExperience responses.

We will ask students to complete the survey to provide overall feedback about the course in general and make constructive comments concerning how we could improve the course.

7. Course Schedule

Week 1: 26 Feb
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Introduction and Basic Management Accounting Concepts

Assessment/Other

This introductory lecture is intended to provide an introduction to the course and to basic concepts and ideas related to management accounting. We will define management accounting, its general objectives, and describe contemporary changes in management accounting practices and the role of the management accountant.

Week 2: 05 Mar
Activity

Seminar

Topic

Cost Behaviour: Drivers, Estimation and Analysis

Assessment/Other

The first of our weekly seminars. This week concentrates on the importance of understanding cost behaviour as part of management accounting and business analysis. We will define various forms of cost behaviour, estimate cost functions through specified quantitative techniques, and apply this knowledge to cost-volume-profit analysis.

Weekly online activities due

Week 3: 12 Mar
Activity

Seminar

Topic

Cost Allocation: Traditional and Activity-Based Methods

Assessment/Other

This focuses on costing, particularly in relation to allocation approaches for indirect or overhead costs. We introduce, compare, and apply both traditional and activity-based costing methods for overhead allocation.

Weekly online activities due

Week 4: 19 Mar
Activity

Seminar

Topic

Budgeting

Assessment/Other

This week we focus on budgets and discuss their importance for organisational planning and control. We will examine the components of the master budget and apply processes through which budgets are prepared.

First Team Peer- and Self- Assessment due

Weekly online activities due

Week 5: 26 Mar
Activity

No class

Topic

n/a

Assessment/Other

n/a

Week 6: 09 Apr
Activity

Seminar

Topic

Standard Costs and Variances for Control

Assessment/Other

This week focuses on alternative budget approaches (flexible budgeting, activity-based budgeting), and introduce standard costs, and variance analysis for cost control. We will explore how standards are set and used in planning and managing resources. We will calculate and interpret direct materials and direct labour variances. We will also discuss approaches used to consider the significance of variances, responsibility for them, and the need for corrective action.

Weekly online activities due

Week 7: 16 Apr
Activity

Seminar

Topic

Managing Performance and Incentives

Assessment/Other

This week considers how and why firms choose to decentralize, and how this relates to a need for responsibility accounting. We will compute and interpret selected measures of investment centre performance, such as ROI, RI and EVA. We will also examine the role of transfer pricing in decentralised firms and consider methods of transfer price setting. Finally, we will examine incentive schemes as means shaping motivation through performance measurement.

Second Team Peer- and Self- Assessment due

Weekly online activities due

Week 8: 23 Apr
Activity

No Class

Topic

n/a

Assessment/Other

n/a

Week 9: 30 Apr
Activity

Seminar

Topic

Managing Costs

Assessment/Other

This week will focus on using accounting information to manage resources for greater value. In line with this, we will introduce Life-Cycle Costing, Target costing, and Activity-Based Management as tools that can assist with identifying important business improvement opportunities.

Weekly online activities due

Week 10: 07 May
Activity

Seminar

Topic

Managing Quality and Throughput

Assessment/Other

A continuation of the topic from last week – the focus remains on using accounting information to manage resources for greater value. This week will the focus on two further business improvement concepts – quality management and the theory of constraints.

Weekly online activities due

Week 11: 14 May
Activity

Seminar

Topic

Tactical and Capital Investment Decisions

Assessment/Other

Tactical and Capital Investment Decisions

This is the last of the weekly seminars. This week will examine how to create relevant information for tactical decisions relating to common short-term decision-making scenarios. Analysis of capital investment opportunities, using various approaches, will also be explored.

Third and Final Team Peer- and Self- Assessment due

Weekly online activities due

 

Week 12: 21 May
Activity

Lecture

Topic

Capstone Lecture and Final Exam Overview

Assessment/Other

This final lecture aims to review what we have learned over the course of the semester, and overview what will be assessed for the final exam, and review important study techniques and exam tips for the final examination.

8. Policies

Information about UNSW Business School protocols, University policies, student responsibilities and education quality and support.

Program Learning Goals and Outcomes

The Business School Program Learning Goals reflect what we want all students to BE or HAVE by the time they successfully complete their degree, regardless of their individual majors or specialisations. For example, we want all our graduates to HAVE a high level of business knowledge and a sound awareness of ethical, social, cultural and environmental implications of business. As well, we want all our graduates to BE effective problem-solvers, communicators and team participants.

You can demonstrate your achievement of these goals by the specific outcomes you achieve by the end of your degree (i.e. Program Learning Outcomes—henceforth PLOs). These PLOs articulate what you need to know and be able to do as a result of engaging in learning. They embody the knowledge, skills and capabilities that are identified, mapped, taught, practised and assessed within each Business School program.

All UNSW programs and courses are designed to assess the attainment of program and/or course level learning outcomes, as outlined in the UNSW Assessment Design Procedure. It is therefore important that you become familiar with the Business School PLOs, as they constitute the framework which informs and shapes the course components and assessments of the courses within your program of study.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Undergraduate
  • Postgraduate Coursework
Knowledge You should be able to identify and apply disciplinary knowledge to business situations in a local and global environment.
Critical thinking and problem solving You should be able to identify and research issues in business situations, analyse the issues, and propose appropriate and well-justified solutions.
Written communication You should be able to prepare written documents that are clear, concise and coherent, using appropriate style and presentation for the intended audience, purpose and context.
Oral communication You should be able to prepare and deliver oral presentations that are clear, focussed, well-structured, and delivered in a professional manner.
Teamwork You should be able to participate collaboratively and responsibly in teams, and reflect on your own teamwork, and on the team’s processes and ability to achieve outcomes.
Ethical, social and environmental responsibility
  1. You should be able to identify and assess ethical, environmental and/or sustainability considerations in business decision-making and practice.
  2. You should be able to identify social and cultural implications of business.
Workplace skills (Co-op programs only) You should be able to conduct yourself in a professional manner in the work environment, communicate effectively in diverse workplace situations and be able to apply discipline knowledge and understanding to real business problems with initiative and self-direction.
Related PLO Documents View the Undergraduate Honours PLOs (pdf)
Knowledge You should be able to identify and apply current knowledge of disciplinary or interdisciplinary theory and professional practice to business in local and global environments.
Critical thinking and problem solving You should be able to identify, research and analyse complex issues and problems in business and/or management, and propose appropriate and well-justified solutions.
Written communication You should be able to produce written documents that communicate complex disciplinary ideas and information effectively for the intended audience and purpose.
Oral communication You should be able to produce oral presentations that communicate complex disciplinary ideas and information effectively for the intended audience and purpose.
Teamwork You should be able to participate collaboratively and responsibly in teams, and reflect on your own teamwork, and on the team’s processes and ability to achieve outcomes.
Ethical, social and environmental responsibility
  1. You should be able to identify and assess ethical, environmental and/or sustainability considerations in business decision-making and practice.
  2. You should be able to identify social and cultural implications of business.
Related PLO Documents View the Master of Philosophy PLOs (pdf)
View the Doctor of Philosophy PLOs (pdf)

UNSW Graduate Capabilities

The Business School PLOs also incorporate UNSW graduate capabilities, a set of generic abilities and skills that all students are expected to achieve by graduation. These capabilities articulate the University’s institutional values, as well as future employer expectations.

UNSW Graduate CapabilitiesBusiness School PLOs
Scholars capable of independent and collaborative enquiry, rigorous in their analysis, critique and reflection, and able to innovate by applying their knowledge and skills to the solution of novel as well as routine problems.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Knowledge
  • Oral communication
  • Research capability
  • Teamwork
  • Workplace skills
  • Written communication
Entrepreneurial leaders capable of initiating and embracing innovation and change, as well as engaging and enabling others to contribute to change
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Knowledge
  • Oral communication
  • Workplace skills
  • Written communication
Professionals capable of ethical, self- directed practice and independent lifelong learning
  • Ethical, social and environmental responsibility
  • Workplace skills
Global citizens who are culturally adept and capable of respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.
  • Ethical, social and environmental responsibility
  • Oral communication
  • Written communication

The Business School strongly advises you to choose a range of courses that assist your development against these PLOs and graduate capabilities, and to keep a record of your achievements as part of your portfolio. You could use these records for work or further study. For support with selecting your courses contact the UNSW Business School Student Centre.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

Academic Integrity is honest and responsible scholarship. This form of ethical scholarship is highly valued at UNSW. Terms like Academic Integrity, misconduct, referencing, conventions, plagiarism, academic practices, citations and evidence based learning are all considered basic concepts that successful university students understand. Learning how to communicate original ideas, refer sources, work independently, and report results accurately and honestly are skills that you will be able to carry beyond your studies.

The definition of academic misconduct is broad. It covers practices such as cheating, copying and using another person’s work without appropriate acknowledgement. Incidents of academic misconduct may have serious consequences for students.

Plagiarism

UNSW regards plagiarism as a form of academic misconduct. UNSW has very strict rules regarding plagiarism. Plagiarism at UNSW is using the words or ideas of others and passing them off as your own. All Schools in the Business School have a Student Ethics Officer who will investigate incidents of plagiarism and may result in a student’s name being placed on the Plagiarism and Student Misconduct Registers.

Below are examples of plagiarism including self-plagiarism:

Copying: Using the same or very similar words to the original text or idea without acknowledging the source or using quotation marks. This includes copying materials, ideas or concepts from a book, article, report or other written document, presentation, composition, artwork, design, drawing, circuitry, computer program or software, website, internet, other electronic resource, or another person's assignment, without appropriate acknowledgement of authorship.

Inappropriate Paraphrasing: Changing a few words and phrases while mostly retaining the original structure and/or progression of ideas of the original, and information without acknowledgement. This also applies in presentations where someone paraphrases another’s ideas or words without credit and to piecing together quotes and paraphrases into a new whole, without appropriate referencing.

Collusion: Presenting work as independent work when it has been produced in whole or part in collusion with other people. Collusion includes:

  • Students providing their work to another student before the due date, or for the purpose of them plagiarising at any time
  • Paying another person to perform an academic task and passing it off as your own
  • Stealing or acquiring another person’s academic work and copying it
  • Offering to complete another person’s work or seeking payment for completing academic work

Collusion should not be confused with academic collaboration (i.e., shared contribution towards a group task).

Inappropriate Citation: Citing sources which have not been read, without acknowledging the 'secondary' source from which knowledge of them has been obtained.

Self-Plagiarism: ‘Self-plagiarism’ occurs where an author republishes their own previously written work and presents it as new findings without referencing the earlier work, either in its entirety or partially. Self-plagiarism is also referred to as 'recycling', 'duplication', or 'multiple submissions of research findings' without disclosure. In the student context, self-plagiarism includes re-using parts of, or all of, a body of work that has already been submitted for assessment without proper citation.

To see if you understand plagiarism, do this short quiz: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism-quiz

Cheating

The University also regards cheating as a form of academic misconduct. Cheating is knowingly submitting the work of others as their own and includes contract cheating (work produced by an external agent or third party that is submitted under the pretences of being a student’s original piece of work). Cheating is not acceptable at UNSW.

If you need to revise or clarify any terms associated with academic integrity you should explore the 'Working with Academic Integrity' self-paced lessons available at: https://student.unsw.edu.au/aim.

For UNSW policies, penalties, and information to help you avoid plagiarism see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/plagiarism as well as the guidelines in the online ELISE tutorials for all new UNSW students: http://subjectguides.library.unsw.edu.au/elise. For information on student conduct see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/conduct.

For information on how to acknowledge your sources and reference correctly, see: https://student.unsw.edu.au/referencing. If you are unsure what referencing style to use in this course, you should ask the lecturer in charge.

Student Responsibilities and Conduct

Students are expected to be familiar with and adhere to university policies in relation to class attendance and general conduct and behaviour, including maintaining a safe, respectful environment; and to understand their obligations in relation to workload, assessment and keeping informed.

Information and policies on these topics can be found on the 'Managing your Program' website

Workload

It is expected that you will spend at least nine to ten hours per week studying for a course except for Summer Term courses which have a minimum weekly workload of eighteen to twenty hours. This time should be made up of reading, research, working on exercises and problems, online activities and attending classes. In periods where you need to complete assignments or prepare for examinations, the workload may be greater. Over-commitment has been a cause of failure for many students. You should take the required workload into account when planning how to balance study with employment and other activities.

We strongly encourage you to connect with your Moodle course websites in the first week of semester. Local and international research indicates that students who engage early and often with their course website are more likely to pass their course.

View more information on expected workload

Attendance

Your regular and punctual attendance at lectures and seminars or in online learning activities is expected in this course. The Business School reserves the right to refuse final assessment to those students who attend less than 80% of scheduled classes where attendance and participation is required as part of the learning process (e.g., tutorials, flipped classroom sessions, seminars, labs, etc.).

View more information on attendance

General Conduct and Behaviour

You are expected to conduct yourself with consideration and respect for the needs of your fellow students and teaching staff. Conduct which unduly disrupts or interferes with a class, such as ringing or talking on mobile phones, is not acceptable and students may be asked to leave the class.

View more information on student conduct

Health and Safety

UNSW Policy requires each person to work safely and responsibly, in order to avoid personal injury and to protect the safety of others.

View more information on Health and Safety

Keeping Informed

You should take note of all announcements made in lectures, tutorials or on the course web site. From time to time, the University will send important announcements to your university e-mail address without providing you with a paper copy. You will be deemed to have received this information. It is also your responsibility to keep the University informed of all changes to your contact details.

Special Consideration

You must submit all assignments and attend all examinations scheduled for your course. You can apply for special consideration when illness or other circumstances beyond your control, interfere with your performance in a specific assessment task or tasks. Special Consideration is primarily intended to provide you with an extra opportunity to demonstrate the level of performance of which you are capable.

General information on special consideration for undergraduate and postgraduate courses can be found in the Assessment Implementation Procedure and the Current Students page.

Please note the following:

  1. Applications will not be accepted by teaching staff. The lecturer-in-charge will be automatically notified when you lodge an online application for special consideration
  2. Decisions and recommendations are only made by lecturers-in-charge (or by the Faculty Panel in the case of final exam special considerations), not by tutors
  3. Applying for special consideration does not automatically mean that you will be granted a supplementary exam or other concession
  4. Special consideration requests do not allow lecturers-in-charge to award students additional marks

Business School Protocol on requests for Special Consideration

The lecturer-in-charge will need to be satisfied on each of the following before supporting a request for special consideration:

  1. Does the medical certificate contain all relevant information? For a medical certificate to be accepted, the degree of illness and its impact on the student must be stated by the medical practitioner (severe, moderate, mild). A certificate without this will not be valid. Students should also note that only medical certificates issued after physically visiting a registered medical practitioner will be accepted. Medical certificates submitted for Special Consideration should always be requested from a registered medical practitioner that you have seen at a medical practice. Certificates obtained online or via social media may be fraudulent and if relied upon could result in a breach of the UNSW Student Code.
  2. Has the student performed satisfactorily in the other assessment items? To understand what Satisfactory Performance means in this course, please refer to the 'Formal Requirements' section in Part A of your Course Outline

Special Consideration and the Final Exam in undergraduate and postgraduate courses

Applications for special consideration in relation to the final exam are considered by a Business School Faculty panel to which lecturers-in-charge provide their recommendations for each request. If the Faculty panel grants a special consideration request, this will entitle the student to sit a supplementary examination. No other form of consideration will be granted. The following procedures will apply:

  1. Supplementary exams will be scheduled centrally and will be held approximately two weeks after the formal examination period.

    Supplementary exams for Semester 1, 2018 will be held during the period 14 - 21 July, 2018. Students wishing to sit a supplementary exam will need to be available during this period.

    The date for all Business School supplementary exams for Summer Term 2017/2018 is Wednesday, 21 February, 2018. If a student lodges a special consideration for the final exam, they are stating they will be available on this date. Supplementary exams will not be held at any other time.

  2. Where a student is granted a supplementary examination as a result of a request for special consideration, the student’s original exam (if completed) will be ignored and only the mark achieved in the supplementary examination will count towards the final grade. Absence from a supplementary exam without prior notification does not entitle the student to have the original exam paper marked, and may result in a zero mark for the final exam.

The Supplementary Exam Protocol for Business School students is available at: http://www.business.unsw.edu.au/suppexamprotocol

For special consideration for assessments other than the final exam refer to the ‘Assessment Section’ in your course outline.

Protocol for Viewing Final Exam Scripts

The UNSW Business School has set a protocol under which students may view their final exam script. Please check the protocol here.

Given individual schools within the Faculty may set up a local process for viewing final exam scripts, it is important that you check with your School whether they have any additional information on this process. Please note that this information might also be included in your course outline.


Student Support and Resources

The University and the Business School provide a wide range of support services and resources for students, including:

Business School Education Quality and support Unit (EQS)
The EQS offers academic writing, study skills and maths support specifically for Business students. Services include workshops, online resources, and individual consultations.
Level 1, Room 1033, Quadrangle Building.
bschoolconsults@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 7577 or 02 9385 4508

Business School Student Centre
The Business School Student Centre provides advice and direction on all aspects of admission, enrolment and graduation.
Level 1, Room 1028 in the Quadrangle Building
02 9385 3189

UNSW Learning Centre
The UNSW Learning Centre provides academic skills support services, including workshops and resources, for all UNSW students. See their website for details.
Lower Ground Floor, North Wing Chancellery Building.
learningcentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 2060

Educational Support Service
Educational Support Advisors work with all students to promote the development of skills needed to succeed at university, whilst also providing personal support throughout the process. Check their website to request an appointment or to register in the Academic Success Program.
John Goodsell Building, Ground Floor.
advisors@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

Library services and facilities for students
The UNSW Library offers a range of collections, services and facilities both on-campus and online.
Main Library, F21.
02 9385 2650

Moodle eLearning Support
Moodle is the University’s learning management system. You should ensure that you log into Moodle regularly.
externalteltsupport@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 3331

UNSW IT
UNSW IT provides support and services for students such as password access, email services, wireless services and technical support.
UNSW Library Annexe (Ground floor).
itservicecentre@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 1333

Disability Support Services
UNSW Disability Support Services provides assistance to students who are trying to manage the demands of university as well as a health condition, learning disability or who have personal circumstances that are having an impact on their studies. Disability Advisers can arrange to put in place services and educational adjustments to make things more manageable so that students are able to complete their course requirements. To receive educational adjustments for disability support, students must first register with Disability Services.
Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building.
disabilities@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 4734

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services
Provides support and services if you need help with your personal life, getting your academic life back on track or just want to know how to stay safe, including free, confidential counselling.
Level 2, East Wing, Quadrangle Building.
counselling@unsw.edu.au
02 9385 5418


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