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ADVANCED FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements
 
 
Imagine the following scenario:
You are employed by a firm of accountants, FAB Consults, and are placed in a team which provides research and support on financial reporting issues to clients. Your manager has sent you the following briefing note:
“……I attended an academic conference recently where there was an interesting debate about the use of professional judgement in financial reporting.
One speaker argued that there is a need for flexibility in International Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards (IASs and IFRSs) so as to reflect the individual circumstances of each business appropriately which, she said, meets the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) qualitative characteristic of ‘faithful representation’ and its objective of providing useful information for decision-making.
However, another speaker argued that such choices raise serious questions about the IASB’s qualitative characteristic of ‘comparability’, and that the existence of choice compromises the requirement under the UK Companies Act 2006 that financial statements need to show ‘a true and fair view’……”.
REQUIRED:
• Prepare a business-style report which identifies and critically discusses the academic and/or practical arguments underlying these viewpoints. You should illustrate your answer with specific examples of accounting issues (and the relevant IFRSs/IASs) where judgment is needed and relate these to the IASB’s Conceptual Framework and other relevant conceptual and theoretical bases as appropriate.
• The report must be written in a style that is understandable for colleagues in the firm (qualified accountants) but must be supported by academic literature and include full Harvard-style referencing.
• The body of your report should NOT exceed 2,200 words. It must be on an A4 sheet, with margins of 2cm all round, and a font of Times New Roman size 12 (this font).
• The lists of references and appendices (if any) are excluded from this word limit and you may also include a title page and contents page in addition to the word limit. You are not required to include an executive summary.
ADVANCED FINANCIAL ACCOUNTING
(6000BUSAF)
COURSEWORK/ASSIGNMENT
Imagine the following scenario:
You are employed by a firm of accountants, FAB Consults, and are placed in a team which provides research and support on financial reporting issues to clients. Your manager has sent you the following briefing note:
 
“……I attended an academic conference recently where there was an interesting debate about the use of professional judgement in financial reporting.
One speaker argued that there is a need for flexibility in International Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards (IASs and IFRSs) so as to reflect the individual circumstances of each business appropriately which, she said, meets the International Accounting Standards Board’s (IASB) qualitative characteristic of ‘faithful representation’ and its objective of providing useful information for decision-making.
However, another speaker argued that such choices raise serious questions about the IASB’s qualitative characteristic of ‘comparability’, and that the existence of choice compromises the requirement under the UK Companies Act 2006 that financial statements need to show ‘a true and fair view’……”.
REQUIRED:

Prepare a business-style report which identifies and critically discusses the academic and/or practical arguments underlying these viewpoints. You should illustrate your answer with specific examples of accounting issues (and the relevant IFRSs/IASs) where judgment is needed and relate these to the IASB’s Conceptual Framework and other relevant conceptual and theoretical bases as appropriate.
The report must be written in a style that is understandable for colleagues in the firm (qualified accountants) but must be supported by academic literature and include full Harvard-style referencing.
The body of your report should NOT exceed 2,200 words. It must be on an A4 sheet, with margins of 2cm all round, and a font of Times New Roman size 12 (this font).
The lists of references and appendices (if any) are excluded from this word limit and you may also include a title page and contents page in addition to the word limit. You are not required to include an executive summary.

 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The deadline for the submission of this coursework is 2pm on Friday, 28th November, 2014.
The submission should be done via the assignment link on Blackboard.
This coursework/assignment counts for 25% of the overall module mark.
Your work will be scrutinised using plagiarism detection software and any student whose work is deemed to be plagiarised will be subject to disciplinary procedures.
You must remember to include your full name and your student’s registration number (i.e. index number) on your coursework. This will ensure that your marks can be correctly allocated to you.
Feedback on the coursework will be available in early January, 2015.

 
FURTHER GUIDANCE:
Recommended reading

Your starting point for the coursework should be the priority readings for weeks 2 to 5. From these, you should identify the key issues you wish to explore further and seek additional reading on those areas. You should also note that some aspects of the topics covered beyond week 5 may help you get specific issues for your coursework.
It is important to remember that there is no ‘correct answer’; you need to identify relevant issues and to debate different opinions, using these and any other appropriate evidence to arrive at your own reasoned conclusion(s).

 
The write-up:

You are likely to need to be selective as regards the issues you cover in depth in order to keep within the word limit. You should identify as many issues as are relevant, but remember the need to maintain a balance between breadth and depth in your report. You are likely to identify more issues than you can cover in depth within the word limit allowed, in which case you will need to be selective.
Choosing and justifying which issues to analyse and discuss in depth (e.g. on the grounds that they are important or controversial or interesting or for some other valid reason) is part of the process of preparing a good coursework. A “good” work may cover different aspects, but detailed numerical examples or calculations are unlikely to be relevant.
This assignment is not about getting ‘the right answer’ but about fulfilling a variety of the module’s Intended Learning Outcomes in relation to this aspect of financial reporting practice, specifically:

 
Knowledge and understanding:

analyse structured and unstructured problems in financial accounting and reporting;
identify and discuss a range of major issues of principle and practice relating to published accounts from the perspective of users and preparers;
critically discuss and evaluate arguments and evidence in relation to selected financial accounting and reporting topics, current developments and their theoretical contexts;
evaluate and assess advanced financial accounting and reporting practices and their alternatives, in the context of the UK and International GAAP.

 
Transferable skills:

gather and evaluate relevant data/literature, including by use of appropriate information technology;
produce a written (word processed) report suitable for the communication of qualitative information, analysis, argument and conclusions to a professionally qualified accountant.

 

You can assume that the readers of your report will all be qualified accountants (i.e. they understand commonly used technical terms and the use of IFRS by UK listed companies) but have not come across the specific issues, problems or debates that you raise.

 
Marking criteria

The following are some of the key broad areas that would be considered in the marking of the coursework:

Understanding of requirements of the question and focus on key issues
Application of the issues to the business/regulatory environment or the IAS/IFRS
Strength of analysis and discussion, and coherence of conclusions
Referencing quality and techniques
Presentation, structure, writing style, grammar, adherence to instructions, etc.

 

The general marking criteria is shown below:

Class
Mark
Criteria

FIRST
70+
Shows extensive relevant knowledge with evidence of significant independent study and reading. Provides very good relevant explanations, analysis and arguments.     Presents some sensible own ideas and explores a range of relevant alternatives with carefully justified critical evaluation. Shows competence in relevant subject specific skills and is able to criticise methods. Is able to integrate theories and relate to practice with a range of relevant examples.

2:1
60 – 69
Shows relevant knowledge with evidence of own reading and independent study. Provides good explanations, analysis and arguments. Presents some own ideas and explores alternatives with some critical evaluation, by appropriate analysis.   Shows competence in relevant subject specific skills and is able to relate theory to practice with some examples. There may be some minor misconceptions and the candidate may demonstrate underdeveloped or limited evaluation.

2:2
50 – 59
Shows relevant knowledge of core areas with limited evidence of own reading and independent study, beyond lecture material. Provides limited explanations, analysis and arguments. Presents a few own ideas, which may not be entirely appropriate, and weak exploration of alternatives and critical evaluation. Shows some limited competence in subject specific skills. There may be some major misconceptions and application to practice and examples may be confused.

3rd
40 – 49
Shows relevant knowledge of key areas, based only on lecture material, and limited competence in relevant skills.   Provides weak relevant explanations, analysis and arguments. Shows little application, examples, integration or critical evaluation of the knowledge.

Module
FAIL
0 – 39
Shows patchy and limited relevant knowledge of key areas and partial competence in relevant skills. Shows little application, examples, integration or critical evaluation and may display misunderstanding of the knowledge.

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