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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2020/2021

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2019-20. The current handbook year is 2020-21

Department: Economics and Finance

ECON48615: Contemporary Issues in Accounting and Taxation

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20
Tied to L1T509 Accounting
Tied to N3K209 Finance (Accounting and Finance)


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To expose students to a range of topics in contemporary and evolving practice in accounting, reporting, and taxation;
  • To explore ethical issues in accounting, reporting, and taxation;
  • To explore contemporary research agendas in accounting, reporting, and taxation.


  • The contemporary nature of the module means that exact content will vary from year to year. Examples of potential topic areas include the following:
  • Professionalism, reputation and ethics in business, accounting and reporting;
  • Contemporary issues in financial accounting and reporting;
  • Contemporary issues in management accounting;
  • 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:
  • contemporary issues and research agendas in accounting, reporting, and taxation;
  • differences in principles, concepts and treaties in international tax systems;
  • philosophies of professional ethics, transparency, accountability and ethical issues in taxation;
  • current developments in accounting, reporting, and taxation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to apply relevant analytical techniques in an accounting context.
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 presentation will enhance studnents' 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. 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