AFM501 Accounting Theory and Research

Updated: 19 August 2019
Credit Points 6
Location Teaching Period Mode of Study
Armidale Trimester 2 Online
Armidale Trimester 2 On Campus
Armidale Trimester 3 Online
Intensive School(s) None
Supervised Exam There is a supervised exam at the end of the teaching period in which you are enrolled. The exam will either be paper-based and offered at an established exam venue or online with supervision via webcam and screen sharing technology. Coordinated by UNE Exams Unit.
Pre-requisites candidature in a postgraduate award
Co-requisites None
Restrictions AFM301 or AFM401 or GSB601
Notes None
Combined Units None
Coordinator(s) Gabriel Donleavy (
Unit Description

This unit develops students' critical thinking in discriminating between fact and opinion in the context of accounting reports and accounting theories. This unit develops students' understanding of different accounting theories that underpin accounting methods, regulations and disclosure by reporting entities. It introduces contemporary issues in accounting practice, particularly: the relationship of accounting theory, the financial reporting environment and regulation; normative and positive accounting theories; unregulated corporate reporting decisions; capital market and behavioural research in financial reporting; and measurement in financial accounting. The nature of ethical decision making and the role ethics play in the accounting profession are also examined, and fraud and failure are reviewed in this context. New conceptual frameworks for accounting reports, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Integrated Reporting (IR), are introduced and reviewed.

Prescribed Material


Note: Students are expected to purchase prescribed material. Please note that textbook requirements may vary from one teaching period to the next.

An Introduction to Accounting Theory

ISBN: 9788740313918
Donleavy, G.D., 2nd ed. 2018

Note: This eBook is available free on charge from

Text refers to: Trimester 2 and 3, On Campus and Online

Disclaimer Unit information may be subject to change prior to commencement of the teaching period.
Title Exam Length Weight Mode No. Words
Class Quizzes 10% On Campus Equivalent to 750
Assessment Notes

There are two class quizzes worth 5% each

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1, 2, 4, 5

Online Quizzes 10% Online Equivalent to 750
Assessment Notes

There are two online quizzes worth 5% each

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1, 2, 4, 5

Compulsory Research Project 40% On Campus and Online 3500
Assessment Notes


Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1, 3, 4

Compulsory Research Proposal 10% On Campus and Online 750
Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 3-4

Compulsory Final Examination 2 hrs 15 mins 40% On Campus and Online
Assessment Notes

Students must obtain at least 50% in the examination (and at least 50% overall) to receive a pass (or better) in the unit. This exam will be offered in hard copy at an established exam venue or online with supervision via webcam and screen sharing technology. Students who would like to take up the online option will need a webcam and a reliable internet connection. More information can be found on our web page.

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1, 2, 4, 5

Learning Outcomes (LO) Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an advanced and integrated knowledge of the main theories relating to accounting and apply these to accounting problems;
  2. demonstrate an expert knowledge of the main alternative accounting treatments of items whose valuation is controversial;
  3. use a range of research, cognitive and communication skills to review, analyse, consolidate, synthesise and reflect critically on relevant information drawn from a range of sources in solving complex accounting related problems;
  4. work independently and collaboratively to plan and execute tasks to enhance professional skills and knowledge; and
  5. demonstrate the ability to recognise, reflect on and respond to the range of ethical issues and decisions relevant to accounting professionals.