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Advanced Management Accounting

Unit code: BMAN31040
Credit Rating: 20
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Full year
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit?: N



Additional Requirements

BMAN21040 is a pre-requisite of BMAN31040.

Pre-requisite course units have to be passed by 40% or above at the first attempt unless a higher percentage is indicated within this course outline. If the pre-requisite unit is defined as a compulsory course unit within your programme of study (Maths with Finance, IBFE, Accounting, BA Econ pathways for example) then progression onto the dependent unit is permitted as long as you have gained the appropriate amount of credit to progress on to the following year of your registered undergraduate programme.



The course aims:

- To provide a theoretically and empirically informed understanding of the changing roles of management accounting information.

- To locate changes in management accounting practice within the context of technological, organisational and broader social and economic change.

- To increase students awareness of how management accounting is used in the processes of managing an organisation.

- To explore debates on why change is occurring in management accounting and how change is being implemented in a variety of organizational contexts and sectors.


The course covers: the changing nature of management accounting; management control and decision-making; management accounting and strategy; and management accounting, performance measurement and accountability.  In addition, some of the following more specific topics will be addressed: risk management; strategic management accounting; the levers of control framework; environmental management accounting; and management accounting in the service and public sectors.

The first semester introduces a conceptual framework to evaluate contemporary management accounting and control practices and applies this to a range of behavioural, social and political issues.  This includes discussion of how systems may vary according to contextual variables, technologies and environmental rates of change; the effects of new forms of operations management upon control; the importance of risk management and of strategic management accounting in the formation of management accounting practices; and the different management accounting practices companies implement according to their national context, organizational structure, type and decision making processes.

The focus of the second semester is on the evolving role of the management accountant in devising appropriate accountability systems and control mechanisms in contemporary organisations.  We begin with a discussion of management accounting change and align the contemporary management accountant with strategy and control literatures. We define the role of the management accountant in strategy, and review key debates and tools in the strategy discourse. The conversation then develops to consider how accountability and performance measurement systems can be constructed in light of the strategic positioning agendas, and specifically, in situations where the management accountants’ span of accountability is greater than their span of control.

What differentiates the second from the first semester is that we now allow for the possibility of trust and collaboration in exchange contracts, and examine their possible effects on management control systems. Here, our conversations take in critical perspectives of the balanced scorecard methodology, and end with an analysis of evolving inter-organisational relationships and the role of the strategic management accountant in devising control mechanisms in contemporary organisations.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and workshops

Lectures 40 hours: One 2 hour lecture per week over the duration of the course

Semester 1: 2 one hour workshops
Semester 2: 2 one hour workshops

Total study hours: 200 hours split between lectures, workshops, reading, self-study and preparation for classes and examinations.

Informal Contact Methods
1. Office Hours

2. Discussion Boards (second semester)

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course successful students will be able to:

  • Understand the different mechanistic and post-mechanistic approaches to management accounting, including strategic accounting approaches.
  • Explain the complex links between management accounting, the formulation and evaluation of strategies, management control, and modes of accountability in contemporary organizations.
  • Identify how managers (through planning, budgeting, costing and performance management) achieve organizational control in different types of organizations, such as private firms and public sector agencies.
  • Make a critical analysis of contemporary research on why and how management accounting is changing and problems and methods of implementing change, including theoretical debates attempting to explain contemporary management accounting developments.
  • To understand how Management Accounting had to evolve to close much of the gap in the relevance lost’ era by more closely aligning to the key debates in the strategy arena. Specific consideration is placed on an understanding of the role of transaction cost economics in defining the boundary of the firm, the emergence of the virtual enterprises and the interface between strategy and control.

Assessment Further Information

2 hour final unseen examination, 2 questions of 6 (75%) + 2000 word group case study to be submitted at the end of semester 1 (25%).

For semester 1 only exchange students admitted via the Alliance Manchester Business School International Office that take this course as BMAN30571 the assessment will be a 3,000 word essay.


Recommended reading

Core reading:
Merchant, K.A. & van der Stede, W.A. (2012) Management control systems: performance measurement, evaluation and incentives (3rd edition), Pearson-Prentice Hall.

Recommended reading:

More directed readings including journal articles will be provided during the course.


Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar or workshop.

Written and/or verbal comments on assessed coursework.

Generic feedback posted on Blackboard regarding overall examination performance

An e-learning, web-based tool created for you in the semester also provides  a mechanism to interact with and engage with the content and obtain instant feedback as you make your way through each of the tools.  Participation is voluntary, but actively encouraged.


Study hours

  • Assessment written exam - 2 hours
  • Lectures - 40 hours
  • Practical classes & workshops - 4 hours
  • Independent study hours - 154 hours

Teaching staff

Julian Jones - Unit coordinator

Sven Modell - Unit coordinator

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