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Current Topics in Accounting

Course code
Course type
MSc Course
Weekly Hours
FS 2022
Prof. Dr. Martin Glaum, Prof. Dr. Andreas Barckow
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

During this course we will analyze and discuss current topics in financial accounting and reporting that are academically interesting and practically relevant for company managers, investors, financial analysts and other users of financial statements. The course will also acquaint you with discussions among super-visory authorities, standard setters and researchers on future developments and trends in financial report-ing on these issues. Another objective of this course is to introduce you to academic research and writing in general, and in the area of financial reporting in particular. Gaining skills and experience in conducting research will equip you with essential expertise for your subsequent Master thesis. A further benefit of the course is that you will train your presentation skills, an important competency for executives and academics alike. Since the course structure is similar to a seminar, the attendance of all course sessions is required.

The course will be jointly taught by Profs Martin Glaum, Professor of International Accounting, and Andreas Barckow, immediate past President of the Accounting Standards Committee of Germany (ASCG) and incoming Chair of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), providing for a stimulating combination of both an academic and a practice-oriented perspective.

  • Introduction to academic research
  • Academic writing
  • Improved presentation skills
The relevant literature depends on the chosen topic and will be announced in class.
Group work

Written seminar paper


Following the kick-off meeting you will work in small groups on your assignments. The first task for each group will be to define a specific topic for your paper and the subsequent presentation. The topics chosen should fall within the range of “current topics” covered during the introductory session. You may get feedback on your chosen topic from the teaching assistant and the instructors.

The groups will then prepare a report and a presentation. In the written report and the presentation, you should

- define and explain your specific topic and the related questions you want to address;

- outline the theoretical background of your topic;

- discuss the relevance and the practical implications of the topic by focusing on an example company or an example sector/industry;

- derive recommendations from your research, with regard to your specific topic, for (i) CEOs/CFOs of companies, (ii) standard setters and regulatory authorities, and (iii) academic researchers.

Depending on the number of participants, groups will consist of three to four students. The groups will independently conduct their work. We, the teaching assistant and the instructors, will give you further guidance throughout the process and provide you with constructive feedback.

There will be an intermediate meeting with the instructors on Thursday, 25 March, during which you will have the chance to discuss your progress and receive further feedback.

Your paper should have about 3,000-3,500 words; in normal formatting this should roughly equal 8 to 10 pages. For your presentations, you should prepare no more than 10 Powerpoint slides. The presenta-tions should take about 30 minutes, followed by discussions of about 20 to 30 minutes (the time available for each presentation and discussion will depending on the number of participants).

All seminar papers and ppt-presentations must be handed in via e-mail to the teaching assistant by Mon-day, 19 April, 12:00 noon. Please send your paper in both WORD and PDF formats, and the presentation in both Powerpoint and PDF formats. To facilitate the examination process, please also send the literature sources that you have used to the teaching assistant (compressed as a zip file).

The presentations will take place on Thursday, 22 April, and on Friday, 23 April.

Please note that, given the seminar nature of this course, it is required that all students attend all course sessions.

Your final grade is based on the presentation (40%), the report (40%), and class participation (20%).

Due to the current situation, all sessions will take place online, via the platform Zoom; we will provide you with the necessary links and access codes on Moodle.

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