ACCTN581-19T (NET)

Professional Development Capstone

20 Points

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Division of Management
School of Accounting, Finance and Economics


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Paper Description

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Before you complete your university education this Capstone Paper will encourage you to think broadly about the role of Accounting in
society today and how can accounting education better meet the needs of the contemporary economy. It will help you develop critical
thinking skills. It will encourage you to think about how you will best fit in to the extant business world, whilst recognising that the
business world requires improvements in some areas. You must consider how to promote change in the most effective ways in order to
help create a ‘better’ business world, and society.
The influence of business practices on society grew hugely during the 20th century. In the latter half of the 20th century much effort
went in to growing business units and financial performance. Questions were raised about such stress on financial performance on
Many business organisations have recognised the need to meet overall sustainability and report on social and environmental
information. Social and environmental disclosures are mostly of a voluntary nature. Hence it is of interest to reflect on the purpose of
such reporting including the extent of reporting and how such reporting can be improved in the future.
As well as this the new era of software and automation is challenging the profession and it is important to think about where the future may take us.
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Paper Structure

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The Paper provides a study of the purposes of business education and accounting in 21st century society. The influence of business practices on society grew hugely during the 20th century; this created many problems for humankind. In the latter half of the 20th century much effort went in to growing business units, and the profits which they made. Unfortunately, these practices started to threaten the natural environmental and societal well-being. It was suggested that the decision-making information that accountants provide to managers is too limited in scope and should be reconsidered. The contemporary economy and society also requires reflection on the nature and role of accounting. Hence the paper outlines the significance and status of reporting broadly, including social and environmental aspects, and asks you to reflect on the role of the profession and its ethical position.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Identify and discuss the literature relevant to social and environmental reporting.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Analyse the corporate social and environmental reporting of New Zealand companies.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Identify issues with accounting education.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Your final grade will consist of coursework marks with no final examination: Internal Assessment/Final Examination 1:0

There are four assessment activities. These are also advised in the Components required.

1. Essay (20%) (Due 17 November 2019 at 11.30pm)

Detail and discuss three reporting issues (this includes financial reporting) that you consider are important/significant. For each of these you should describe the issue, say with justification why you believe it is important/significant and offer a solution.

It is suggested that the length be in the 1500 - 2000 word range

2. Essay (20%) (Due 24 November 2019 at 11.30pm)

Detail and discuss the 2018 FMA governance principles. and using three (3) 2019 Annual Reports of your choice evaluate how well the Board of Directors reports against these (Hint, you might want to find examples that are not ideal then you can discuss weakness.

It is suggested that the length be in the 1500 - 2000 word range.

3. Essay (30%) (Due 8 December 2019 at 11.30pm)

Discuss the view that of all the theories that has been used in accounting, Stakeholder Theory, is the most important and has had the greatest impact. (Hint, you will need to discuss other theories particular agency theory to provide a basis for comparison.)

It is suggested that the length be in the 2000 - 3000 word range.

4. Essay (30%) (Due 16 December 2019 at 11.30pm)

Discuss the statement that ‘In spite of the reporting guidance given by Triple Bottom Line, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and the development of Integrated Reporting<IR>, some might still argue that current reporting in these areas is little more than window dressing’.

It is suggested that the length be in the 2000-3000 word range.

Your papers should be a succinct expression of your research into the particular area, and ideas should be expressed in your own words. Referencing should include academic references but may include professional and business articles where appropriate.

All essays will automatically be run through Turnitin and suspected plagiarism will be dealt with according to the policy and procedure referred to at the end of the paper outline. Full referencing is essential and should follow the APA style.

Assessment will be on the basis of:
(a) Overall style (readability)
(b) Originality of thought and concepts
(c) Originality in expression
(d) Development of argument and critical analysis
(e) Clarity of focus
(f) Presentation and referencing

Presentation includes full referencing, and a level of sophistication of language as is expected from a post graduate student!

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Essay
17 Nov 2019
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Essay
24 Nov 2019
12:00 AM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Essay
8 Dec 2019
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Essay
16 Dec 2019
11:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Paper Reading List Link

Essay 1:

For this first Essay use your experience, prior learning, general reading and Google!

Essay 2:

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Agency theory: An assessment and review. Academy of ManagementReview, 14(1), 57-74.

Shapiro, S. P. (2005). Agency theory. Annual Review of Sociology, 31, 263-284.

Cunliffe, A. L., & Luhman, J. T. (2012). Agency theory, SAGE Key Concepts series: KeyConcepts in OrganizationTheory (1st ed., pp. 192). UK: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Laplume, A. O., Sonpar, K., & Litz, R. A. (2008). Stakeholder theory: Reviewing a theory thatmoves us. Journal ofManagement, 34(6), 1152-1189.

An, Y., Davey, H., & Eggleton, I. R. (2011). Towards a comprehensive theoretical framework for voluntary IC disclosure. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 12(4), 571-585.

Fernando, S., & Lawrence, S. (2014). A theoretical framework for CSR practices: integrating legitimacy theory, stakeholder theory and institutional theory. Journal of TheoreticalAccounting Research, 10(1), 149-178.

Cotter, J., Lokman, N., & Najah, M. M. (2011). Voluntary disclosure research: which theory is relevant? Journal of Theoretical Accounting Research, 6(2), 77-95.

Essay 3

1. Corporate Governance in New Zealand: Principles and guidelines

Publisher: Financial Markets Authority

2. FMA Corporate Governance Handbook 2018- Summary of submissions

Publisher: Financial Markets Authority

3. New NZX Corporate Governance Code – what listed companies need to know

4. The Essentials of being a Director

Publisher: Institute of Directors and Financial Markets Authority


For further reference you may wish to read

Corporate Governance Statement 2018- (Contact, Scales Corporation, etc.)

Essay 4

Crowther, D. (2004). Corporate social reporting: genuine action or window dressing. Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility, 140-160.

Laufer, W. S. (2003). Social accountability and corporate greenwashing. Journal of Business Ethics, 43(3), 253-261.

Schaltegger, S., & Burritt, R. L. (2010). Sustainability accounting for companies: Catchphrase or decision support for business leaders? Journal of World Business, 45(4), 375-384.

Schaltegger, S., & Burritt, R. L. (2006). Corporate sustainability accounting: a nightmare or a dream coming true? Business Strategy and the Environment, 15(5), 293-295.

Lin, L.-W. (2010). Corporate social responsibility in China: Window dressing or structural change. Berkeley Journal of International Law, 28, 64.

Lyon, T. P., & Maxwell, J. W. (2011). Greenwash: Corporate environmental disclosure under threat of audit. Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 20(1), 3-41.

Ramus, C. A., & Montiel, I. (2005). When are corporate environmental policies a form of greenwashing? Business & Society, 44(4), 377-41

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Online Support

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Moodle Paper
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On-line submission of assessment items.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Prerequisite papers: ACCT572 or ACCTN572, ACCT573 or ACCTN573, ACCT574 or ACCTN574 and ACCT575 or ACCTN575




Restricted papers: ACCT581

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