Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Social and Environmental Accounting ACCFIN5056

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course aims to develop students' understanding of the relationship between accounting, accountability, economy and society. Students will study and critique current theory and practices of social accounting, environmental accounting, sustainability accounting, socially responsible investment.


2x10 hour workshops

Requirements of Entry

Please refer to the current postgraduate prospectus at:

Excluded Courses





2-hour paper, degree exam (60%)

Group Coursework word assignment (40%): comprising a group essay- word limit 3500 ((The group work will also be subject to a group evaluation form which has to be completed by all members of the contributing group and a note of percentage of participation for each group member).

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to develop students' understanding of the relationship between accounting, accountability, economy and society. In so doing the course aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop their ability to critically analyse key trends in the political economy of accounting. The students will critically evaluate the research, theory, and practice of social accounting, environmental accounting, sustainability accounting, social audit, and socially responsible investment; and critically evaluate emerging trends in social accounting and socially responsible investment, including new possibilities and forms and models of accounting and investment practice, and new regulatory initiatives and developments.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Critically analyse nature and foundations of corporate social responsibility and accountability.

2. Explain what is meant by social and environmental accounting, accounting for sustainability, and socially responsible investment, critically assess the potential of each.

3. Critically evaluate the existing practice of social and environmental reporting, reporting on sustainability, community activities, employees and suppliers.

4. Explain and evaluate competing explanations of social and environmental accounting and sustainability reporting practice.

5. Describe and critically evaluate different forms of ethical and social investment(s).

6. Critically analyse the similarities and differences between corporate and NGO models of organizational accountability.

7. Explain the state of existing regulation and critically evaluate the need for new regulation of social and environmental accounting.

8. Critically evaluate the role of audit in relation to social and environmental reporting.

9. Outline and critically analyse developments in the theory and practice of social and environmental accounting, accounting for sustainability and sustainable development, and socially responsible investment.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.