Postgraduate taught 

Corporate Governance & Accountability MSc

Social and Environmental Accounting ACCFIN5056

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting 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

Excluded Courses








Word Count

Group project

1, 2, 6


2500 words

Degree Exam

3, 4, 5


120 minutes

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 evaluate the concepts of corporate social responsibility, accountability, social and environmental accounting, and sustainability accounting.

2. Explain the state of existing regulation and critically evaluate CSR or sustainability reporting practices with reference to regulatory frameworks.

3. Outline and critically analyse developments in the theory and practice of social and environmental accounting and reporting on sustainability in different contexts.

4. Critically evaluate alternative accounting practices in relation to social and environmental issues such as human rights, climate change, and biodiversity.

5. Describe and critically evaluate different forms of socially responsible investment(s) and social and environmental audit.

6. Work effectively in a team-working environment, demonstrate effective communication and an ability to contribute effectively to group project work.

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.