How governments cope with crises, financial shocks and austerity

The Accounting Project involves a detailed and independent research about a given topic and the preparation of up to a 5,000-word report describing your work. The work on the independent project takes place during your final year of study, from week 2 to week 29. Essentially, the accounting project is a test of your ability to create a piece of research by collecting and analysing data, and presenting it in the form of research report which demonstrates an in-depth understanding of a particular accounting (or related) issue. It is your responsibility to manage and undertake the necessary work, and you will be assigned a personal supervisor in the Spring term to support you once you have selected a topic and completed preparatory work in the Autumn term. Enrolling for the module will involve the following tasks for you to complete:


  • Identify a suitable topic for study from an indicative list of research topics provided by the supervisory team circulated at the start of the Autumn Term. You will then finalise and refine specific research question(s) with your allocated supervisor. Alternatively, it is possible for you to suggest your own topic/idea to the module leader for consideration and, if acceptable, to be allocated a suitable supervisor.
  • Prepare a ‘literature review’ essay (once you have selected a topic), as an intermediate step, to develop a detailed understanding of what has been published so far on this topic in terms of concepts, theory, prior findings, data and methods of analysis used by researchers in the field. You will be supported by your nominated supervisor. It is your responsibility to attend meetings with your supervisor.
  • Design and undertake, with the support of your nominated supervisor, an appropriate research strategy to investigate the topic, including identifying and accessing useful sources of data or information, and analyse data (which can be of a qualitative or quantitative nature).





The Accounting Project can take a number of directions and the following are only examples of topics (they are not necessarily part of the indicative list of topics for this academic year):


  • An analysis of the financial efficiency of English Academiy Trusts.
  • A survey of a governance practices by companies listed on the French stock exchange.
  • How do oil & gas companies report their environmental performance?
  • Interpreting the changing profile of independent directors in UK boards.
  • An analysis of the association between CSR performance and share prices.
  • Investigating corruption cases in the defence industry.
  • How informative are the financial reports of UK local authorities (councils)?
  • The role of budgeting practices in a non-profit organisation.




It is not the role of the module leader and teaching team to find a project title for you. As a default, it is expected that you will choose from the list of topics prepared by the potential project supervisors based on their research interests. You will eventually refine your selected topic and research questions from this list in consultation with your supervisor. The module leader and teaching team can certainly help by giving a ‘makes sense check’ but at the end of the day, you will own (and are responsible) for the project and research.


Try to make the most of your contact time (in workshops, lectures academic support hours and/or by email). Identify key points or issues you want to ask. Remember that you are undertaking an independent study and most of your questions can be answered by yourself, if you make use of the learning resources and reference materials available (e.g. journal articles). Outside of term time, students should not assume or expect that staff will be available to meet or to respond to emails.

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