lunduniversity.lu.se

Master’s programme in Accounting and Finance

MSc in Business and Economics | 1 year | 60 credits

Course content

The programme of study is divided into two semesters and further subdivided into four study periods.

The programme structure is flexible in that much of the course work consists of elective courses. This allows participants to design a preferred specialization within the broader area of accounting and corporate finance.

To facilitate consecutive enhancement of participants’ knowledge, elective courses in period 3 may build on and enhance knowledge and skills covered on specific courses in period 2. As a result, the choice of elective courses in period 3 may in certain combinations be constrained by the chosen elective courses in period 2. This is highlighted in the course presentations.

Elective courses may be subject to variation.

Study period 1 (September–October)

In study period 1, all participants follow three common core courses.

Corporate valuation: focuses on analyzing businesses, corporate performance, and financial reporting. Participants will gain in-depth knowledge of valuing companies, primarily using cash-flow-, income-, and comparables-based valuation methods.

Management control: gives participants thorough understanding of advanced management accounting and control issues from both a theoretical and a practical perspective.Throughout the course, participants are confronted with the latest developments in management accounting and control in research as well as practice.

Perspectives on accounting: focuses on the understanding of corporate financial reporting and how it is used by different actors in the information environment. It aims to provide insights into the theory and practice of accounting in corporations, and how this information is disseminated to investors and other interested parties including financial analysts and credit institutions for business analysis and valuation purposes. It also provides students with the knowledge and foundation to critically analyze developments in accounting.

Study period 2 (November–January)

In study period 2, participants choose two courses. Available elective courses may be subject to variation, but examples include:

Corporate fraud and forensic accounting: provides participants with enhanced and deepened knowledge and understanding of accounting, financial reporting, and assurance practices. It introduces participants to the nature and implications of fraud as a point of reference, both to illustrate the importance of reliable financial reporting and auditing and as catalyst in triggering new regulatory initiatives that could have global consequences.

The course covers prevention, detection, and investigation of fraud through the examination of internal and external control systems and evaluation of the role of gatekeepers and the regulatory environment. Case-based instruction is adopted to advance participant understanding and critical thinking as to how accounting is more than a collection of technical routines, but is socially constituted and shaped by its institutional contexts.

Designing finance: focuses on the optimization of corporate capital and risk structures through active capital management. The course provides applied knowledge of how to assess and design corporate financing transactions, including venture capital, equity, straight, hybrid, and structured fixed-income securities and insurance products. It also trains participants in assessing credit risk and doing corporate credit ratings.

International accounting: examines and analyzes accounting practices and principles in, and differences between countries. It enhances participants’ understanding of the choice of accounting treatment for complex transactions and events, not least in accordance with IFRS and US GAAP, and strengthens their abilities to analyze business transactions. The course also analyzes and compares the work of leading accounting standard-setting bodies, such as IASB (the International Accounting Standards Board) and FASB (the Financial Accounting Standards Board), to increase participants’ abilities to keep up-to-date with the fast-paced development of the area.

Performance measurement and management: provides participants with advanced knowledge about the use of performance measurement to improve decision making and the motivation of individuals. The process of collecting, analyzing, and reporting financial and non-financial performance may relate to an individual, group, organization, or system. This process may be guided by a balanced scorecard approach or similar framework, linking performance measurement with objectives and strategies. Special emphasis is given to how biased decision-making related to assessment of performance can be avoided, and how different forms of financial and non-financial incentive schemes influence individual motivation.

Strategic cost management: provides participants with deepened and thorough knowledge of investment analysis, credit analysis, and costing within a strategic framework. It provides participants with tools to investigate business problems, specialized knowledge about investment planning and costing on an aggregate level, and detailed knowledge about model building. The course also familiarizes participants with major and recent literature in their field as well as introduces important research techniques.

Theory of corporate finance: provides advanced knowledge of corporate finance, covering topics such as the interaction between internal and external financing and risk management, contracting between a firm and its management and stakeholders, dividends and stock repurchases, and ownership structures.

Study period 3 (January–March)

In study period 3, participants choose three courses. Available elective courses may be subject to variation, but examples include:

Accounting and management control for innovation and professional service firms: provides participants with knowledge about how management control is influenced by different strategies, organizational characteristics and objectives, and market and societal factors. Special emphasis is given to complex situations that require balancing management control systems towards multiple and competing demands. Contexts covered include management control and management accounting techniques to support innovation strategies and professional services firms with knowledge-intensive work.

The course assumes that participants have followed Performance measurement and management in period 2 (or hold equivalent knowledge).

Accounting information systems: provides deep knowledge of the models for and structure of accounting information systems as well as risk assurance systems. The course provides understanding of data and information flows in organizations, systems architecture, and validation and security in the accounting information system. It also focuses on the role of accounting information systems in decision making.

Corporate restructurings: provides participants with thorough and practical understanding of how to analyze, compare, value, structure, and finance corporate restructurings, such as mergers and acquisitions, alliances, joint ventures, buyouts, spinoffs, carveouts, etc.

Corporate risk management: deals with strategies and tactics for value-enhancing risk management, with particular emphasis on integrated and enterprise-wide risk-management solutions. The course also deals with risk-control mechanisms such as internal controls, insurance solutions, and risk management using derivatives, such as forwards, futures, swaps, and options.

Empirical accounting and corporate finance: deals with empirical research techniques for analyzing accounting and corporate finance data. The course emphasises choosing and using appropriate statistical techniques for modelling cross-sectional and panel data and dealing with endogeneity. The course expects participants to know of cross-sectional regression analysis, including the classical linear regression model, ordinary least squares, and properties of the OLS estimator.

Financial communication: focuses on the textual communication of the accounting numbers presented in financial reports. In order to understand such communication, it is necessary to also understand principles for solving advanced accounting problems, i.e., to have an understanding of the origin of the performance measurements that are reported in annual and interim reports, annual meetings, press releases, etc. The course covers financial discourse and communication and is organized in different theoretical themes, such as accounts, intertextuality, linguistic hedging, metaphors, and narrative or storytelling.

Study period 4 (April–June)

Study period 4 is devoted to the degree project where participants conduct their own research and demonstrate their ability to independently apply the knowledge gained from the course work. In the project work, participants further enhance their knowledge and understanding of accounting and corporate finance. The degree project is written in pairs. The subject for the degree project is chosen and initial work on the project is initiated during period 3. The work with the project is then continued full-time in period 4. A supervisor will be assigned to each degree project.

Examples of course combinations

The programme structure is flexible in that much of the course work consists of elective courses. This allows participants to design a preferred specialization within the broader area of accounting and corporate finance.

Certain electives may be very popular; although we can grant most students access to the desired electives, there are no guaranteed places.

Examples of possible course combinations include:

Focus on corporate finance

  • Designing finance
  • Theory of corporate finance
  • Corporate restructurings
  • Corporate risk management

Focus on financial accounting

  • Corporate fraud and forensic accounting
  • International accounting
  • Accounting information systems
  • Financial communication

Focus on financial analysis

  • Designing finance
  • International accounting
  • Corporate restructurings
  • Financial communication

Focus on internal auditing and control

  • Corporate fraud and forensic accounting
  • Performance measurement and management
  • Accounting information systems
  • Corporate risk management

Focus on management control

  • Performance measurement and management
  • Strategic cost management
  • Accounting information systems
  • Accounting and management control for innovation and professional service firms

Focus on treasury management

  • Designing finance
  • Strategic cost management
  • Accounting information systems
  • Corporate risk management

This is a preliminary course list, and is intended as guidance only. The course list may be subject to change.

Case studies and guest speakers
The teaching methods used focus on the critical analysis of the course content with the use of real case studies wherever possible.  International guest lecturers and speakers from business, government, NGOs and research regularly feature as part of the curriculum to further connect studies to the professional world.