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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2022 - 2023

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The purpose of this module is to introduce and develop students' understanding of both the role of management accounting and the management accountant in the costing, planning and control activities of organisations. Students will develop their abilities to prepare, analyse, interpret and communicate accounting information for costing, planning and control purposes, both at a strategic and operational level. They will also develop an appreciation of contemporary developments in management accounting.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the purpose of management accounting in organisations, with regards to the role of the management accountant, the users of accounting information and the operating environment.
2. Assess possible ethical issues facing the management accountant.
3. Identify and discuss the meaning of various cost terms that arise within business entities and the implications of such costs for the business.
4. Critique and apply either job costing or activity based costing techniques to jobs in manufacturing or service contexts.
5. Calculate costs for joint products using methods such as physical measures, sales value at split off and net realisable value.
6. Prepare and analyse profit statements based on both variable and absorption costing approaches reconciling any differences in profit reported under both approaches.
7. Evaluate and apply appropriate budgeting techniques for planning and control and use standard costing systems to measure and control business performance and to identify remedial action.
8. Critically appraise the progressive development of management accounting techniques in costing, planning and control.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture48Attendance and engagement.
Directed learning74Preparation of draft solutions to assigned questions/problems and reading of assigned academic papers for lectures.
Directed learning3End of semester exam.
Independent Study50Review, on a weekly basis, of lecture material and engagement with assigned readings.
Independent Study75Revision of module content throughout the semester and in advance of the exam.
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

The Nature of Management Accounting
• The nature, purpose and scope of management accounting in profit and not-for-profit organisations; • Desirable characteristics of accounting information; • Users of accounting information; • Financial accounting v management accounting; • The function of management accounting; • Traditional role of the management accountant and ethics; • The current operating environment of management accounting; • International convergence of management accounting.

Cost Classification and Behaviour Patterns
• The nature of cost, • Reasons for identifying and measuring costs, • Cost objects and cost collection, • Alternative cost classification (direct and indirect, product and period, relevant and irrelevant, avoidable and unavoidable, sunk, opportunity, incremental, marginal), • Cost behaviour (fixed, variable, semi-fixed), total cost.

Cost Elements
• Material cost: nature of stock, stock holding, stock purchasing models (EOQ, JIT and ERP), control of materials, methods for pricing materials (FIFO, LIFO and weighted average material pricing methods). • Labour cost: changing significance of labour cost and labour cost accounting; identify, classify, record and charge labour costs. • Overhead cost: the nature of manufacturing overhead, allocation of overheads to products/services, traditional costing methods (including apportionment and absorption of overheads and re-allocation of service department overhead) and activity based costing.

Cost Systems
• Job and service costing systems: Calculation of costs for jobs and services. Recording costs and revenue information using an integrated accounting system. • An appreciation of throughput accounting and back-flush costing. • Activity Based Costing, an understanding and application.

Joint and By-Products
• Understand joint and by-products. • Compute costs for joint products using methods such as physical measure, sales value at split-off and net realisable value.

Absorption and Variable Costing
• Differences between absorption and variable costing systems. • Preparation of profit statements under both systems and reconciliation of profits between absorption and variable systems.

Budgeting and Budgetary Control
• Interaction between long range strategy and corporate mission. • Advantages of budgets, types of budgets, the budget period, budget administration, the master budget schedules including functional budgets and cash budgets. • The nature of control, objectives of a control system, feedback and feedforward controls, responsibility accounting, controllability principle and management by exception, top down, bottom up, rolling and incremental budgets, zero-based budgeting, activity-based budgeting and flexed budgets. • Behavioural aspects of budgets including motivational aspects, budget slack, participation of employees in setting budgetary targets and level of difficulty of budgetary targets and the difficulties in changing a budgetary system or type of budget used. Beyond Budgeting.

Standard Costing
• Explain the use of standard costs and the methods used to derive them. • Outline the process by which standards are set and types of standards and benefits of standard costing. • Explain and illustrate the importance of flexing budgets in performance management. • Explain and apply the principle of controllability in the performance management system. • Calculate material, labour and overhead variances and sales variances. • Reconcile actual performance to budget performance using absorption and variable costing approaches. • Explanation and illustration of material mix and yield variances and of sales mix and sales quantity variances. • Issues arising with revising a budget and the cause of planning and operational variances - explanation of these variances for materials and labour, including the effect of the learning curve for labour. • Analyse and evaluate past performance using the results of variance analysis. • Use variance analysis to assess how future performance of an organisation or business can be improved. • Identify the factors which influence behaviour. • Discuss the effect that variances have on staff motivation and action. • Describe the dysfunctional nature of some variances in the modern environment of JIT and TQM. Discuss the behavioural problems resulting from using standard costs in rapidly changing environments.

Contemporary and International Developments in Management Accounting
• Critical appraisal of cost management and planning and control techniques in various international contexts, for example, Europe, UK, Japan and US - life cycle costing, throughtput accounting, environmental accounting, target costing, total quality management and just in time inventory management, developments in planning and control tools.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Drury, C.: 2018, Management and Cost Accounting, 10th, Cengage Learning, Andover, Hampshire, UK,
  • Clarke, P.: 2016, Managerial Accounting: Costing, Decision Making & Control, 3rd, Chartered Accountants Ireland,
  • Blocher, E.J., Stout, D.E., Juras, P.E., Cokins, G.: 2016, Cost Management A Strategic Emphasis, 7th, McGraw-Hill,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes