Curriculum

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Curriculum

The RSM MScBA in Accounting & Financial Management is one academic year’s duration. Core courses are compulsory and will be offered during the autumn semester (22 EC). Master electives (18 EC) are offered during the spring semester, of which one elective can be chosen from another MSc programme. During the year, students work on a master thesis project (20 EC).

Please note that certain electives may be very popular. Although we can place most students in the elective(s) of their choice, there are no guaranteed places.

    • This course integrates advanced managerial accounting topics with recent techniques of financial management and strategic analysis. It focuses on preparing, evaluating and interpreting financial information for managerial decision making in different types of organization (manufacturing and service companies; for-profit and not-for-profit). Topics covered include advanced cost allocation techniques (like Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing), evaluation of financial information to support project appraisal and capital budgeting, pricing strategies, as well as the latest techniques for customer profitability analysis and other short- and long-term investment decisions.
       

      The course involves the extensive use of the case method to analyse and discuss how financial information integrated with non-financial information is used to effectively support managerial decision making. Students are expected to apply appropriate analytical frameworks to diagnose and solve complex problems by emphasizing the connection between financial information and data analysis techniques that fit with management’s specific needs. The course provides a highly interactive environment that combines theory and practice sessions with group assignments, presentations and discussions.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr S Kramer and J. Zhao, MSc

    • This course provides an overview of the key issues in financial reporting. We use International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and relate the requirements for each particular topic to the underlying concepts and principles. Topics are discussed at the backdrop of the conceptual issues and the contemporary views that inform the debate. Using examples from practice and contrasting different views on how certain issues should affect the financial statements, the course contributes to a profound understanding and critical attitude towards financial reporting standards. This will help you learn to make informed judgements and think critically about financial reporting problems. These are necessary skills for your future career, whether you will be preparing, auditing or using financial statements compliant with IFRS.
      The course starts with a short refresher of basic of the Conceptual Framework. We will continue with more advanced areas, for example:

      • Fair value measurement
      • Financial instruments
      • Business combinations and goodwill impairment testing
      • Pensions and share-based payments
      • Revenue recognition

      In this course we will reason about financial reporting primarily in a forward direction, i.e. analyse a fact pattern and decide how the facts shall be reflected in the financial statements.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M. Koning.

    • Accounting is the language of business. Given that the role profile of financial managers has broadened substantially in recent years with a particular emphasis on management skills, accounting and financial management graduates from our programme more than ever need to be able to communicate the key implications of this (sometimes complicated) language to a variety of different audiences in a convincing and easy manner.

      Therefore, the department of Accounting and Control offers this 1 ECTS course to provide students with the necessary tools for preparing a good presentation and communicating its key messages effectively. It is mandatory for all incoming students in accounting and financial management.

      The course format will be multiple sessions with experienced coaches from the J-building and companies. To pass this course, students will need to attend the sessions. An alternative assessment format will be to prepare a presentation on a subject recorded on video

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Nicolas Constantinescu.

    • In this course in ‘Business Analysis and Valuation’ you will learn the basic concepts of financial statement analysis, enabling you to understand how financial reports are used by investors and to take a fundamental approach to equity (and debt) valuation.

      The course has a practical emphasis. We adopt the view of an active investor and apply methods of fundamental analysis in a series of real-life exercises, cases, and assignments involving listed companies. We examine various valuation methods—residual earnings, abnormal earnings growth, and discounted cash flow approaches to valuation, among others—and ask which one will give us an edge. We do all this under the strict discipline of a fundamentalist: separate what you know from speculation and anchor in what you know from analysing financial statement information.

      Just as importantly, we learn how to handle accounting and financial reports in valuation. We see that valuation is really a matter of accounting for value. The course combines accounting principles and investment principles to answer the question: How do I account for value so that I can challenge stock prices with some confidence?

      As members of RSM, we aim to be a force for positive change in the world, using as guidance the framework set out by the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) to address the most urgent social, economic, and environmental challenges. Business analysis and valuation can play a leading role in allocating resources to sustainable companies and, thereby, accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy. We will discuss how environmental, societal, and governance (ESG) performance affects firm value. For example, a strategy analysis (Learning Goal (LG) 2) includes the assessment of a firm’s innovation (SDG 9) and responsible production (SDG 12), which can significantly affect a firm’s expected profitability and growth, two key drivers of future performance and value. Credit agencies may increasingly lower their assessments of firms’ creditworthiness (LG 7) for environmental liabilities expected to result from pollution (SDG 6). Similarly, when pricing risk for valuation purposes, environmental damages significantly affect a firm’s cost of capital (LG 8).

      The course discusses techniques that are commonly used in an equity research department of a bank, independent research firm, or equity hedge fund. However, the material covered in the course is just as relevant to the corporate business analyst or financial consultant, for private equity analysis, for evaluating acquisitions, restructurings and other investments, and for calculating the value generated by strategic decisions. Thus, the course is of interest to those contemplating careers in investment banking, security analysis, accounting, consulting, and corporate finance.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. CPR Pietsch.

    • Management Control is about influencing the behavior of managers to act in line with the organization’s strategic objectives. In this course, we discuss what alternatives organizations have for ensuring good control, and how organizations should choose among control system alternatives. The main emphasis throughout the course will be on financial results control systems, which provide the dominant form of control in the vast majority of organizations. Topics covered include responsibility structures, target setting (as part of organizations’ planning and budgeting processes), performance measurement and evaluation, and the assignment of various forms of organizational rewards (including performance-dependent compensation).

      Illustrations based on real-world cases are discussed, demonstrating when particular control systems are effective, and when they lead to dysfunctional managerial behavior. Ample attention is also paid to the fit with the organizational context, such as the strategy, structure, and culture. The latter part of the course extends the key notions of management control from the intra-organizational level to the inter-organizational level, highlighting some of the issues involved in the control of new collaborative settings and configurations, such as joint-ventures and various types of alliances, often involving global alliance partners.

      Overall, this course is intended to broaden and deepen your conceptual and technical understanding of accounting as it is used for management control purposes. It will help you learn to make business decisions, evaluate organizational performance, or evaluate others (and/or be evaluated) through the use of financial and nonfinancial information. These are essential skills for your future career, be it in the position of managers, management consultants, or specialists in staff functions such as controllers, auditors, or human resource specialists.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. E  Reusen.

    • The aim of Your Future Career is to prepare students at an early stage in their MSc for their career.

      When you care about what you do, you will enjoy your work more, create greater impact, and be more successful in being a force for positive change. However, it can be difficult to identify what your passion is, where your competencies and skills will be useful, and which professional environment and culture are the best match for you. Therefore, RSM Career Centre has developed a course to put you in the driver's seat of your career, and to support you in identifying your first career step after graduation and preparing for it.

      The online modules of “Your Future Career” will help you make crucial steps towards the most suitable internship or job for you. To pass the course you need to gain a minimum of 50 points by 31 January 2022, 16:00. You can decide yourself if you want to reflect on your interests and motivations, develop knowledge of the job market, functions, companies and industries, receive peer feedback on your application materials, have contact with an alumni mentor or attend an interactive workshop.

      The course will be offered to MSc programmes who opted in for this. The Your Future Career course takes place in block 1 and 2 (30 August 2021– 31 January 2022) and is awarded 1 ECTS based on pass/fail.

      Contact: RSM Career Centre via yourfuturecareer@rsm.nl

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. M. Szymanowski & L. Keir.

    • Financial statements are an important source of information for stakeholders like shareholders, creditors, employees, the general public etc., to value their prospective claims. Over time, accounting scandals like Enron, Worldcom, AIG and Lehman Brothers have indicated that managers have incentives to use their discretion to affect financial reporting in order to serve their own benefits. Thus, to reassure stakeholders and restore and strengthen their confidence in financial statements, regulators require firms to have their financial statements assured by third parties, namely auditors or certified public accountants (CPAs). CPAs are the equivalent to Dutch register accountants.   This course addresses the function and relevance of auditors in more detail and considers the decisions and dilemmas that auditors are faced with as part of their job.  

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. C. Pietsch and S. Stirnkorb, MSc

    • The role of the financial controller is changing in ways that mirror those of the broader finance function. Rather than serving as a rear-view mirror that only provides information about historical performance, the financial controller increasingly participate in the analysis and formulation of solutions to higher value-added, strategic issues. Reliance on forward-looking techniques tools allows the finance function to anticipate the future needs of the company to drive appropriate action, improve the current operating results and eventually maximize the bottom line.

      The dynamic and integrative role of the controller function in business corporations is the focus of this course. Classes cover the principles underlying planning and control decisions in functional and divisional organizations, as well the design and consequences of responsibility accounting and performance measurement systems under various market conditions. The course also extends to financial controller’s roles in budgeting, strategic planning, pricing, risk management, corporate finance and investment related decision making.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. F. Elsinger.

    • This course covers the more challenging and complex issues that analysts, investors, and financial advisors encounter when they evaluate company performance and firm equity value. It adopts a very pragmatic approach towards valuation. Students will be taught how valuation works in practices while drawing from theory. We have selected three analytical challenges that will be discussed in more detail:
      »    Advanced Financial Analysis & Valuation Tools: Introducing Equity versus Enterprise value methods; identifying Enterprise Value Multiples; accounting issues in enterprise value; forecasting earnings for enterprise value; sum-of-the –parts valuation; Economic Value Added (EVA), real options in enterprise value; dealing with contingent claims character of equity and debt and valuation of private firms and start-ups.
      »    Understanding Risk in Analysis and Valuation: Sources of risk; motives for risk management; Miller & Modigliani and risk management; hedging with financial instruments; accounting for derivative instruments; reflecting risk management in financial statements; dealing with risk management in equity valuation and particularly understanding how firms manage risk in their supply chain. Cost of Capital complications, Capital Structure impact of risk management and how that affects equity value.
      »    Applied Analysis & Valuation for Banks: Banking Business Models; regulatory background; financial statements for banks; controversial issues in reporting for banks; analyzing bank performance; drivers of value creations; decomposing return on equity for banks; applying valuation methodologies such as Dividend Discount Models, Equity Multiples for banks.

      Review the course guide for more information. 

      Taught by dr. S. Zori

    • Machine Learning (ML) is enhancing any domain that aims to gather understanding from data. In the accounting domain, Machine Learning has been used to process legal contracts, board meeting minutes and invoices to identify key features of documents, analyze journal entries to spot outliers, automate journal entry creation from invoices, automate workflows such as tax returns and financial statement compilation, predict sales or uncollectible accounts receivable, and predict fraud. Such ML applications automate and augment the work of the accountant who is left to focus on tasks that require judgement and professional skepticism. Nevertheless, accountants are not passive recipients of ML results but rather, they use their domain knowledge to implement ML in their daily tasks. As such, accountants, in their roles that support decision-making with reliable information, are expected, alongside understanding business processes and regulatory frameworks, to also be able to use and evaluate ML tools.

      This course introduces accounting students to the basic ML tools, including techniques for supervised learning (e.g., logistic regression, decision trees) and unsupervised learning (e.g., principal components analysis, K-means clustering) as well as methods of ML model assessment and selection (e.g., cross-validation and bootstrap) in the context of accounting applications. In addition, students are taught to use the programming language R to perform the full variety of tasks necessary for successful ML application and, more generally, extracting insights from data. This includes basic data preparation and transformation, exploratory analysis, data visualization, and model fitting and comparison.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. Iuliana Sandu.

    • It is the main task of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to ensure that the firm has a sufficient amount of access to finance and to ensure financial stability over time. In order to reach this, the CFO is assisted by the Treasury Department. During this course, students are getting familiar with the different activities of the Treasury Department. These activities include cash management, working capital management, debt management, equity management, investment management and risk management. Cash management includes everything that the treasurer does in order to ensure a stable cash position both now and in the future. Working capital management discusses the matching of the current assets and current liabilities to ensure a sufficient amount of liquidity. Debt and equity management discusses the several choices firms have to make when issuing debt or equity respectively. Investment management talks about the possibilities and choices  that firms have when they want to invest today’s excess cash to ensure future income. Risk management discusses the several types of risk that firms are exposed to in their daily activities, such as exchange rate risks and interest risk.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Dr. S. van Kampen.

    • Taxes affect many business decisions, such as: where to invest, what organizational form to choose, how to finance a business, when and where to recognize revenues and expenses. This is an introductory course providing you with an overview of what taxes exist, to which natural or legal persons they apply, how taxation affects business decisions, and what the fundamentals of domestic and international taxation are.

      The course combines financial accounting, tax accounting, and investment principles to answer the question: How do I take tax-optimal business decisions? This knowledge is complemented by information about recent political developments in the area of taxation. The content from the lecture is applied and deepened during workshops. Guest lectures provide additional insights from practice.

      The fundamentals in domestic and international taxation form basic knowledge of auditors, tax advisors, and practitioners in the accounting or tax departments of multinationals. Thus, the course is of interest to those contemplating careers in accounting, consulting, and corporate finance.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. S. Kohlhase.

    • Corporate takeovers are one of the most important corporate events. Furthermore, during the takeover process firms encounter several challenges, such as legal, cultural, and regulatory hurdles. Overall, the argument to take over another firm must be very compelling. However, takeovers intensify agency problems between the stakeholders, most importantly between the management and the shareholders. This course focuses on the role of corporate governance with special emphasis on the context of takeovers or mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

      The goal of this course is to provide students with a general understanding of corporate governance mechanisms within the firm. It also highlights the importance of corporate governance in the context of M&As. Furthermore, the course combines theory, empirical evidence, and practitioners’ views on topics at the intersection of accounting, M&A, and corporate governance. Guest lectures throughout the course provide students with the unique opportunity to gain insights from and engage in discussions with specialists from the field.

      After participating in this course we hope that you improve your decision making by recognizing that corporate governance plays a crucial part in takeover activities as well as in the functioning of the firm by reducing agency conflicts stemming from the separation of ownership and control.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. S. Vanhaverbeke.

    • Debates in managerial and finance theory about the way in which organizations and firms optimally communicate with their environment have been around for decades. Today the notion that organizations and firms need to adopt a broader view on performance measurement and reporting seems accepted by most. Various special interest groups, NGO’s, environmental organization, the general public, but also institutional investors are making the case that organizations and firms should provide more disclosure about the positive and negative impacts on society, and therefore its sustainability. Whereas firms’ traditional focus is on measuring and reporting shareholder value, firms are now challenged to satisfy the demands of the stakeholders interested in the societal and environmental value that firms generate. This development raises all kinds of questions about the possibility to provide such disclosures, its impact on firms reporting policies, the challenges to safeguard the validity and reliability of non-financial reports, as well as conceptual questions about the meaning of societal and environmental value. In addition, many question the motives of firms to adopt such broader perspectives, arguing that it will be a form of window-dressing at best, or will give firms to much freedom to report only desirables at worst. 


      This course explores the evolving debate in both academia and in practice from two perspectives:
      •    A performance measurement perspective, addressing the quest for conceptually sound management tools and frameworks that enable a more integrated measurement and reporting of firm performance; 
      •    An accountability perspective, exploring the demands of the various stakeholders in the debate. 

      Combining relevant theoretical perspectives on current practices and developments the course contributes to developing a critical mindset that helps students to address the challenges and embed an integrated perspective on the performance measurement and reporting of firms and organizations.

      The course starts by setting the stage and with reviewing the traditional view on the notion of value creation by firms in society. Then the course continues by exploring alternative views as guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). The main question is what these goals mean for managerial decision making in the firm, and for measurement and reporting the firm’s performance. We explore various tools for internal decision making like the use of true prices and carbon accounting. Moreover, we review current external reporting initiatives, such as the Global Reporting Initiative and the International integrated Reporting Council. In combination, students will learn how the various external demands on firms to move towards integrated performance measurement provides firms with challenges to their way of internal decision making and vice versa. 

    • Economic theory treats people as if they were making rational choices. Yet, in practice, investors and managers do not always make rational decisions. In fact, a lot of CEOs admit that major business decisions come “straight from the gut”. And such judgement about money and investment plans are often clouded by biases and emotions. In the course of Behavioral Finance, we investigate how these behavioral biases impact our financial decisions, and how we can avoid the most common pitfalls.

      Behavioral finance is the application of psychology to financial behavior of practitioners. It has gained prominence in academia. Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler were awarded the 2002 and 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics respectively for their contributions in the field. It is also appreciated by practitioners. Financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, ABN Amro, and Robeco all run funds employing behavioral strategies.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. L. He.

    • The course consists of eight sessions, that combine the following three elements: Econometric theory, paper discussions, and Stata exercises (most importantly in-class paper replications). In the ninth session, previously assigned groups present the results of a paper replication.

      Presentations, interactive discussions and in-class Stata exercises are the main teaching methods used in this course.

      I expect students to be prepared to perform statistical analysis during the lectures (including the first lecture), in other words, to get the most out of the course, students should bring a laptop with a working version of Stata.

      You can pick up the Stata software and license at the IT service office yourself and install it during the first lecture(s).

      Attendance is mandatory as follows: 8 out of 9 lectures.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. C.D. Peter.

    • The honors class in Accounting and Financial Management provides excellent students with a challenging extra-curricular course focusing on latest developments in research and practice. The best 20 students will be selected based on their grades in the four core courses to follow the honors class in the 3rd and 4th block of their master program.
       
      The course is taught by faculty of the Accounting and Control department and practitioners jointly. We will have four academic sessions covering the areas decision making, financial accounting, taxation and valuation. In addition, two guest speakers from large companies will share their experience with implementing external or internal requests for accountability. The guest lectures by practitioners will be prepared in class with cases and group discussions.
       
      Participation is by invitation only.

      Taught by dr. Saskia Kohlhase.

Note regarding taking courses if you are not an RSM master student: RSM does not offer the possibility for non-RSM students (master or otherwise) to take RSM MSc courses outside of official exchange partnerships or other inter-faculty agreements. If you are interested in learning more about corporate social responsibility, sustainability, or business ethics, please refer to our Open Programmes section.