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.

    • This course takes the perspective of the user of financial statements (investment analyst, portfolio manager, financial manager) as she interprets financial reports, prepares forecasts and applies valuation techniques to derive equity or enterprise value. Using financial statements, students learn to analyse various aspects of a business, including the efficiency of operating, investment, financing and dividend decisions. Students also learn how to critically evaluate the quality of financial reports and undo distortions to financial statements to improve financial reports for use in business analysis and valuation. The course further covers the intricacies of major valuation methodologies (Discounted Cash Flow, Residual Income Model and Valuation Multiples) as well as the concept of equity and enterprise value. Key is interpreting financial statements to forecast key value drivers such as earnings, cash flows and returns. As special topics in business analysis and valuation, we look at the analysis of creditworthiness and cost of capital components. The course will have a strong practical emphasis and we will use case studies from different industries. A thorough understanding of the concepts presented in this course will enhance your ability to evaluate, analyse, and use the information in corporate financial statements, with the ultimate objective of evaluating a firm’s operating, investment, and financing decisions and value its equity and debt securities.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by prof.dr. E. Peek.

    • 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.

    • 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. But 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. RSM Career Centre has therefore developed a course aiming to put you in the driver seat of your own career and to support you in identifying and preparing for your first career step after graduation. 
       
      Through several online modules, the “Your Future Career “ course will help you make crucial steps towards landing the best suitable internship or job. Your career development begins with personal reflection on interests and motivations, before moving on to developing knowledge of the job market, functions, companies and industries. Once you have targeted your role and sector, you will intensively work on preparing your internship or job applications.
       
      The course consists of several blended-learning online modules, which all have individual assessments and learning objectives. Through these modules you will:

      • explore your own personality, skills and competencies,
      • investigate industries, career paths and job opportunities
      • learn how to prepare a job application and an interview.

      To achieve this you will participate in several activities, including: creating a personal career plan, virtual job applications, online peer feedback interaction, mentoring, video interviewing and self-assessment.

    • 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 is enhancing any domain that aims to gather understanding from data. In the accounting domain, Machine Learning (ML) 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
      • 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 and accountability 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 important 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.

      The lectures of this course translate the statistical learning concepts into accounting applications. The workshops help students develop the programming skills necessary to carry out the full data science workflow on datasets relevant to accounting

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by dr. Iuliana Sandu.

    • In the radically changing economic environment, treasury is both central and critical to many of the key tasks facing a Chief Financial Officer (CFO). These include ensuring availability of credit, managing working capital efficiently, defining the dividend policy, managing financial risks, and restructuring banking relations.

      Within this course, students are put in the position of a treasurer/CFO who has to make decisions about how to fund and hedge daily business activities. As such, we focus on some of the key elements of corporate finance applied to the operations and decision-making within a treasury department. The course also provides knowledge of capital markets, money markets, financial instruments and risk management, which has become essential for managing the treasury department of companies.

      Review the course guide for more details.

      Taught by Stefan 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. 

    • This course introduces students to behavioral finance, which lies at the intersection of psychology and financial economics. In this course, we will survey how investors and managers make financial decisions, and discuss whether and how their behavior may deviate from the behavior predicted by the standard economic theory. We will focus on the nature of those deviations, their potential reasons using insights from psychology, and further examine their implications for asset prices, investor behavior, and corporate decision making.

      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 courses outside of official exchange partnerships or other inter-faculty agreements.