Research Seminar

Seminar Coordinators: Prof. Wenxi JIANG and Prof. Yizhou XIAO


Structure and Courses

The MAcc curriculum for the full-time and part-time mode is the same. It is divided into two parts. Part One consists of six core courses that equip students fulfill the requirements of professional examinations, and Part Two consists of six elective courses that allow them to deepen their knowledge in several areas of accounting. Each course carries three credits and students are required to complete 12 courses (i.e. 36 units) for graduation. 

Part One – Core courses

Financial Accounting and External Reporting

This course deals with advanced aspects of financial accounting. Topics covered include the financial reporting environment in Hong Kong, fair value accounting, intangible assets, contingent liabilities, deferred income taxes, accounting for post-retirement benefits, equity and cost methods of accounting for long-term investments, business combinations (purchase and pooling), consolidation of parent/subsidiary financial statements, and interpretation of financial statements. Students will be required to critically evaluate various accounting valuation, reporting and disclosure issues.

Business and Company Law

This course introduces students to the institutions, doctrine and methodology of the law in the business and corporation contents. After a discussion of the legal system of Hong Kong SAR, the first part of the course examines selected subjects in contract, tort of negligence, employment, and sales of goods. The second part of the course will focus on company law, such as formation of companies, the effects of incorporations, the division of powers and obligations among various organs of the company, its relationship with outsiders, financing and dividend issues, and options available to companies in financial difficulties.

Cost and Management Accounting

This course introduces the students to the basic concepts, techniques and application of cost and management accounting. Topics include cost concepts, cost behavior, costing systems, cost determination and allocation, standard costing and variance analysis, relevant costs, and budgetary planning and performance evaluation. Methods and techniques of cost management in the service sector and in the advanced manufacturing environment are discussed. Accounting implications for management planning, control, and decision making will be emphasized.

Taxation and Tax Planning

This course covers the basic elements and statutes of Hong Kong taxation system, including salaries tax, property tax, profits tax, personal assessment, depreciation allowances, and tax administration. After this basic knowledge, the course will introduce advanced concepts of tax planning, problem solving with practical examples and the inter-relationships between different types of taxes. Local tax cases will be discussed extensively.

Auditing and Professional Practice

This course will provide an examination of the economic theory of auditing, the role and responsibilities of auditors, the concepts and techniques employed by auditors, and auditing procedures for balance sheet and profit and loss items. Other topics include auditing and the public accounting profession, internal control, audit planning, financial statement audits, reporting on auditing financial statements, professional ethics and auditor's legal liability, accepting and planning the audit, evidential matter/working papers, internal controls, and system auditing. Other topics of current interest available in the literature will also be discussed.

Financial Management for Professional Accountants

This course identifies and provides a framework for analyzing the major financial decisions made by a firm. Issues addressed include asset valuation models, investment decision making, analysis of risk, financial planning, dividend policy, working capital management, sources of long-term finances and the cost of capital, and the financial mix for the firm.

Part Two – Elective courses* (choose any six)

Financial Accounting Theory

This course establishes a framework for evaluating accounting choices and categorizing the strength of authority for particular accounting treatments. This is accomplished by exposing the students to empirical accounting research and by creating an awareness of the endogenous factors affecting accounting decisions. Major themes are the integration of cash flow and accrual based measures of income from a theoretical perspective and the synthesis of accounting choice questions based on the asset valuation versus income measurement dichotomy. The end result will be a deeper understanding of both the structure and the process of accounting policy-making.

Taxation in China

This course is designed to familiarize students with the Chinese tax law and practice. After an introduction to the normative and institutional backgrounds of tax administration, it will examine the country’s major state and local tax regimes. The course will also touch on administrative and professional aspects of tax practice in this emerging market economy.

Business Valuation and Analysis

The course introduces a framework for business valuation analysis using corporate disclosure and financial statement data. The framework identifies four key components of valuation: business strategy analysis, accounting analysis, financial analysis, and prospective analysis. Employing a case methodology, applications of this framework in a variety of decision-making contexts including securities analysis, credit analysis, and merger and acquisition decisions are examined.

Corporate Governance: A Global Perspective

The OECD Guidelines for Corporate Governance identify four elements namely objectives, transparency, benchmarks and accountability as key factors that transcend both legal and national boundaries. As a concept it delineates the rights and responsibilities of each group of stakeholders in the company by providing for appropriate checks and balance to be incorporated into the process of performance, decision making and monitoring. This course will address issues within the rubric of corporate governance from an accounting and legal perspective.


Comparative Financial Reporting

This course examines the evolution of accounting under different political and economic systems and explores current theory and research on the impact of local and international institutional features on financial reporting and disclosure practices. In so doing, it provides participants with a conceptual framework for analyzing the economic causes and consequences of differences in reporting and disclosure practices and their impact on international commerce, finance, and investment. The course includes discussion of recent and proposed changes in reporting standards with a focus on the local and international reporting environment.

Applied Corporate Governance for Capital Markets

This course equips the student with a deeper understanding of the current state of play as regards Corporate Governance principles & rules, and the institutions through which Corporate Governance rules are applied to capital market participants, with a special focus on the Hong Kong and mainland China capital markets, but also addresses the challenges and trends in the real-life market place and how the linkages between effective Enterprise Governance, Risk Management and Compliance can contribute to superior business performance and thereby to enhanced investor confidence in the capital markets.


Management Control Systems

Designed properly, management control systems serve to influence and structure employee behavior in ways that increase the likelihood that organizational objectives are achieved or exceeded. This course provides an advanced- level examination of the alternative control mechanisms available to organizations, theories underlying their use, and their intended--and often unintended--effects on behavior. Particular attention is directed to the critical decisions underlying the design of effective accounting based control systems including decision support and intelligent system for accounting, choice of responsibility structure, performance measures, performance standards, and incentive systems, and to emerging issues in corporate governance.

Accounting and Management Planning for Enterprises

Entrepreneurial activities have become a potent source of economic power that generates enormous job opportunities and business innovation globally. This is particularly spectacular in the context of China where there are numerous cases of successful and failure cases of privately owned enterprises and collectively owned township and village enterprises growing from an embryonic stage into a larger firm. The course adopts a “life-cycle” approach and develops a set of accounting and managerial skills to analyze companies from the start-up stage to eventually cashing out.

Advances in Strategic Management Accounting

This is an advanced course in management accounting examining the role of management accounting systems in strategy formation and implementation and as a potential source of sustainable competitive advantage. The course blends current research with practical exposure to the issues involved in the design and implementation of these systems. Topics include cost of capacity, activity-based management systems for operational and strategic control and contemporary approaches to performance coordination and evaluation in a decentralized environment.

Accounting Information Systems and Internal Control

This course examines and discusses the relationship between accounting information systems and internal controls. This course also offers an in-depth analysis on how to take advantages of information technology to enhance an organization’s internal controls. By improving internal controls, this course will discuss how accounting information systems assist an organization to produce a set of reliable and accurate financial statements, address regulatory requirements, meet managerial decision needs, and improve the operational effectiveness and efficiency.

Assurance Services and Information Technology

This course examines Hong Kong legal environment and discuss how it will affect audit risk, audit planning, internal controls, analytical procedures, and substantive tests. Building on this foundation, this course then focuses on information technology and examines its impacts on financial reporting systems. Specifically, we emphasize on how auditors can leverage information technology and use Computer-Assisted Audit Tools and Techniques (CAAT) to attest clients' financial statements.

Financial Markets and Instruments

Financial markets play a pivotal and central role in the formation of investment capital and, therefore, societal wealth. This function, in addition to many others, is explored in this course. Attention will also focus on the forms and structures of financial markets (i.e. equity, debt, derivatives, gold and foreign exchange markets) both locally and internationally. Within this brief, detailed consideration is also given to the various institutions participating in the markets and to the form and functions of instruments quoted.

Recommended Course Pattern (Full-time mode) 

One-year Full-time mode

1st Trimester

ACCT5110 Financial Accounting and External Reporting
ACCT5120 Cost and Management Accounting
ACCT5150 Business and Company Law
ACCT5180 Financial Management for Professional Accountants

2nd Trimester

ACCT5130 Auditing and Professional Practice
ACCT5160 Taxation and Tax Planning

Elective courses (Any of 1-3)

3rd Trimester

Elective courses (Any of 3-4)

Summer Term

Elective Courses (Optional/ Any of 1-2)


Recommended Course Pattern (Part-time mode)

Year One

1st Trimester

ACCT5120 Cost and Management Accounting
ACCT5180 Financial Management for Professional Accountants

2nd Trimester

ACCT5150 Business and Company Law
ACCT5160 Taxation and Tax Planning

3rd Trimester

ACCT5110 Financial Accounting and External Reporting
ACCT5130 Auditing and Professional Practice

Year Two

1st Trimester

Elective courses (Any of 1-2)

2nd Trimester

Elective courses (Any of 1-2)

3rd Trimester

Elective courses (Any of 1-2)

Summer Term

Elective Courses (Optional/ Any of 1-2)


The sequence of core and elective courses may be changed if necessary.

Availability of electives depends on the offerings of each academic year, and is subject to change in different trimesters.

To enhance flexibility, students may also opt to take one elective course from the other MSc programmes offered in the CUHK Business School, subject to approval by the Programme Director.


Fundamental Business Programme Courses

All courses in the Fundamental Business Programme are non-unit courses with pass/fail options with 15 teaching hours each (except 42 hours for ACY591I). Students who have taken these courses are eligible to apply for HKICPA student membership (please refer to the 'Recognition' section for more details). The sequence of core courses and FBP courses may be changed if necessary.




This course is essentially an introduction to financial accounting. It emphasizes accounting concepts and principles, and introduces the use of accounting data in controlling and planning business operations. Major topics include basic structure of accounting; accounting for current assets, current liabilities, and long-term assets.


Intermediate Accounting

ACY591I is the extension of ACY591P. For those who do not have a business degree, we strongly advise you take both ACY591P and ACY59I for better understanding of the core course ACCT5110 Financial Accounting and External Reporting.



This course introduces you to concepts and theories of organization and management that will help you to understand and analyze various aspects of management. However, management is practical concept, and just learning concepts and theories is not enough. Students need to integrate them with their own observations and experience and apply them in case studies and real-life situations. Upon completion of this course, students are expected to gain a basic understanding of key management skills, including planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling.



This course is a general introduction to the theory of price in a market economy. Topics include basic economic concepts, the theory of demand, production and cost, the operation of firms in competitive, oligopolistic and monopolistic market, cost and benefits of government intervention in market economy, and introductory issues to game theory and informational economics. Analytical approach is used whenever appropriate. Applications on practical business problems are emphasized.


Statistical Analysis for Business Decisions

This course deals with fundamentals of statistical methods including descriptive statistics, probability, statistical inference from both large and small samples, F test for equality of variances, tests using Chi-square in categorical data analysis, and simple correlation. Application of statistical methods to problems pertaining to business will be emphasized.


Computer-Based Information Systems

This course provides students a conceptual knowledge concerning contemporary information technology and information processing. It also introduces students to the basic computer concept, communications and networks (The internet, intranet, WWW and E-Commerce Applications), Information System and Its Development, Security, Ethics and Privacy Issues, etc.


Marketing Management

This course aims to provide participants with practical and conceptual training in marketing management with specific objectives as follows:

  • Provide participants with knowledge of new and fundamental marketing concepts and techniques.
  • Increase participants' understanding and awareness of marketing environment in HK.
  • Enhance participants' ability in analyzing marketing issues in local and international markets.
  • Develop and sharpen participants' marketing skills in doing business in local and international markets.

Course and Unit Exemption

Graduates of the CUHK PDPA Programme are exempted from Part One courses.* Accounting graduates of recognized universities or graduates of other postgraduate diploma programmes in accounting may also receive exemption from these courses at the discretion of the Programme Director and with approval from the Dean of Graduate School. Students should observe the procedures listed in the Postgraduate Student Handbook and submit their application to the Graduate School via the Programme.

Programme Overview

Programme Information

Programme Features
Study Mode and Duration

Tuition Fee and Scholarship
Graduation Requirement

Programme Brochure


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Information Seminar

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* Graduates must attain a minimum GPA 3.0 or above in PDPA programme