MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTING AND CONTROL

Introduction

Management accounting – also known as management control – is one of the classical and most fundamental aspects of business administration. We aim at developing management technologies and test theories within production, reporting, analysis and managerial use of financial as well as non-financial information that can:

  • Be used for communicating financial events in the organisation;
  • Influence decisions on resource allocation;
  • Influence the management of the organisation and improve the insight and feedback.

The programme provides you with in-depth knowledge of

  1. the classical foundation of management accounting;
  2. the use and application of information technology; and
  3. the development of modern management accounting practices.

The Management Accounting and Controlling programme provides you with professional qualifications and competences that mirror and sum up the knowledge, understanding and skills acquired through the prerequisite courses, specialisation courses and electives. The main objective of the programme is to convey professional qualifications and competencies which you can apply in your professional life and in your future career no matter where you choose to live and work.

Admission requirements

Students that hold a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration or a BSc degree from Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University can pursue direct admission to MSc programmes in Economics and Business Administration (including the MSc in Economics and Auditing) after they finish their bachelor’s degree programme. Please note that there are specific requirements to the composition of the electives for the Danish Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Commercial Law.

Students holding a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (HD) can also pursue admission to the MSc programmes in Economics and Business Administration. The admission will be conditional on the fulfillment of supplementary courses or a specific, relevant combination of electives during your Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. For information on which supplementary courses you should take please check the overview of supplementary courses for HD (available only in Danish).

Students that hold a degree from another university

If you hold a degree from another university, you can have your qualifications assessed by Aarhus University, Admission in order to find out if you meet the admission requirements. Please contact ma.admission@au.dk for further information. You can receive a pre-assessment between 1 September and 1 December. The assessment will prioritize the sufficient content of the following subjects and ECTS-points, cf. below.

Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

15 ECTS

Managerial economics and Operations Management

15 ECTS

Marketing

7,5 ECTS

Finance and Accounting

15 ECTS

Organisation-  and Leadership Theory

7,5 ECTS

Microeconomics

5 ECTS

Additional ECTS points within the abovementioned areas

15 ECTS

Total ECTS within Economics and Business Administration

80 ECTS

 

Language requirements

Since English is the language of instruction in all subjects, all applicants are required to provide evidence of their English language proficiency 

Programme structure

PREREQUISITE COURSES

Foundation of Management Accounting Research
The management accounting discipline is grounded in different philosophical assumptions about knowledge, the empirical world, and the relationship between theory and practice. In this course, we introduce three perspectives – positivistic, interpretive, and critical – and their underlying assumptions concerning the generation of scientific knowledge and its impact on our lives. We emphasize the relevance of these foundations of research when addressing real-life managerial problems and/or when conducting management accounting research. Similarly, we accentuate how the ‘same’ problem can be approached differently depending on the underlying assumptions.


Cost Management: Theories, models and technologies
Cost management is the backbone of financial and management accounting. Without a deep rooted understanding of the financial situation of the company and the financial implications of future events, the company is likely to lose orientation and reduce the room for manoeuvring. Within the management board, the cost manager is responsible for bringing the financial information into the decision process. Education of people who potentially heads for this kind of positions hence requires that these people are equipped with sufficient skills to understand costing in various business contexts and to communicate this understanding to all people within an organisation. The course aims at providing the students with knowledge about Danish and international cost management traditions in order to create a thorough conceptual understanding of the fundamental techniques in cost accounting. Specifically, the students should come to master contemporary costing techniques and develop skills in communicating information obtainable from these techniques. 

Advanced excel
The amount of available data has increased extensively in many companies, partly due to the use of ERP systems and Data warehousing. As a consequence, there is a need for analysts  with the ability to extract the relevant data and perform valid quantitative analysis. Clearly, it is also important that the analyst can communicate the results of the analysis to his surroundings, for example using advanced graphical illustrations. This requires for the analyst to be particularly qualified in handling IT based tools far beyond basic Excel. The use of programming is the basis for performing impact studies, risk analysis, design of reports, simulation etc.

Strategic and Organizational Concepts for Management Control
The aim of the course is to give the students a solid foundation of knowledge of the different strategic schools and organisational concepts that form contemporary management control. The aim of the course is furthermore to make the students develop an understanding of how the different strategic schools and organisational concepts can be used to frame an understanding among managers of the current situation of an organisation, and the possibilities that this situation provides for the organisation.
Very often, the reality of the organisation is nuanced. Therefore the understanding of a certain situation calls for a combination of different strategic schools and organisational concepts in order to be fully expressed. Focus on how and to what extent such combinations can be made is crucial for conducting management control properly. For this reason, the course ultimately aims at enabling the students to reach a nuanced understanding of the organisational situation and to produce valid arguments for the outcome of the analysis.

Planning and Budgeting
Budgeting plays a central role in planning and structuring organisations strategies. In all management accounting models, budgeting is integrated to some extent. Budgeting coordinates the organisations strategies and business units. It is used as a tool for structuring and creating guidelines for activities and moreover to allocate resources and responsibilities.  Furthermore, budgeting enables the organisation to follow up on planned activities and thereby illustrating the variances there may exist in the achieved performance. Budgeting is closely linked to performance measurements and it contributes to a specific focus on the organisations strategic goals.

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SPECIALISATION COURSES

Accounting Information Systems
AIS gives you an outline of the different types of administrative programmers, their designs, application, implementation and security. In recent years, there has been a rapid development in the use of information technology in the accounting departments of companies. Today, the majority of companies to some extent employ information technology for accounts and management accounting purposes. Some companies use simple accounting systems with just a few functionalities, whereas others, typically larger companies, have integrated their accounting systems into a larger system complex containing modules for e.g. production management, human resource administration and purchasing (ERP systems).

Performance Management

Performance management plays an increasingly important role in all type of organizations. Performance management is defined broadly to include everything that managers do to help ensure that the organization’s strategies are sustainable constructed and implemented. It comprises various control tools such as result control, action control, interactive control, personnel and social control. Different management approaches can be adopted in using these tools to exercise management control. However, different control tools and the way they are applied are not equally feasible for solving management control problems in various types of organizational units, businesses and social contexts.
The focus of the course is the various approaches and principles of performance management and how these will cohere with different types of organizations and organizational activity operating in various business environments. Emphasis will not only be on the appropriate choice of tools and approach for the specific context, but also on the business reality they create, i.e. their impact on human and social behaviour, and hence their strategic implications.

International Financial Accounting I
After attending the course the student should, at an intermediate level, understand the requirements for recognition in the published yearly report and be able to critically discuss the assumptions and concepts on which the figures are based.

International Financial Accounting II
The aim of this course is to develop an understanding of the importance of the quality of accounting information for decision making. The focus of the course will be the reliability of the different accounting statements from a qualified user perspective.

Practice Project in Management Accounting
This course is a practical application of the pre-requisite course “Foundations of Management Accounting Research” (or any other course on research methods). Students are supposed to identify a specific problem in management accounting in a field study. The goal of the course is to enable students to plan, investigate and compose a group-report on a management accounting problem in practice, and to reflect on their findings as a group in an expert conversation. Proficiency of these capabilities matters for both project-related work in a professional career as well as for writing a stringent Master thesis.


In the third semester you can choose elective courses within your areas of interest. The courses can either be taken at Aarhus BSS during the semester, at the AU Summer University or at one of our more than 200 partner universities abroad. You can also participate in internship programmes either in Denmark or abroad.

The fourth semester is devoted to the final thesis. You may choose the topic of the thesis freely and in this way get a chance to concentrate on and specialise in a specific field of interest. The thesis may be written in collaboration with another student or it may be the result of your individual effort. When the thesis has been submitted, it is defended before the academic advisor as well as an external examiner.

 

 

Student life

 

Learning in an international contex

At Aarhus BSS, we conduct research at the highest academic level.

All researchers employed are engaged in research projects spanning a wide range of different subjects and focusing on knowledge and skills considered essential for professional business activities in the global market place. All faculty have both research and teaching responsibilities which means that our teaching is continually based on the latest research results.

Aarhus BSS is very internationally oriented. The broad scope of our research activities and educational programmes enable us to attract researchers, teachers, and students from all over the world, and this creates an international environment for research and learning in which academic views are exchanged, experience gathered and friendships formed.

Aarhus University is a leading university in Denmark in building student exchange opportunities. The university encourages all students to spend time studying abroad. Every year, more than 700 students from Aarhus BSS go abroad to participate in exchange programmes around the world at our more than 300 partner universities. About the same number of students from all over the world come to participate in the exchange programme in Aarhus and this contributes to a truly international learning atmosphere.

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Career

Tasks as a graduate

This data is derived from AU's 2013/2014 employment survey. This data should not be considered a completely accurate representation of the labour market and job functions for all graduates of the individual degree programmes. It exclusively represent the responses submitted to the survey in the years in question.

Today we see increased decentralisation of corporate financial data and financial management, and it has therefore become even more important for the controller to find and process relevant information in a qualified way. In many job profiles words like analytical skills, communication ability and a good knowledge of different IT-systems e.g. excel, SAP, etc. are necessary.

When you have earned the degree, your career opportunities will be numerous; we would like to mention

  • different types of controller e.g., business controller, project controller, concern or global controller, and financial controller, and both within the private sector as well as within the non-profit and the public sector;
  • financial manager or chief financial executive;
  • consultant and advisor in different aspects - in Danish as well as in international corporations;
  • internal controller;
  • lecturer or
  • you may wish to proceed to become a ph.d. student.

The Department of Economics and Business has its own Accounting Research Group, and you will have the opportunity to participate in different research projects as a student assistant or research assistant.


Profile of competencies 

The research-based MSc study programme in Economics and Business Administration builds on the competencies and insights acquired in the BSc study programme in Economics and Business Administration.

The study programme provides the graduate with specialist knowledge within the disciplines of the study programme that give the graduate high academic qualifications to develop solutions to issues pertaining to business administration in companies and organisations in the public and private sectors.

The study programme also qualifies the graduate for further studies, including PhD studies.

Through the study programme, the graduate has acquired knowledge that enables the graduate to 

  • Understand and consider knowledge pertaining to the various disciplines as well as identify academic issues
  • Master the scientific methodologies and tools of the various disciplines as well as master general skills associated with employment within the areas studied
  • Assess and choose among the scientific methodologies and tools of the various disciplines as well as develop new analysis and solution models
  • Discuss professional and academic issues with both specialists and laymen
  • Manage work and development situations that are complex, unpredictable and require new solution models
  • Initiate and carry out, on an independent basis, monodisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaboration and take professional responsibility
  • Take responsibility, on an independent basis, for own professional development and specialisation

From studies to first job

“The chemistry is important. You often hear that you have to “choose your employer”. It can be difficult to know what kind of person you are sitting in front of at a job interview but nevertheless try to sense it. A good chemistry is crucial for your satisfaction with the job. Furthermore a good chemistry means that you perform a little extra and therefore get a good start on your career”.

(Msc in Management Accounting and Control).