Financial Accounting and Reporting 21/22

Coursework 2- Individual Essay

Essay title ‘Is Fair Value Accounting truly fair?’


Context and brief history

The UK reporting regime has been moved to a single comprehensive standard based on the International Accounting Standards Board’s International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for betterment on reliability of financial statements. In May 2011, IFRS 13 Fair Value Measurement has become effective and IFRS 13 provides a guideline on how to enhance the disclosures on fair value for better assessment on valuation of entities.

In addition to IFRS13, Financial Reporting Standards (FRS 102), effective from 1 January 2015, that provides SMEs with no less than 485 references to fair value, there are still a significant proportion of the entity in UK which failed to comply with the standards.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the UK’s audit regulator, which monitor the auditing quality and inspect the financial statements to ensure they are true and fair. FRC’s recent inspection report showing 25% audit inspection from FTSE 350 in 2018 was far from acceptable. It is shocking that even with the standards guidance, associations’ policy papers support, and the authorities monitoring, the public are still not getting access to some truly fair financial statements.

So, is Fair Value Accounting truly provide a fair presentation that enable the user to enhance the comparability of the financial statements? Or what the academic researchers, practitioners and standard setters should do to address the issue of fairness?


You are asked to reflect on some of the above areas as debated in various academic papers and what the future landscape would be.

Specifically you should summarise, compare and contrast the views in the papers by 1) Ahn, H. (2021)  and 2) Mora, A. et al. (2019), concluding by identifying the ideas you find most convincing. And the future landscape of fair value accounting based on your analysis.

You are asked to source and include a further 4-5 relevant academic and professional sources of your own which are relevant to the discussion.

At the end of your essay, after the conclusion, you are asked to indicate one or two areas on which you would specifically like feedback. After the conclusion does not count into your word count.


We recommend you conduct research and prepare an essay plan over the Christmas break before you start writing. A suggested format for the plan is provided in Moodle. Using it will help you think about and sort out your sources and ideas before actually committing to writing. Poor underpinning critical thinking and muddled ideas are likely to lead to poor grades.

Students will be invited to submit anonymous plans early in semester 2 and a small sample will be chosen and used to provide generic feedback for the whole cohort. More information will be available at the start of semester 2.


Semester 1 Week 9Essay brief released in class and on Moodle. Topic and essay skills taught and practised during seminars.
Semester 1 Week 11Students can raise questions in Moodle forum. Topic and essay skills taught and practised during seminars.
Christmas breakIndependent work – students sourcing and reading for essay, making notes, drafting plan.
Semester 2 Week 1-2Students invited to submit anonymous plan via Turnitin. A sample of 3-4 will be chosen for public feedback and comment. Students to reflect on own plans using this feedback.
Semester 2 Week 4 – 8Write essay.
 Students upload essay.  
Semester 2 Week 11Expected return of essay marks.

Academic sources for you to start with

The two main academic articles on Fair Value Accounting in this assignment

  • Ahn, H. (2021) “Fair Value Complexity and Financial Statement Comparability,” Asia-Pacific Journal of Accounting & Economics, 1-20, pp. 1–20. doi: 10.1080/16081625.2021.1947861.
  • Mora, A. et al. (2019) “Fair Value Accounting: The Eternal Debate – Aine Eaa Symposium, May 2018,” Accounting in Europe, 16(3), pp. 237–255. doi: 10.1080/17449480.2019.1664754.

Additional academic article about Fair Value Accounting

  • McDonough, R., Panaretou, A. and Shakespeare, C. (2020) “Fair Value Accounting: Current Practice and Perspectives for Future Research,” Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 47(3-4), pp. 303–332. doi: 10.1111/jbfa.12447.

ICAEW – Fair Value Accounting – are you ready?


FRC on Audit Quality

ACCA Technical Article

Financial Times Article

Please be very clear that most internet sources do not constitute appropriate academic literature e.g. Wikipedia, Accounting Coach, Investopedia format through the Brookes library.  Also please note that lecture slides are not an appropriate academic resource as these merely relay the findings in the primary research that you should be referencing.

Sources of advice

At this level you are expected to work more independently than in your first year of university study but there is help available for you to draw on.

  • There will be additional advice in the class sessions in semester 1 weeks 9-11 and relevant homework activities.
  • A Moodle forum will be opened for questions.
  • Essay writing resources will be available in Moodle.
  • You are strongly advised to prepare a plan after initial research and reading has been completed.
  • Some literature sources are provided although you will be expected to independently source additional references.
  • CAD (Centre for Academic Development) and library staff can provide further support.
  • In Moodle there is a final checklist for you to use before you submit your essay.

Presentation of essay

  1. Your essay should be written in Word and be no longer than 2,000 words. There is no +/- 10% allowance. The introduction and conclusions are included in the 2,000-word limit but your list of references is not.  A Bibliography (i.e. literature you reviewed but did not include in your essay) is not required.
  2. Your essay must be presented in the following format:
  3. The essay must be word-processed in font size 12 and double spaced.
  4. All pages must be numbered.
  5. You must reference all your sources using the Harvard system of referencing (see Cite Them Right Online via the library ). Marks are available for this and they will be lost if referencing is not complete, accurate and careful, including use of the Harvard system.
  6. You should use the given title for the essay.
  7. You should show the word count used.
  8. Do not include your name or student number anywhere on the document.

Exceptional Circumstances

The essay is a deadline assessment and the deadline exceptional circumstances rules apply to its submission in March.

Please see the regulations at:

Grading and feedback

Feedback in this assignment is provided as follows

On a sample of student plans- feedback from the tutors with a focus on areas of concern and suggestions for redirection or improvements.

On the final essays- you are asked to request specific areas for individual feedback and the tutor will also comment on your writing style. A marking grid will be used to indicate how your grade was established. Generic feedback will be given to the whole cohort and if a fail grade is given then additional individual feedback will also be provided.

Indicative marks breakdown

This essay counts for 30% of the module assessment.

Reminder: to pass the module you must get

  • 35% of the coursework marks (group report and essay marks combined) and
  • 40% of the exam marks and
  • 40% overall.

Note that the ICAEW has additional minimum mark requirements for accreditation and this is typically 50% for the module overall. See their website for current information.

 Marks available
*Structure and clarity of the essay- including essay structure, fluent writing style, grammar and spelling. A range of relevant, good quality professional and academic sources used (rather than just cited). Good academic conduct- sources accurately and comprehensively cited and referenced using the approved Harvard style.40%
Clear focus on the essay question and detailed understanding and analysis of the topic. *Engaging introduction; conclusions linked to discussion, answering the question.60%

Essays will be marked in line with the university dyslexia marking guidance- students are expected to make use of CAD support and built in software tools for spelling and grammar.


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