Accounting (ACCT) 356

Strategic and Competitive Analysis (Revision 7)

ACCT  356 course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study** (check locations) - both options with eTextbook

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies
(Business and Administrative Studies)

Prerequisite: ACCT 355. MKTG 396 is recommended but not required.

Faculty: Faculty of Business

ACCT 356 is not available for challenge.

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**Note: Students registering in grouped study mode are advised that there may be some differences in the evaluation and course materials information indicated below. To obtain the most up-to-date information, contact the Faculty of Business Student Support Centre at 1-800-468-6531.


ACCT 356 introduces strategic concepts and tools that a manager in an organization is likely to find useful. This course focuses on helping students think strategically as they evaluate an organization’s potential and opportunities for change. Thinking strategically involves setting objectives and then aligning what the organization is, or can become in the short run, with the organization’s environment. The information organizations need to monitor, evaluate, and improve strategy is called strategic performance measures. Helping planners identify the nature and scope of strategic performance measures in an organization is a critical role for management accountants.


  • Lesson 1: Strategy, Balanced Scorecard, and Strategic Profitability Analysis
  • Lesson 2: Environmental Scanning (Industry Analysis)
  • Lesson 3: Environmental Scanning (Internal Analysis of Value Chain)
  • Lesson 4: Strategic Measurement (Performance Evaluation)
  • Lesson 5: Strategic Measurement (Financial Statement Analysis)
  • Lesson 6: Part A): Strategic Measurement (Quality, Time, and Capacity Management)
  • Lesson 6: Part B): Strategic Measurement (Environmental Accounting)
  • Lesson 7: Revenue and Customer Profitability Analysis
  • Lesson 8: Project Costing and Risk Management
  • Lesson 9:(Part A): Accounting Practices and Control for Not-for-profit Organizations
  • Lesson 9:(Part B): Control of Costs and Performance Management in Not-for-profit Organizations


To receive credit for ACCT 356, you must achieve a composite course grade of at least a “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Assignment 3 Final Exam Total
15% 15% 15% 55% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Note: Students planning to transfer this course to a Chartered Professional Accountant designation are advised that they will be required to achieve a grade higher than the minimum passing grade. See CPA Requirements for details.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

The main resource for ACCT 356 is a custom-published textbook that includes chapters and readings from various sources. The following table summarizes the content of the custom textbook, and the placement of the textbook's resources within the course.

Lesson Assigned Readings in Custom Textbook
1 Reading 1: Strategy, Balanced Scorecard, and Strategic Profitability Analysis, Chapter 13 from Horngren, Foster, Datar, & Gowing (2010).
2 Reading 2: The External Assessment, Chapter 3 from David (2011).
3 Reading 3: Value Chain Analysis for Assessing Competitive Advantage from CMA Canada (1999).
4 Reading 4: Performance Measurement, Compensation, and Multinational Considerations, Chapter 24 from Horngren, Foster, Datar, & Gowing (2010).
5 Reading 5: Financial Statement Analysis, Chapter 14 from Weygandt, Kimmel, & Kieso (2010).
6 (Part A) Reading 6: Cost Management: Quality, Time, and the Theory of Constraints, Chapter 19 from Horngren, Foster, Datar, & Gowing (2010).
6 (Part B) Reading 7: Environmental Sustainability, Online Appendix from Braun, Tietz, & Harrison (2011).
7 Reading 8: Revenues, Sales Variances, and Customer Profitability Analysis, Chapter 16 from Horngren, Foster, Datar, & Gowing (2010).
Reading 9: Customer Profitability Analysis, from The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (2000).
8 Reading 10: Cost Estimation and Budgeting, Chapter 8 from Pinto (2010).
Reading 11: The Sources of Organization Risk, from The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (2008).
Reading 12: Managing Organization Risk, from The Society of Management Accountants of Canada (2008).
9 (Part A) Reading 13: Accounting for Not-for-profit Organizations and Governments, Chapter 12 from Hilton & Herauf (2010).
9 (Part B) Textbook Reading 14: Financial Management of Not-for-Profit Organizations from Blackbaud (2011).

A print version of the eText can be purchased from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided in the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

A sample lesson is available for you to review.

Current Grouped Study Locations

Current as of: July-06-2016 10:45

Institution Dates Delivery Contact
Grande Prairie Regional College
Grande Prairie
Alberta (AB)

Classroom & Online  e-text

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 7, September 11, 2013.

View previous syllabus

Updated July 18 2016 by Student & Academic Services