Accounting (ACCT) 356

Strategic and Competitive Analysis (Revision 6)

ACCT  356 course cover

Revision 6 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version.

View previous syllabus.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online or grouped study.**

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, or grouped study international 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 Professional Accounting designation (i.e., CMA, CGA, CA) are advised that they will be required to achieve a grade higher than the minimum passing grade. See the Professional Accounting Designation Web site for details.

Course Materials


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).

Other Materials

All other course materials will be accessed online. A sample lesson is available for you to review.

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 6, August 19, 2011

View previous syllabus