Master: Seminar in Rechnungslegung

Influence of Accounting Conservatism: Research and Practice Perspectives

Seminar language: English


Conservatism is defined as a requirement to verify the recognition of profits and losses in a different way. Despite its obvious bias in reporting, it continues to survive in the accounting standards. There are several alternative explanations for the application of conservatism and these are contracting, shareholder litigation, taxation, and accounting regulation. This seminar will focus on the two most important ones according to research: contracting and shareholder litigation. For details see here!

Both FASB and IASB try to achieve neutrality in financial reporting. Is this a clever approach? The seminar will analyze how accounting conservatism / accounting neutrality changes managerial behavior and which costs incur to the investors and to the general economy.

The seminar will examine conservatism in accounting from both perspectives, research and practice. It will look at the implications of alternative explanations of conservatism for accounting regulators and analyze the importance of accounting research on conservatism. In the seminar we will look at empirical evidence and at analytical research on accounting conservatism. The focus will be on the analytical models, their implications for empirical research and their implications for regulators.




  • To be announced soon!

Performance requirements:

  • Mandatory full attendance at all meetings (Kick-off meeting and all presentations). Mid-term talks are optional.
  • Discussion paper – text (Introduction – Conclusion) approximately 15 pages long.
  • Presentation, moderation and discussion (30 min + 25 min per team).
  • Oral participation and discussion of other papers and presentations.


  • Each topic will be analyzed by two students. The teams will be set and the topics will be assigned to each team at the kick-off meeting.
  • An analytical research paper will be assigned to each topic.
  • The main task of the discussion paper is to present the topic from both, research and practice, perspectives. You should explore the topic and the relevant literature in detail.
  • The discussion paper should include:
    • a focused practice perspective (including the regulation issues and the companies’ views),
    • a research literature review (including empirical evidence and analytical research), and
    • a critical explanation and analysis of the assigned research paper’s formal model. (The emphasis of the analysis is on moral hazard and adverse selection problems connected to the topic of conservatism in accounting.)
  • Provisions for formal design: The rules regarding the form and citation already established in scientific literature should be used. If necessary, consult any of the books on academic writing.