• April 26th, 2016

Accounting and Society

Paper, Order, or Assignment Requirements

Essay Question: ASSIGNMENT QUESTION:

A dam in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, located within a mining operation controlled by BHP Billiton, collapsed on 5th November 2015. The dam collapse was reported to have caused at least 19 deaths, destroyed livelihoods and villages, left hundreds of people homeless, and poisoned a major river.
The dam collapse has created many issues that BHP Billiton is addressing or will need to address. Of relevance to MAA310 Accounting and Society, these issues include the valuation of the relevant mining operation as an asset, the recognition of damages and rehabilitation costs arising from the mine collapse, and the disclosure of relevant social and environmental information relating to the collapse.
Required:
You are to write a research essay which outlines the accounting and disclosure issues facing BHP Billiton as a result of the dam collapse. In the course of your answer, you should include discussion of a) the accounting principles and standards applicable to (i) the recognition and valuation of the mining operation as an asset and (ii) the potential liabilities arising from the dam collapse, b) the factors that would influence the accounting policy choice decisions in these respects to be made by BHP Billiton’s directors, and c) the nature of, and theoretical reasons for, the social and environmental disclosures that BHP Billiton has made as a result of the dam collapse..

ASSIGNMENT GUIDANCE:
The following represents a suggested approach to answering the assignment question (you should read this in association with the assignment marking rubric):

INTRODUCTION (eg 200 to 250 words):
The introduction to the essay should explain the format, content and structure of the essay and introduce the event to be discussed in the assignment (ie the BHP dam disaster).

BODY OF THE ESSAY:
The body of the essay should ensure a coverage of the four specific aspects asked for in the assignment question, as follows:

Recognition and valuation of the mining operation as an asset (eg 400 to 500 words):
The general accounting principles (eg from the conceptual framework) and from applicable accounting standards should be discussed in the context of the issues facing BHP Billiton arising from the dam collapse with respect to the mining operation (asset) recognition and valuation. In particular, for example, how would the dam collapse affect the balance sheet valuation of the mining operation and how would that affect expense recognition? The discussion of valuation within Topic 3 (normative theories) could be applicable here.

Potential liabilities arising from the dam collapse (eg 400 to 500 words):
The general accounting principles (eg from the conceptual framework) and from applicable accounting standards should be discussed in the context of the issues facing BHP Billiton arising from the dam collapse with respect to the potential liabilities facing the company. In particular, for example, how would the dam collapse affect the balance sheet valuation of liabilities and how would that affect expense recognition?

Factors influencing the accounting policy decisions (for the mining operation as an asset and potential liabilities) (eg 400 to 500 words):
The issue of accounting policy choice (positive accounting theory) was covered in Topic 4 of MAA310. The issues discussed there, in terms of factors motivating managers/directors with respect to accounting policy choice decisions, should be applied to the situation facing BHP Billiton with the accounting decisions to be made regarding the dam collapse.

Social and environmental disclosures(eg 400 to 500 words):
The area of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and CSR reporting was covered in Topic 6 of MAA310. The assignment should discuss the social/environmental disclosures that would be required from BHP Billiton in response to the dam collapse, and should include discussion of any theories/theoretical frameworks that may be applicable to the situation.

CONCLUSION (eg 200 to 250 words):

The assignment should include a brief summary/conclusion that brings the assignment to a clear end.

RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE:
The assignment should ensure that it reflects the student having undertaken appropriate research in answering the questions asked. In particular, a minimum of five peer-reviewed academic or professional articles must be incoprorated. In addition, as with any essay, all relevant references must be referenced in an appropriate format (eg Harvard system).

 

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