Chair of Accounting and Auditing



  • Leipzig Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK)

Academic Group at HHL

  • Finance, Accounting and Corporate Governance


  • Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch

Research Professor

  • Prof. Dr. Sebastian Hoffmann

Honorary Professor

  • Prof. Dr. Mark-Ken Erdmann

Research Associates

  • Saskia Erben, Maria Gebhardt, Sébastien Jost, Philipp Ottenstein, Hendrik Pieper,
    Toni Thun

Research Areas

  • Reporting
  • Investor relations
  • Capital markets
  • Sports management

Courses (Selection)

  • Financial Analysis and Modeling
  • Financial Reporting
  • Integrated Case Study
  • Stakeholder Communication

Network and Business Contacts

  • C.I.R.A. – Circle Investor Relations Austria
  • Deloitte GmbH
  • Ernst & Young GmbH
  • Ernst & Young Stiftung
  • Society for Capital Market-Oriented Financial Reporting (GKR)
  • Kirchhoff Consult AG
  • manager magazin Verlagsgesellschaft mbH
  • ODGERS BERNDTSON Unternehmensberatung GmbH
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH
  • Rickmers Holding GmbH & Cie. KG
  • Roland Berger Holding GmbH
  • Warth & Klein Grant Thornton AG
  • Wiley / Erich Schmidt Verlag (ESV) / nwb Verlag

Quality over quantity.

Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch
Holder of the Chair of Accounting and Auditing
Read his profile

What we do

The aim of the Chair of Accounting and Auditing is to equip HHL´s students with profound and multidisciplinary knowledge in the fields of accounting, especially international financial reporting (IFRS) and financial communication, combined with a sense for quality and professionalism, in order to prepare them for managerial positions in their future careers.

The Chair offers a variety of graduate courses which emphasize critical thinking and challenging the status quo. With regard to research and teaching, we closely collaborate with major companies and audit firms in Germany.
In order to incorporate our strategic objective the Chair founded the Society for Capital Market-Oriented Financial Reporting (GKR e.V.). Thereby, we aim at combining accounting and financial communication practice with state-of-the-art research.


The Chair offers introductory and elective courses in accounting and auditing. Furthermore, students may major in financial accounting, with the flexibility to explore fields of special interest. To impart profound knowledge about International Financial Accounting Standards (IFRS), to stress the differences to German GAAP, and to demonstrate the value relevance of financial communication are the main objectives of the academic program. Our courses incorporate and emphasize the dimensions of the RIC model, i.e. Reporting, Investor Relations, and Capital Markets.

Course List

  • Cost Accounting
  • Financial Analysis and Communication
  • Financial Analysis and Modeling
  • Financial Reporting
  • Integrated Case Study
  • Stakeholder Communication


The Chair of Accounting and Auditing pursues an active research program in the context of accounting according to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and financial communication with respect to the RIC Model. 


Digital Communication

Digitalization has become a global mega trend that influences society at every level. This is all the more true for corporate communication. In the next years, listed European firms will be required to disclose their annual reports in XBRL and HTML formats, for financial years beginning on or after January 1, 2020. The European Securities and Market Authority (ESMA) has recently developed these requirements, to improve the transparency, accessibility, analysis, and comparability of financial statement information and thus enhance the information environment in the European capital markets. In his doctoral project, research associate Hendrik Pieper analyzes this ongoing transformation process of reporting in economic aspects.
In the context of the annual Investors’ Darling competition, the Chair of Accounting and Auditing examines the Investor Relations (IR) websites of the 160 German DAX companies. The analysts consider the cornerstones of non-verbal digital communication with investors, such as the “equity story”, investment highlights, and ad-hoc information. To this end, we have kick-started our research project on digital reporting in early 2017 and reviewed best practices in the field over the course of the year. Our findings have culminated in the development of a measurement tool for the quality of digital reporting as well as the publication of a position paper, Change before you have to – Über die Zukunft der Finanzberichterstattung in einer digitalen Welt, in the KoR IFRS column on Reporting and Investor Relations.

Standard Setting and Enforcement

Research Professor Sebastian Hoffmann takes responsibility for the research area “Standard Setting and Enforcement”, which is concerned with the emergence of accounting standards (Standard Setting) and assuring a compliant application of these standards (Enforcement).
Projects in the realm of Standard Setting study the behavior of regulators (such as the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)), corporations and auditors in various national and international, contemporary and historical settings. The aim is to understand the institutional, organizational and procedural complexities of standard setting processes and their potential to be exploited for political purposes.The research on Enforcement focuses on institutional and operational issues in relation to the correct application of accounting standards. Current projects assess different enforcement regimes with regard to their effectiveness and efficiency. This research is of significant practical relevance because regulators struggle with the fact that a substantial number of (audited) financial statements are erroneous. This finding not only impacts on financial statement users’ decision-making but also on the stability of financial markets and economies more generally.

Strategy Reporting

Companies’ long-term strategy and other prospective information provide valuable insights into how they see the future of their business model as well as its associated risks and chances. In Germany, DRS 20 provides a quasi-legal framework for strategy disclosure in annual reporting. Since firm strategies build on sensitive and valuable information, executives precisely trade off which and how much strategic information they would disclose. Indeed, investors and financial analysts require communication on strategies and their degree of execution. On the other hand, competitors or hostile acquirers can exploit such knowledge about the firm to its disadvantage.
As of today, research has generated few insights about the measurement, determinants, and value relevance of strategy disclosure, especially voluntarily disclosed information.
In her dissertation project, research associate Sophie Winter evaluates the quality of voluntary strategy disclosure of capital-market oriented German companies and studies the determinants and capital market effects that are associated with this disclosure.
Using a self-constructed scoring model to analyze the voluntary strategy disclosure quality, the Chair of Accounting and Auditing has been examining the strategy reporting of capital market-oriented companies since 2014. It should be emphasized that the strategy reporting of the companies considered is deficient and offers a great potential for improvement.
Some research results have already been published in the journal KoR IFRS:
Zülch, H./Winter, S. (2018): What‘s next? – Status Quo der Strategieberichterstattung von HDAX-Unternehmen, in: Kapitalmarktorientierte Rechnungslegung 2018, S. 416-417.
Zülch, H./Winter, S. (2017): Everything except strategy – Wege zu einer effektiven Strategieberichterstattung, in: Kapitalmarktorientierte Rechnungslegung 2017, S. 426-433.

Sustainability Reporting

Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) is gaining increasing economic relevance and political support. Banks, analysts and other members of the financial community today no longer base their investment decision on financial indicators alone. Increasingly, ESG-metrics are considered in the evaluation process. Consequently, regulators are rediscovering disclosure on companies’ ecological, social and governance (ESG) performance as a means to bridge information asymmetries between corporations and their financial stakeholders and enable a sustainable allocation of resources.
Research associates Saskia Erben and Carl Weuster examine various aspects of ESG disclosure for the capital market, such as the status quo of ESG reporting in German firms, the value relevance of ESG information to financial analysts and investors and the relation between regulation and reporting quality.
Our inquiries have culminated in the research paper Social Disclosure and the Socially Responsible Investment Process: A Literature Review, which has been accepted for presentation at the 41st Annual Congress of the European Accounting Association (EAA) in early 2018.


Financial Information

More than financial reporting – research in the field of financial communication at the Chair of Accounting and Auditing means both qualitative and quantitative studies on reporting and investor relations (IR) activities. According to the RIC framework (Reporting, Investor Relations, and Capital Markets), we consequently link financial information to the capital markets’ developments related to equity investments, expressed by investors and financial analysts.
Research associate Philipp Ottenstein examines the determinants and capital market relevance of financial information in Europe, disseminated by corporate reporting and IR. In this area, a major research topic is the information environment on accounting earnings that analysts have when they project future firm parameters.


Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are highly relevant inorganic growth strategies for companies – especially for those active in saturated markets or industries. After a rapid end in the wake of the financial and economic crises of 2009, commentators have noted a recent surge in the M&A activity since 2014. However, the economic benefits for acquirers in this “seventh M&A wave” remain disputable: despite an ever-growing nexus of advisory from investment banking and consulting industries, the literature tends to show that a majority of M&A transactions do not succeed financially.
Research associate Sébastien Jost will investigates the determinants of M&A transactions performance and the role of the due diligence process.


Start of the German Bundesliga Season 2020/21

The start of the 2020/21 Bundesliga season brings with it many hopes. On the part of the fans, the desire for normality is becoming ever louder. For their part, the clubs are striving to enter a “competitive mode” by means of spectators and to get away from anonymous and unmotivating ghost games. At the same time, the spectator income, the so-called ticketing, is a not to be underestimated part of the sales in the profit and loss accounts of professional clubs. With spectators you can not only score points financially, but also in sports. Is this really the case and what does it mean for the upcoming Bundesliga season?

Football Fact Sheet (in German): Die Bedeutung der Zuschauer für die Bundesliga: Sind die finanziellen Einbußen der Klubs der 1. Fußball-Bundesliga der Auslöser für die Öffnung der Stadien im Herbst 2020? Eine Analyse der HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management 

Study: The German Bundesliga Clubs and Their Future

Dear reader,

The Coronavirus has shocked the world, affects our health and social lives. Not least, its impact on the economy is dramatic. Even for the prime football leagues, the effective lockdown in many European countries has shaken up the business outlook. The decision to stop the 1. and 2. Bundesliga has blurred the sight into the future of the League. Therefore, this study aims at contributing to the question how robust the German Bundesliga clubs are—in both financial and management dimensions.

Here, we provide you with an overview to help the reader to understand “how to read” this study which reflects the information as of May 14th, 2020.

First, we understand our study as a stimulation for discussion in order to support German Football on its way to becoming the best in the world.

We would like to make our contribution with concrete recommendations.

During our research, we first considered the market of a professional German Football club and benchmarked the German Bundesliga to the other European top leagues.

In the next step, we analyzed the financial situation of all clubs in order to understand the challenges the clubs are currently facing. We put a special emphasis on the indicators of financial liquidity and solvency since these are the critical factors when aiming for financial robustness.

However, we believe that it is not sufficient to solely base the club´s future robustness on a financial basis. Thus, we looked in three additional dimensions, which there are management quality, player talent development, and of course sporting success. By doing so, we develop a differentiated scoring model that takes all these dimensions into account and results in one overall robustness score for each club. In order to relatively compare the scores of all clubs, we display the results in a ranking table, that is familiar for football fans.

The underlying scoring system of our study is based on publicly available data, which is mainly comprised by annual reports of football clubs. Additionally, we gave every club the chance to participate in our study and provide us with the latest data by asking for support via emails, that all clubs received twice. 9 clubs leveraged the opportunity and supported us with personal interviews and additional data.

We hope that this study will be seen as an invitation to discuss the robustness of German football. We would be pleased if our recommendations were to support the decision-makers. We wish you many new insights when reading our study!

Executive Summary: The German Bundesliga Clubs and Their Future

The extensive research slide set is available upon request. Please contact: Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch (

FoMa Q-Score

Managing a football club has become much more complex in recent years as they have turned into football companies and a growing number of stakeholders have entered the industry. The clubs’ capabilities to handle the increased complexity vary, turning management quality into a crucial competitive (dis-)advantage. This new edition of the FoMa Q-Score ranking builds on the framework established by ZÜLCH & PALME, 2017, which comprehensively assesses management quality along four dimensions, namely Sporting Success, Financial Performance, Fan Welfare Maximization and Leadership & Governance, in order to perform a longitudinal and cross-sectional analysis of the German and French professional football clubs’ management quality. In fact, filled with measurable key performance indicators (KPIs), these dimensions intend to objectively quantify the relevant success factors. Ultimately, the performance in all dimensions, referred to as FoMa Q-Score, indicates a club’s management quality. Football managers concer­ned can make use of our findings and derive specific actions to benchmark their club’s setups in order to make up ground or defend their competitive positions.
We gratefully acknowledge the valuable and constructive comments of our interview partners, namely high-level representatives of distinguished German football clubs (Borussia Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Bayern München, Hamburger SV and RB Leipzig), media representatives (11 Freunde, FINANCE), and ex­ternal stakeholders and parties (Group Lagardère, Puma, Odgers Berndtson), as well as the members of the Sports Management Strategic Interest Group (SIG) of the European Academy of Management Conference, where we presented the paper in June 2019.

HHL Working Paper: Management Quality of Professional Football Clubs The Football Management (FoMa) Q-Score 2019

Contact: Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch (

Is the 50+1 rule still appropriate?
An opinion on the controversial regulation in German professional football

German football is a role model all over the world. Not only the success of the national team, which has now manifested itself in four world championship titles, is part of this success story. The way it deals with its most important stakeholder group, the supporters, is particularly unique. The supporters’ well-being is one of the most important assets that the Bundesliga brand represents worldwide. However, the current developments in European football in particular are alarming. Those who cannot keep up with the high transfer fees will probably not be competitive in the long term, so that the call for the Bundesliga to be opened up to strategic investors is becoming ever louder – even or especially during the Corona crisis. But how does this fit together: Fanwelfare and strategic investors? The so-called 50+1 rule in German football created and still creates a balance. This article approaches the question raised by presenting for the first time an opinion on the German special path of the 50+1 rule. Based on this opinion and against the background of current developments, recommendations for action will be developed which may be part of the future discussion on the 50+1 rule in Germany.
(The study was published in German.)

HHL Working Paper: Ist die 50+1-Regel noch zeitgemäß? Ein Meinungsbild zur umstrittenen Regelung im deutschen Profifußball

Interested in doing research as a doctoral student? Browse our research topics.

Center for Financial Reporting and Consolidation

The Center for Financial Reporting & Consolidation (CFRC) is assigned to the Chair of Accounting and Auditing. It began its activities in July 2009.
The aim of the CFRC is to provide high quality research and consulting services to help companies, investors, banks and analysts manage the challenging environment of international accounting (IFRS) and corporate valuation. Bringing together accounting and valuation experts from both academia and corporate practice, the CFRC aims at promoting understanding and knowledge of IFRS reporting, consolidation and valuation. The CFRC thus combines consulting services with academic input based on scientific expertise in the area of international financial reporting and consolidation.

Research Areas

The research activities of the Center for Financial Reporting and Consolidation (CFRC) focus on IFRS accounting, consolidation and valuation questions as well as on current topics in corporate practice. The Center’s research is based on profound academic knowledge and the results excel in high relevance in practice. Besides current topics in the areas of international accounting, consolidation and valuation, the following fields are of particular relevance to the Center’s activities:

  • Accounting for business combinations according to IFRS 3
  • Impairment of assets according to IAS 36
  • Measuring corporate performance
  • Corporate valuation (in collaboration with HHL’s Center for Corporate Transactions)


Financial reporting, consolidation and valuation according to IFRS have evolved into a complex subject area that requires a high level of expertise. These topics have become even more demanding due to the high pace with which the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has published additional standards or revised existing ones. The purpose of the Center for Financial Reporting and Consolidation (CFRC) is to promote HHL’s involvement in consulting challenges regarding current issues in these demanding areas. The CFRC’s consulting services are based on academic input and scientific expertise in international financial reporting, consolidation and valuation. Contributions from experienced accounting and consolidation practitioners as well as valuation experts are a main part of the solutions the Center offers and round up our consulting approach.


  • Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch (Academic Director)
  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Schwetzler (Academic Director)
  • Prof. Dr. Mark-Ken Erdmann (Member of the Advisory Board)
  • Dr. Johannes Wirth (Member of the Advisory Board)

We are looking forward to hearing from you.
T: +49 341-9851-701
HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, Jahnallee 59, 04109 Leipzig, Germany

Knowledge transfer

Accounting, financial reporting and auditing are among the business disciplines that interact most significantly with business practice: On the one hand corporations develop new accounting practices, reporting and management tools and procedures that require scientific analysis. On the other hand they depend on theoretically derived state-of-the-art research results in order to be competitive.

This is why the Chair is heavily engaged in exchanging knowledge with corporate practice. By giving lectures in companies, inviting practitioners for special lectures, conducting field projects and actively participating in the work of corporate and scientific societies the Chair is transferring its expertise and research results into practice while identifying new research questions simultaneously.

Society for Capital Market-Oriented Financial Reporting (GKR)

The Society for Capital Market-Oriented Financial Reporting (abbr. GKR, Gesellschaft für kapitalmarktorientierte Rechnungslegung) deals with highly topical issues in financial reporting and auditing. It aims at encouraging discussions between scientists and practitioners, both within Leipzig and beyond.
GKR is backed by the theoretical expertise of HHL’s Chair of Accounting and Auditing, Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch, and the practical experience of numerous firms in industry, consulting and auditing. Also, well-recognized media partners are supporting the society’s aims.
Topicality, flexibility and excellence – these are the words that characterize GKR’s efforts. Current developments in accounting, financial reporting, auditing and corporate governance are discussed in a timely manner. The society’s members may suggest specific topics and GKR will thoroughly select adequate lecturers and speakers who possess an outstanding record in theory and practice.

Recent student consulting projects

  • Konsumgenossenschaft Leipzig eG:
    Identifikation, Bewertung, Dokumentation und (Re-) Design von Kerngeschäftsprozessen in der Abteilung Finanzen (2017)
  • Konsumgenossenschaft Leipzig eG:
    Neuausrichtung des Lieferservices der Konsumgenossenschaft Leipzig eG
    Projekt “Horizon” (2016)
  • SV Sparkassenversicherung Holding AG:
    Überprüfung und Weiterentwicklung des Geschäftsmodells der SV Sparkassen Versicherung (2015)
  • Christian Schmitz: How to reduce health care expenses: generating a business model for a start-up company specializing in pharmaceutical compounding of high-cost biological drugs (2014)
  • Experic GmbH:
    Expansionsstrategie Schweiz (2014)
  • Mitteldeutsche Braunkohlengesellschaft mbH:
    Preparing an Excel model for the valuation of subsidiaries compliant with HGB and IFRS regulations HHL (2013)
  • Apologistics GmbH: – Analyse des Kundenverhaltens beim Bestellprozess (2012)