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.
Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch
To present relevant information transparently, while avoiding information overflow and inconsistencies, is a tremendous challenge for capital-market-oriented companies. The increasing regulatory requirements and expectations of investors reinforce this. As part of the “Investors’ Darling” competition for the German market and the competition “Austrian Financial Communications Award” for the Austrian market, me and my team analyze the financial market communication of capital-market-oriented companies. The goal is to identify the effective and investor-oriented communication strategy. In addition to this, my research focuses on issues of international accounting and corporate governance.
After completing my studies at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, my audit activity at a Big4-company, as well as postdoctoral studies at the TU Clausthal, I accepted the professorship at the Chair of Accounting and Auditing at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. I also work as a guest professor at the University of Vienna in the field of “Selected Foreign Accounting Systems”, and I am a member of several scientific and professional organizations in the field of accounting, auditing and corporate governance.
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.
Business Fundamentals II
Financial Analysis and Communication
Financial Analysis and Modeling
Integrated Case Study
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. Another focus of the chair is on questions of the management of professional sports clubs. The chair sees itself as a trendsetter, particularly in the areas of:
Digitalization has become a global mega trend that influences society at every level. This is all the more true for corporate communication. The digitalization of financial communication has many facets and is to be seen as the basis for the communicative reporting approach. Companies must actively engage with digital annual reports and the communication of investor relations information via social media. The Chair accompanies these trends and makes current studies on digitalisation in capital market communication available on the Digital Investor Relations (DIR) website.
Sustainability reporting is the driver in current regulation and corporate communication. Sustainability communication encompasses more than just sustainability reporting in accordance with legal requirements. Companies must anchor a holistic, integrative understanding of sustainability in their organisation and in their entire corporate communication.
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.
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 in an interdisciplinary team with leading institutions in financial communication and relevant practice.
Mergers & acquisitions (M&A), business combinations, purchase price allocation (PPA) and goodwill are highly relevant and constant topics for companies in the capital markets. In particular, the level of goodwill is seen as an indicator of management quality. These topics are therefore of interest not only to reporting companies, but also to users of financial communications, as they can also be indicators of earnings management on the part of reporting companies.
In the area of sports management, the chair looks at the success planning and strategies of professional sports clubs and how recognised business management concepts can be applied.
Football Management Quality-Score (FoMa Q-Score)
Managing a football club has become much more complex in recent years as clubs have turned into football companies and a growing number of stakeholders have entered the football industry. The clubs’ capabilities to handle the increased complexity vary, turning management quality into a crucial competitive (dis-)advantage. ZÜLCH & PALME (2017) have established a framework, referred to as FoMa Q-Score, which comprehensively assesses management quality in professional football clubs along four dimensions, namely Sporting Success, Financial Performance, Fan Welfare Maximization and Leadership & Governance. The framework of the FoMa Q-Score has been published in the scientific journal “Sports, Business and Management” (2020, Vol. 10 No. 5, pp. 567-598). The FoMa Q-Score is updated once a year.
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 (Group Lagardère, Puma), as well as the members of the Sports Management Strategic Interest Group (SIG) of the European Academy of Management Conference, where the FoMa Q-Score has been presented in June 2019. The authors would also like to thank IHK Leipzig for the continued support of the Chair of Accounting and Auditing and the research in this topic.
Sports Management Study: FoMa Q-Score 2023
This new 2023 edition of the FoMa Q-Score 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 professional football clubs’ management quality. The FoMa Q-Score has become a well-established management tool with high practical relevance in recent years, even more so in light of the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested football managers can make use of our findings, which now also reflect the full COVID-19 effects on financials and non-financials in this latest edition.
The HHL Football Fact Sheet Series presents a summary of academic papers on sports management. Based on outstanding master theses as well as scientific working papers and articles focusing on the current top issues in international professional football, brief presentations are offered that can provide practical assistance in essential management issues. These are empirical as well as normative elaborations and their practical implications.
Sustainability in equestrian sports at the example of Partner Pferd 2022
Equestrian sports has a high level of social sustainability. This is the result of a study that we conducted on behalf of EN GARDE Marketing GmbH.
The study was conducted at the Leipzig trade fair “Partner Pferd 2022” with around 900 trade fair visitors. In addition, a comparison and validation survey was launched via social media. Our study results show: Social sustainability can be considered a strength for equestrian sports in isolation as well as for the fair in particular, especially in comparison with similar events. The Leipzig event stands out with above-average results for the UN sustainability criteria “Quality education”, “Gender equality” as well as “Reduced inequalities
The extensive research slide set is available upon request. Please contact: Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch (email@example.com)
Sports Management Study: The German Bundesliga Clubs and Their Future
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!
The extensive research slide set is available upon request. Please contact: Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sports Management Study: Is the 50+1 rule still appropriate? (in German)
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.)
Sports Management Study: Corporate Accountability in Professional Football (in German)
Corporate Accountability in Professional Football – Rethinking Corporate Responsibility and Communicating Successfully
The consequences of the corona pandemic sparked a lively discussion about the financial stability of the German Bundesliga and its sustainable management. In particular, the lack of transparency and credibility was the focus of the discussion. In the course of the reorientation of professional football, the present contribution would like to give the impetus to emphasize the non-financial aspects, which have often been neglected so far. It is about the chance to become aware of corporate responsibility and to actively manage it. This not only concerns economic aspects, but also social, societal and ecological aspects. The study respectively article is thus an appeal to rethink the corporate responsibility of Bundesliga clubs and to make it clear that long-term success means sustainable business. This is where the “Corporate Accountability Cycle” framework, originally developed for the corporate context, comes in and illustrates how clubs can effectively manage and communicate their corporate responsibility. Non-financial reporting is not an end in itself, but the result of a functioning corporate accountability management system. The framework consists of nine specific steps that provide a first practical guide to corporate responsibility reporting in professional football as an important starting point to run the change.
Are you interested in doing research in the focus areas of our chair? The chair offers topics in both research areas Financial Communication and Sports Management. Below you will find some suggestions.
Do you have your own topic that could be integrated into the research canon of the chair? Please contact us at email@example.com.
Financial communication through social media
The benefits of artificial intelligence for investor relations
Artificial Intelligence: Potential regulation and reporting standards
Financial communication in start-ups (use HHL’s network such as the Digital Space)
From strategy reporting to storytelling to credible capital market communication
Sustainability reporting quo vadis
Investor readiness concept for professional football clubs
Valuation analysis and financial forecasting in professional sports
Multi-club ownership constructs and their modelling
Identification of new revenue strategies for professional sports clubs
Sustainability concept for professional sports
Forms of financing and their performance-oriented evaluation for German professional sport
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.
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