Chair of Accounting and Auditing

Overview

Supporter

Leipzig Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK)

Academic Group at HHL

Finance, Accounting and Corporate Governance

Chairholder

Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch

Research Professor

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Hoffmann

Honorary Professor

Prof. Dr. Mark-Ken Erdmann

Research Associates

  • Saskia Erben
  • Sébastien Jost
  • Philipp Ottenstein
  • Hendrik Pieper
  • Carl W. Weuster
  • Sophie Winter

Courses

  • Advanced International Financial Reporting
  • Advanced International Financial Reporting and Communication
  • Consolidated Financial Statements
  • Consolidated Financial Statements and Analysis
  • Financial Analysis
  • Financial Analysis and Modelling
  • Financial Reporting and Communication
  • International Accounting
  • M&A Reporting and Investor Relations

Research Areas

  • Reporting (IFRS adoption and enforcement, materiality of reported information, earnings management)
  • Investor relations (consistency of information from investor relations and reporting)
  • Capital markets (analyst behavior, financial covenants)
  • Sports management

Network and Business Contacts

  • C.I.R.A. – Circle Investor Relations Austria
  • Deloitte GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft
  • Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft
  • Ernst & Young Stiftung
  • Gesellschaft für kapitalmarktorientierte Rechnungslegung e. V. (GKR) (Society for Capital Market-Oriented Financial Reporting)
  • Kirchhoff Consult AG
  • KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft
  • manager magazin new Media GmbH
  • 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.

Courses

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

  • Advanced International Financial Reporting
  • Advanced International Financial Reporting and Communication
  • Consolidated Financial Statements
  • Consolidated Financial Statements and Analysis
  • Financial Analysis
  • Financial Analysis and Modelling
  • Financial Reporting and Communication
  • International Accounting
  • M&A Reporting and Investor Relations

Research

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. 

REPORTING

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.

INVESTOR RELATIONS

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.

CAPITAL MARKETS

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.

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)

Consulting

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.

Team

  • 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:
    apo-discounter.de – Analyse des Kundenverhaltens beim Bestellprozess (2012)