Specialization Accounting and Taxation
What is it about?
The specialization “Accounting & Taxation” focuses on the main aspects of tax systems, international tax management, consolidated financial reporting, and auditing. In a globalized world many companies are part of a multinational group, and it is therefore important to be acquainted with the tax and accounting ramifications of various countries. Such knowledge is crucial for management decisions on location, investment, finance, and on the use of management judgment for financial statements.
The specialization “Accounting & Taxation” focuses on:
Tax planning and anti-avoidance rules for multinational enterprises,
Tax optimal decision making,
Effective tax rates and their use in comparing the tax burden in different countries,
Preparation of consolidated financial statements
Analysis of annual reports
International Standards on Auditing
Planning and conducting an audit
What are career prospects?
Our graduates have excellent job prospects and are in very high demand as top qualified accounting and tax experts. The majority of our graduates works in “Big 4” and “mid-tier” consulting firms, and proceed to be certified tax consultants and/or certified auditors. Graduates also follow a career in the corporate world (accounting, tax function), as a starting point for a business executive carreer (CFO, head of accounting, head of tax). Finally, the specialization “Accounting & Taxation” also prepares for a career in the public sector, government authorities and international organizations.
Students who wish to continue their education may consider WU’s master programs focusing on accounting and taxation in German language, with several courses taught in English. Internationally, any other master program in accounting and tax is equally useful.
“Master in Steuern und Rechnungslegung” (https://www.wu.ac.at/studium/master/steuern-und-rechnungslegung/ueberblick)
“Master in Finanzwirtschaft und Rechnungswesen” (https://www.wu.ac.at/studium/master/finanzwirtschaft-und-rechnungswesen/ueberblick)
Who will teach you?
Harald Amberger, PhD
Prof. Dr. Ewald Aschauer
Prof. Dr. Klaus Hirschler
Prof. Dr. Katrin Hummel
Prof. Dr. Matthias Petutschnig
Which courses are included?
The specialization includes five courses with a total of 20 ECTS:
Course I: Taxation of corporate income (4 ECTS)
Course II: Financial Statements (4 ECTS)
Course III: International Tax Strategy (4 ECTS)
Course IV: Auditing (4 ECTS)
Course V: Seminar in Accounting and Taxation (4 ECTS)
Course I - Taxation of corporate income
The first course focuses on the key principles of business taxation and their implications for decision-making. More specifically, the course covers, among other:
Different types of taxes and their relevance for tax revenue.
Key concepts of (business) taxation such as statutory, effective, average, and marginal tax rates, questions of tax incidence, etc.
Key principles of business taxation, including neutral tax systems, the taxation of different legal forms (e.g., sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations), the relevance of financial accounting for the determination of the tax base, the tax treatment of losses, and the taxation of corporate dividends.
The impact of taxes on business decisions.
Course II – Financial Statements
This course is separated into two parts. The first part provides an introduction into the current state of sustainability reporting standards in Europe which play an essential role for companies in the preparation of sustainability reports. With the growing importance of sustainability and the increasing legal requirements, it is becoming necessary for companies to publish not only financial but also sustainability information.
Most common voluntary reporting standards
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
Value Reporting Foundation
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Mandatory reporting regulations
EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD)
Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)
EU Taxonomy Regulation
European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS)
The focus of the second part is to understand the preparation of group financial statements. In a globalized world, many entities act as part of a multinational group. Students therefore need an understanding of how the most important techniques of consolidation, and their reflection and interpretation in group statements:
Business combinations (IFRS 3)
What is a business combination?
Who is the acquirer, who is the acquiree?
When does the acquirer gain control in accordance with IFRS 10?
How to account for a business combination?
Preparation of consolidated financial statements (IFRS 10);
Capital consolidation, debt consolidation;
Income and expense consolidation;
Intragroup profit elimination.
Joint arrangements (IFRS 11);
Joint venture vs joint control.
Investments in associates and joint ventures (IAS 28)
What is an associate and what is significant influence?
What is the equity method and how does it work?
Course III – International Tax Strategy
The second tax course covers basic issues of international tax strategies, business taxation and tax law. Particular the course deals with:
Tax planning in multinational enterprises, and anti-avoidance rules
Differences in tax systems and alternative approaches to business taxation
Effective tax rates
their use in comparing different countries
their use for locational decisions
Taxation of cross-border dividends
Course IV – Financial Analysis and Auditing
The focus of this course is on the financial analysis and the auditing process of group financial statements. Students learn how an in-depth analysis of group statements helps to evaluate the economic performance of the businesses, to judge on investment opportunities. Topics in auditing include generally accepted auditing standards; tests of compliance; the concepts of audit risk, materiality, and evidence; and ethical conduct.
Key figures, ratios and cash flow.
Regulatory audit environment
EU regulations and directives
Professional regulation regarding independence
International Standards on Auditing (ISA)
Codes of conducts and ethics in auditing
Planning and conducting an audit
Evidence and testing
Completion and reporting
Audit opinion and auditors’ report
Reporting to those charged with governance
Course V: Seminar in Accounting and Taxation
The Seminar focuses on current topics in Accounting and Taxation. Participants will learn how to formulate and answer a research question based on existing literature. The main goal of the course is to research, write and present a small research paper. The course will prepare the participants for their future work on a bachelor or master thesis. The topics will include various aspects of the other four courses.