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Ethics is concerned with what society considers to be right or wrong i.e., it relates to standards of behaviour. At the surface level it seems like Ethics aims to do the same thing as Law does but ethics goes deeper – it covers aspects of behaviours that may be legal but still inappropriate.
Finance, Accounting and Audit Professionals are expected to be the ethical guardians of an entity’s financial information. Financial statements of an entity as expected to be true and fair. Unethical behaviours such as window dressing and creative accounting may provide short term benefits, but the lies could eventually unravel and will have profound impact on the professionals and the profession itself. Loss of trust is the biggest impact that would eventually result in the business not surviving. Numerous examples of such instance are available throughout history – from Enron to Sathyam to the recent tax leak scandals in Australia.
Lot of ethical behaviour is regulated through law, while the remaining is controlled by the supervisory bodies of the respective profession/work/skill.
There are three aspects to your ACCA Qualification:
ACCA not only trains a student to be a good accountant, but also an accountant who is good. Of course, ethics itself is dependent on the context and approach of the individual and society as a whole; similarly, professionalism has both global and local cultural quirks. But the knowledge of all such possibilities is essential for new accounting professionals.
ACCA does this by exposing students to a range of practical ethical perspectives and several self-tests requiring reflection in one’s own ethical behaviour and values throughout the course. In addition, ACCA also focuses on Ethics as a separate component of education though 2 modules. Each and every student, Affiliate and Member of ACCA is also subject to the ACCA Code of Ethics and Conduct.
This blog focuses on the two Ethics modules offered by ACCA.
ACCA offers 2 modules for ACCA future members and members to learn and apply ethics and professionalism.
This module is to be taken up by FIA students and students attempting papers AB, MA, and FA in the ACCA qualification to gain the Diploma in Accountant and Business. This is an online, interactive module, designed to help the students develop their understanding of what it means to act professionally and ethically in the work he/she carries out. There is no set time allocated to complete this module and ACCA encourages the student to complete the module at his/her own pace to allow each student to reflect on what he/she has learnt over the course of the above papers.
This is a paid module available to students, Affiliates and Members. Students and present Affiliates need to complete this module before they can apply for membership, while Members can take this module as part of their CPD.
The module ensures that all individuals have the broader ethics, communication, commercial, innovation, analysis, and evaluation skills core to membership and essential for shaping the future of business. In addition, it develops skills in leadership, negotiation, conflict management, thinking commercially and scepticism development integrated with realistic business situations to improve employability and careers success.
This module consists of six modules, covering topics like Ethics and Professionalism, Personal Effectiveness, Leadership and Team work Etc.
ACCA recommends that students take this module up before attempting the Strategic Professional exams as it focuses on developing vitally important ethical behaviour and judgement to ensure finance professionals are equipped with the skills needed to support exam success at Strategic Professional level.
Ethics is not a topic to be completed in just one blog entry – We will discuss more about ethics in upcoming blogs, from its place in ACCA to the general business world. Stay tuned!\
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