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Study Zone

A new ethical dawn

Stephanie Keenan explains how the new Ethics and Professional Skills Module will work

January 2018

You will hopefully be aware that ACCA are introducing changes to the Strategic Professional level of the qualification. From the September 2018 sitting, a new case study paper, Strategic Business Leader (SBL), will be introduced replacing the current P1 (Governance, Risk & Ethics) and the P3 (Business Strategy) papers and P2 (Corporate Reporting) will be replaced with Strategic Business Reporting.
Ahead of this, the new Ethics and Professional Skills module was launched on 31 October 2017, replacing the previous Ethics module. The new module has been designed to make you more competent in dealing with real-life business and ethical situations and dilemmas. If you completed the old Ethics module prior to 31 October there is no requirement for you to complete the new module. However, you will be given access to it and may wish to complete it to ensure you have an understanding of all the ethical and professional behaviours ACCA expect of their students and members.
The new Ethics and Professional Skills module is an online interactive requirement that you must complete as one of the three requirements in order to gain full membership to the ACCA – your exams, the practical experience requirement (PER) and the Ethics and Professional Skills module.
Over recent years many businesses have received public condemnation for their behaviour towards society as a whole. As a result, accountants have come under increased pressure to guide those who manage businesses to behave in a way that is in the best interests of all stakeholders, and not just attempting to maximise shareholder wealth. It is with this in mind that ACCA have created the Ethics and Professional Skills module.
Not only will it will aid your technical knowledge by developing the ethical and professional behaviours you’ll need to successfully complete your Strategic Professional exams, in particular providing you with some of the skills needed to gain the professional skills marks in the SBL exam, but it also provides reassurance to your employer/future employers that you understand and can apply ethical behaviours in real-world work situations.
This new module – the first of its kind – is split into six separate interactive units:
• Ethics and professionalism.
• Personal effectiveness.
• Innovation and scepticism.
• Commercial awareness, analysis, evaluation and problem solving.
• Leadership and team work.
• Communication and interpersonal skills.
Each unit is broken down into sub-sections and looks at a particular behaviour/skill. The unit covers both the knowledge needed to understand the behaviour and also an insight into how it could be applicable in real-world work situations. You will be presented with short scenarios where you get a chance to demonstrate how you would deal with that situation in the work place. They can then be saved into your ‘My portfolio’ sections of the module and to demonstrate achievement towards your performance objectives.
The final element of the module is an online assessment. If you demonstrate the required skills and behaviours you will receive a certificate as proof of completion.
The entire module is expected to take around 20 hours to complete and costs £60, payable directly to ACCA. This is a one-off payment, which means if you are not successful in meeting the requirements of the module first time you can retry the assessment as many times as needed until you demonstrate the necessary behaviours. The module will be available to you in MyACCA post completion for you to use as reference if you need any guidance with a real-world work situation.
In terms of when to take the module, currently I would recommend you attempt it just before or alongside P1 (or as close as possible after sitting the P1 examination) as there are several crossovers between the Ethics and Professional Skills module and the existing P1 paper.
From September, when the new Strategic Professional exams become examinable I would strongly recommend that you attempt the module prior to the commencement of your studies at the Strategic Professional level and definitely before you sit Strategic Business Leader. You will need a solid understanding of the skills and behaviours the Ethics and Professional Skills module develop to be successful at the case study. .
• Stephanie Keenan is a tutor at Kaplan Financial

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