AC313-Business and Professional Ethics

Module Provider: Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites: AC110 Introduction to Accounting or AC101 Introduction to Accounting
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: MM295 Business Ethics 1 or MM359A Business Ethics 1 or MM359B Business Ethics for International Management
Current from: 2022/3

Module Convenor: Ms Rhianydd Dow

Type of module:

Summary module description:

An introduction to the moral norms of international accounting and financial management, the ethical choices to which they give rise and the resources on which such choices can be based. 



Business has its own moral norms, which often differ from those in society at large, while both business and social norms evolve over time and vary between cultures. Within business, the area of finance and accounting raises particular issues in this respect as the micro-culture of financial trading, the professional norms of the accounting profession and the overwhelming preoccupation with money and profit introduce a variety of conflicting moral pressures. 

This module aims to equip students with the intellectual foundations for negotiating the moral world that ensues. Throughout the module, applications to real-world situations are used both to develop students' analytical, reflexive and decision-making skills and to introduce them to the range of moral issues and contexts encountered in the practices of accountancy, investment and financial management. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, it is expected that students will be able to:

  Mastery of the discipline  Skills in research and enquiry  Personal effectiveness and self-awareness  Global engagement and multi-cultural awareness  Employability 
1. Identify the moral elements of complex business and management situations, and analyse these from a variety of perspectives.  8,9 3   2 2
2. Describe and discuss the main schools of philosophical ethics, and evaluate the strengths and limitations of their arguments    3,4      
3. Appreciate contemporary debates in relation to the field of business ethics, and the arguments put forward in those debates  8 3      
4. Identify and apply the basic principles of ethical reasoning, based on different cultural and philosophical traditions  9 3   2  
5. Construct a reasoned ethical argument for responding in a particular way, including responses to possible criticisms, from both moral and economic perspectives, and research and present their arguments, supported with appropriate academic literature, in the required format.     3 4   2

Additional outcomes:

This module offers students the opportunity to develop team working, presentational and research and writing skills which will help to prepare them both for their further academic study and for their professional careers. 

Outline content:

  • The institution of morality, and variations of moral norms across time, cultures and contexts.  

  • Ethics and life choices, distinction between ethics and morals. 

  • Schools and traditions of ethical reasoning; their achievements and limitations. 

  • Business and moral culture; corporate governance and ethics. 

  • The moral norms of international accounting and finance.  

  • Applications of ethical reasoning to international accounting and finance. 

Global context:

In evaluating the need for ethical behaviour in business, global, cultural and social contexts will be considered through a variety of internationally relevant case studies. Students will develop the ability to conduct a reasoned debate with people from different cultures and perspectives on complex and emotively laden issues. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

This module uses a combination of traditional lectures, flipped and blended learning to provide students with face-to-face and on-line activities and support, direct their reading and prepare them for student-led seminars in which they will evaluate and report on case studies highlighting key ethical issues.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 10
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 52
    Wider reading (directed) 30
    Preparation for presentations 30
    Preparation for seminars 20
    Essay preparation 30
    Reflection 18
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

  • Team presentation worth 30% to take place during final workshop of the term.

  • Individual essay (2,500 words) and personal reflection (500 words) worth 70% to be submitted in the summer term.

Formative assessment methods:

Formative feedback will be provided throughout the module, and especially during seminars, through peer discussion and review, and from tutors. 

Penalties for late submission:

The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

Requirement for a University pass 

A minimum mark of 40%

Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment, where necessary, will be by submission of an essay only. 

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):


Last updated: 22 September 2022


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