Professional ethics concerns the moral issues that arise because of the specialist knowledge that professionals attain, and how the use of this knowledge should be governed when providing a service to the public. Conducting oneself in an ethical manner is an essential part of being a professional. The concept of Professional Ethics is partly comprised of what a professional should or should not do in the work place. It also encompasses a much greater part of the professionals life. If a professional is to have ethics then that person needs to adopt that conduct in all of his dealings.
Computer Societies around the world such as the IEEE and national bodies in Australia, Singapore, the UK and other countries have on their websites professional codes of ethics to consider and adopt in the way professionals conduct themselves in and out of the work place. Things that are included are concepts like: professional respect, avoidance of dishonest or fraudulent activity such as plagiarism and the professional development of the individual. Another aspect of this is the enhancement of the profession and the industry within which the professional works. This concerns a professional’s conduct and behaviour while carrying out their professional work.
This then, is work for the good of the community and mankind. A professional is a member of a vocation founded upon specialised educational training. The word professional traditionally means a person who has obtained a degree in a professional field. The term professional is used more generally to denote a white collar working person, or a person who performs commercially in a field typically reserved for hobbyists or amateurs. In western nations, such as the United States, the term commonly describes highly educated, mostly salaried workers, who enjoy considerable work autonomy, a comfortable salary, and are commonly engaged in creative and intellectually challenging work.
Less technically, it may also refer to a person having impressive competence in a particular activity. Because of the personal and confidential nature of many professional services and thus the necessity to place a great deal of trust in them, most professionals are held up to strict ethical and moral regulations. Ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is a branch of philosophy which seeks to address questions about morality; that is, about concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, justice, and virtue. Applied ethics, about how moral outcomes can be achieved in specific situations; Applied ethics involves examining specific controversial issues, such as abortion, infanticide, animal rights, environmental concerns, homosexuality, capital punishment, or nuclear war. Profesional Ethics
If one is attempting to live a just, and therefore ethical, life, then it follows that their actions should be virtuous in their vocation as well as their personal life. This is the beginning of professional ethics. Professional ethics were established, and are constantly being developed, as a guiding set of principles that help dictate what constitutes good behavior of a person in authority. While these ideals hold for any person in any job, they are more closely watched in positions of authority as to safeguard others from an abuse of power. Those who abuse their power are, ideally, stripped of their position when a violation of ethics has proven their authority unjust. Professional ethics, in short, are the means by which we judge authority’s validity. Professional responsibility
The professional carries additional moral responsibilities to those held by the population in general and in society. This is because professionals are capable of making and acting on an informed decision in situations that the general public cannot, because they have not received the relevant training. For example, a lay member of the public could not be held responsible for failing to act to save a car crash victim because they could not give an emergency tracheotomy. This is because they do not have the relevant knowledge.
In contrast, a fully trained doctor (with the correct equipment) would be capable of making the correct diagnosis and carrying out the procedure and we would think it wrong if they stood by and failed to help in this situation. You cannot be held accountable for failing to do something that you do not have the ability to do. Ethics are rules and values used in a professional setting (Changing Minds, n.d.). In the workplace managers and supervisors should set the standard for using ethics by showing respect, being honest, and promoting trust. If the management team uses unethical forms of communication, the team and business can fail.
Ethics are used world-wide in large companies and small businesses. Promoting ethics in the workplace gives employees a sense of worth and trust that can help the business and employees succeed (Joseph, Joshua, 2000). This additional knowledge also comes with authority and power. The client places trust in the professional on the basis that the service provided will be of benefit to them. It would be quite possible for the professional to use his authority to exploit the client. Main criteria for professional include the following:
1. A professional is a person that is paid for what they do. Qualifications have little to do with being a professional as the world’s “oldest profession” is strictly a monetary gain career. An amateur maybe more qualified than a professional but they are not paid, thus they are an amateur. 2. Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally. 3. Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession. 4. High quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy, primary/other research, administrative, marketing or other work endeavors.
5. A high standard of professional ethics, behavior and work activities while carrying out one’s profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc.). The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon the client just because he or she may not be able to pay or remunerate the professional. Often the professional is required to put the interest of the client ahead of his own interests. 6. Reasonable work moral and motivation. Having interest and desire to do a job well as holding positive attitude towards the profession are important elements in attaining a high level of professionalism.
7. Participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs b : having a particular profession as a permanent career c : engaged in by persons receiving financial return. 8. Appropriate treatment and relationships with colleagues. Special respect should be demonstrated to visitors and interns. An example must be set to perpetuate the attitude of one’s business without doing it harm. 9. Professional Attire – Including but not limited to, dress slacks, long-sleeve button down shirt, tie, dress shoes, etc.
Why is the Ethics and Professional Skills module being introduced?
Professional accountants need to demonstrate that they understand and can apply ethical and professional behaviour in real-world work situations. They must be capable of doing this in broader, more complex scenarios where integration of technical and professional skills is key. So in the Ethics and Professional Skills module - the first of its kind – you will meet a number of these real-world work scenarios to help you develop your ethical and professional skills.
What’s the structure of the Ethics and Professional Skills module?
The module is made up of 7 units. At the end of each Unit 1-6, there will be a series of assessments to embed your learning. Unit 7 is a final assessment and you’ll get a dashboard of your performance in that unit and a transcript and certificate on successful completion of the assessment. A syllabus for the Ethics and Professional Skills module is available.
How long does the new Ethics and Professional Skills module take?
The new module will take approximately 20 hours to complete. To ensure you fully benefit and develop the skills the module provides – skills employers have told us they need - the new module teaches and assesses a wide range of professional qualities essential to the workplace, including communication, commercial acumen, innovation, analysis and evaluation skills. The module has been developed to make sure it’s engaging and interactive. You’ll get lots of opportunity to respond to tasks/challenges, so your journey through it should be enjoyable as well as rewarding.
When should I complete the Ethics and Professional Skills module?
The new Ethics and Professional Skills module will also support you to exam success at Strategic Professional. To take maximum advantage of the support provided by the module, we recommend you complete it before attempting any exams at Strategic Professional, but as close as you can to the completion your Applied Skills examinations.
How does the Ethics and Professional Skills module support me in passing exams at the new Strategic Professional level?
Our new case study examination, Strategic Business Leader, will assess both technical and professional skills. The module will help you to develop and demonstrate these professional skills which you can then integrate with your technical skills in the exam. The module will introduce you to/help focus your thinking on real world work scenarios, developing your understanding and skills on how to approach the challenges presented. This is very similar to the approach you’ll be required to take at P level/Strategic Professional, so it’s great preparation and support for exam success.
What are professional skills and why are these important?
Professional skills are specific skills that you generally acquire through work-place experience – for example team-working, communication, negotiation ability, etc. In the Ethics and Professional Skills module, the specific professional skills are ethics and professionalism, personal effectiveness, innovation and scepticism, commercial awareness, leadership and team working and communication skills. As a professional accountant, you’ll continue to develop these technical and professional skills through lifelong Continuing Professional Development (CPD). As a result of the changing business landscape globally, employers are looking for their professional accountants to add value early in their career. So professional accountants who have the technical knowledge, skills and abilities - combined with professional skills and qualities - will be much more in demand by employers. So it’s important that ACCA professional accountants are able to make an immediate impact in their workplace
Is there a pass or fail of the Ethics and Professional Skills module?
Yes. There are a series of tests throughout the module and the final unit of the module is an integrated assessment where you have to successfully complete a range of assessments based on knowledge and skills acquired throughout the module. If you don’t pass then you will get feedback and you can try again.
How much does the Ethics and Professional Skills module cost?
As part of the overall changes to the professional level of the ACCA Qualification, our pricing has been reviewed and as a result, we will be introducing a charge of £60 for the Ethics and Professional Skills module. The design of the new Ethics and Professional Skills module – which integrates ethics with the wider range of advanced professional skills – is much more extensive than the current PEM and delivers significantly more value. In our pricing for Strategic Professional, we’ve ensured that the overall cost of the ACCA Qualification will not increase significantly from today’s cost. There is no resit cost for the module – once a student has paid £60, they will be able to do the assessment multiple times. And continue to have access to the module.
If I have partially completed the current PEM, will my work be transferred to the new Ethics and Professional Skills module?
No, the Ethics and Professional Skills module is brand new. Ethics continues to be at the heart of the module - and the ACCA Qualification – but the content is new and so no credits will be available for a partially completed PEM.
Can I do the PEM and the Ethics and Professional Skills module?
Yes - if you’ve successfully completed the existing PEM, you will be able to access the Ethics and Professional Skills module. You would need to pay the one-off £60 charge.
Do I have to pay again if I fail the assessment?
No, the £60 charge is a one-off payment.
What do you get on completion?
- You will receive a Certificate of achievement. And you will also be given a personalised dashboard of your performance in Unit 7 and a transcript showing the skills you will have demonstrated throughout the module
- You’ll have completed one of the three key requirements towards ACCA membership (the others being exams and experience)
- As you work through the module, you’ll be asked to complete different tasks which you would expect to see in a real-world work scenario. You’ll be able to save these outputs in your ‘My portfolio’ section of the module. You can then use these to present to your employer - or in an interview situation - to demonstrate how you would approach and resolve these real-world scenarios. You could also share them with your PER mentor to demonstrate achievement towards your performance objectives.