Ethics and Workplace Skills
  I: Administrative Information   II: Course Details   III: Topical Outline(s)  Printable Version
Section I: Administrative Information
  Total hours: 63.0
Credit Value: 4.5
Credit Value Notes: N/A
Effective: Winter 2020
Prerequisites: N/A
Corequisites: N/A
Equivalents: N/A
Pre/Co/Equiv Notes: N/A

Program(s): Adv Cert Accounting & Finance
Program Coordinator(s): N/A
Course Leader or Contact: N/A
Version: 20200106_00
Status: Approved (APPR)

Section I Notes: Note: Students are expected to have completed ACAF70044, ACAF70045, ACAF70046, ACAF70047, ACAF70048, ACAF70049 and ACAF70050 or equivalent before registering for this course. This is a blended course. The number and schedule of in-class sessions varies by course. Students will be provided a schedule for their in-class and online sessions. The online portion of the course is offered through Sheridan's Learning and Teaching Environment (SLATE). Online learning often involves assigned weekly readings, research, assignments, quizzes, journal writing and discussion boards. Some courses may include live online class sessions that allow students and the instructor to engage and share resources as a group. Students will need reliable access to the internet and a laptop for this course. To be considered for the Advanced Certificate in Accounting and Finance (ACAF) National Examination eligibility, students must earn a minimum grade of 60% in this course and meet the additional standards of achievement as required by CPA Ontario's National Examination Policies.

Section II: Course Details

Detailed Description
Students learn how ethics and communication are central to the credibility of those who analyze financial information for employers, clients and other financial users. In a unique format that combines in-class sessions with online study, students explore fundamental concepts and principles of business ethics. They learn how to apply the ACAF method to address ethical dilemmas in the workplace and how to communicate ethical messages effectively.

Program Context

Adv Cert Accounting & Finance Program Coordinator(s): N/A
This course is part of the ACAF cluster of course offerings.

Course Critical Performance and Learning Outcomes

  Critical Performance:
By the end of this course students will have demonstrated the ability to effectively communicate ethical recommendations by applying the ACAF method to various business scenarios.
Learning Outcomes:

To achieve the critical performance, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Explain fundamental concepts and principles of business ethics.
  2. Explain the ethical standards for professionals in the financial information sector.
  3. Apply the ACAF method for problem solving to various business scenarios.
  4. Communicate ethical messages and problem resolution recommendations by (1)applying principles of effective writing, (2) using the appropriate tone and (3)adapting such messages to audience needs.
  5. Explain how to motivate and manage ethical decision-making in the workplace.
  6. Address ethical issues in business and accounting domestically and internationally by following ethical principles, ethical standards for professionals in the financial sector and the ACAF method.

Evaluation Plan
Students demonstrate their learning in the following ways:

 Quizzes (6 x 2 %)12.0%
 Assignments (5 x 5%)25.0%
 Midterm Exam23.0%
 Final Exam Comprehensive40.0%

Evaluation Notes and Academic Missed Work Procedure:
TEST AND ASSIGNMENT PROTOCOL The following protocol applies to every course offered by Continuing and Professional Studies. 1. Students are responsible for staying abreast of test dates and times, as well as due dates and any special instructions for submitting assignments and projects as supplied to the class by the instructor. 2. Students must write all tests at the specified date and time. Missed tests, in-class/online activities, assignments and presentations are awarded a mark of zero. The penalty for late submission of written assignments is a loss of 10% per day for up to five business days (excluding Sundays and statutory holidays), after which, a grade of zero is assigned. Business days include any day that the college is open for business, whether the student has scheduled classes that day or not. An extension or make-up opportunity may be approved by the instructor at his or her discretion.

Provincial Context
The course meets the following Ministry of Colleges and Universities requirements:


Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition
PLAR Contact (if course is PLAR-eligible) - Office of the Registrar

  • Not Eligible for PLAR

Section III: Topical Outline
Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and class timetabling.
Instruction Mode: In-class & Online Instruction
Professor: N/A
RequiredTextbookBusiness Ethics: Concepts, Cases and Canadian Perspectives, W. Peter Kissic, Emond Montgomery Publications, 2012

Applicable student group(s): Blended Students
Course Details:

Module 1: Ethics Fundamentals

  • Fundamental concepts of ethics, including the process of ethical analysis, the importance of ethical considerations and discussions when making decisions in business situations, the concept of stakeholder accountability and how decision-making differs in legal and ethical situations
  • Describe how lessons learned from the treatment of ethical dilemmas historically can be applied in modern-day ethical analysis
  • Common ethical principles and tests to evaluate business decisions from an ethical perspective 
  • Similarities and differences between ethics for competitors vs. ethics appropriate a firm

Quiz 1 (2%), Assignment 1 (5%)

Module 2: Ethics and professional standards in accounting and finance 

  • Key ethical rules one must follow as an accountant
  • Ethical implications of the roles and actions of accountants as they gather, analyze and report on financial information, and the lasting impact when ethical failures occur
  • Basic principles of individual and organizational accountability
  • Common threats to compliance with the fundamental ethics principles and how safeguards can be used to protect against those threats
  • Concepts of independence in mind and appearance when providing assurance services
  • Principles of professional ethics and how they apply to ACAF holders

Quiz 2 (2%), Assignment 2 (5%)

Module 3: The ACAF Method

  • Importance of business ethics and communication in the ACAF program and in one’s career
  • The steps of the ACAF Method
  • Applying the ACAF Method to tackle ethical dilemmas

Quiz 3 (2%), Assignment 3 (5%), Midterm (23%)

Module 4: Communication

  • Standardized memo format for addressing ethical issues
  • Creating specific, action-oriented writing goals that address an ethical problem
  • Adapting communication to the intended audience
  • Arranging ideas and information in a logical structure for presentation in a professional memo
  • Creating a memo that is concise, simple and clear, and uses the five techniques to improve readability

Quiz 4 (2%), Assignment 4 (5%)

Module 5: Ethics: Motivation and Culture

  • The benefits of workplace diversity
  • The difference between the various types of discrimination that can occur in the workplace; and the methods to help overcome bias and discrimination in the workplace
  • How various perspectives on ethics, economics, and human motivation affect ethical decision-making in organizations
  • Similarities and differences between the economics and ethics perspectives of the principal-agent problem
  • Developing and maintaining a strong ethical culture, (e.g., through the development of effective teams) in an organization 

Quiz 5 (2%), Assignment 5 (5%)

Module 6: Ethical issues in Canada and Internationally

  • Core ethical values and principles in Canada as well as the resources for interpreting them that are available from Canada’s accounting profession, including the five core values in the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ Code of Ethics for Professional Accountant
  • Business considerations and ethical standards that are commonplace in other countries when establishing international business relationships
  • Major trends influencing the global business environment and those particularly affecting the Canadian business environment
  • General features of social and environmental accounting and triple bottom line measures

Quiz 6 (2%), Comprehensive Final Exam (40%)

Sheridan Policies

All Sheridan policies can be viewed on the Sheridan policy website.

Academic Integrity: The principle of academic integrity requires that all work submitted for evaluation and course credit be the original, unassisted work of the student. Cheating or plagiarism including borrowing, copying, purchasing or collaborating on work, except for group projects arranged and approved by the professor, or otherwise submitting work that is not the student's own, violates this principle and will not be tolerated. Students who have any questions regarding whether or not specific circumstances involve a breach of academic integrity are advised to review the Academic Integrity Policy and procedure and/or discuss them with the professor.

Copyright: A majority of the course lectures and materials provided in class and posted in SLATE are protected by copyright. Use of these materials must comply with the Acceptable Use Policy, Use of Copyright Protected Work Policy and Student Code of Conduct. Students may use, copy and share these materials for learning and/or research purposes provided that the use complies with fair dealing or an exception in the Copyright Act. Permission from the rights holder would be necessary otherwise. Please note that it is prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote. It is also prohibited to reproduce and/or post a work that is not your own or your own work with the intent to assist others in cheating on third-party commercial websites including but not limited to Course Hero or OneNote.

Intellectual Property: Sheridan's Intellectual Property Policy generally applies such that students own their own work. Please be advised that students working with external research and/or industry collaborators may be asked to sign agreements that waive or modify their IP rights. Please refer to Sheridan's IP Policy and Procedure.

Respectful Behaviour: Sheridan is committed to provide a learning environment that supports academic achievement by respecting the dignity, self-esteem and fair treatment of every person engaged in the learning process. Behaviour which is inconsistent with this principle will not be tolerated. Details of Sheridan's policy on Harassment and Discrimination, Academic Integrity and other academic policies are available on the Sheridan policy website.

Accessible Learning: Accessible Learning coordinates academic accommodations for students with disabilities. For more information or to register, please see the Accessible Learning website (Statement added September 2016)

Course Outline Changes: The information contained in this Course Outline including but not limited to faculty and program information and course description is subject to change without notice. Any changes to course curriculum and/or assessment shall adhere to approved Sheridan protocol. Nothing in this Course Outline should be viewed as a representation, offer and/or warranty. Students are responsible for reading the Important Notice and Disclaimer which applies to Programs and Courses.

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