GRA 6229 Ethics, Governance and Responsibility for Auditors

GRA 6229 Ethics, Governance and Responsibility for Auditors

Course code: 
GRA 6229
Law and Governance
Course coordinator: 
Caroline Dale Ditlev-Simonsen
Product category: 
Master of Accounting and Auditing
2017 Autumn
Active status: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Today’s society faces large social and environmental challenges. In the business world employees are facing ethical dilemmas which are increasingly complex due to internationalization and different cultural settings.

Knowledge of basic ethical and moral perspectives is crucial for auditors to analyze ethical situations and alternative possible actions. Good corporate governance is built on ethical awareness, implementation and follow-up, and ensures that the company fulfills its goals with regard to different stakeholders, such as managers, shareholders and boards of directors. Developing and implementing company codes of conduct, anti-corruption measures and environmental impact assessments are examples of good governance.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the responsibility of enterprises for their impact on society, covering how companies deal with environmental and social issues internally and externally. Some of these issues are based on regulations, while others are based on norms and soft laws. Different tools for management of the challenges and opportunities are available, nationally and internationally. Auditors need to be aware of these tools, and know how to apply them, to ensure transparency and reporting in line with the company’s responsibilities.

The course will provide students with knowledge of decision support models that can be applied to developing and reporting on companies’ levels of governance, responsibility and sustainability from a practical perspective to fulfill auditors’ responsibilities.

The course will be interactive and based on literature, lectures, cases and group discussions.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The course is designed to provide:

  • Knowledge about key ethical theories and moral frameworks
  • Knowledge about ethical standards for auditors
  • Knowledge of corporate govenance and what it entails
  • Knowledge about the concept of corporate responsibility and key sustainability tools
  • Knowledge about the concept of corruption, development, dilemmas and responsibility
  • Knowledge about accounting for social responsible investment and impact assessment
Learning outcomes - Skills

The course is designed to provide abilities to:

  • Analyze different accounting related situations from an ethical point of view
  • Assess corporate governance with respect to different stakeholders
  • Develop and implement a corporate social responsibility program in a company
  • Develop and implement good governance standards – including company code of conduct
  • Report on extra-financial information
  • Communicate with media in critical situations
Learning Outcome - Reflection

After the course the students should have the ability to:

  • Make independent and well reflected decisions on issues addressed in the course
  • Recognize opportunities and challenges in the field
  • Share, communicate and supervise others in the field
Course content

Key topics addressed in each 3-hour sessions (the order of topics might be changed)

  • Ethics and moral – theory, analysis and practice. Ethics and accounting cases.
  • Ethical guidelines for accountants – dilemma training
  • Corporate governance standards and regulations.
  • Corporate governance: principles and policies, objectives and structure, practice and implementation, and follow-up and evaluation. Stakeholder management.
  • Corporate social responsibility and sustainability, theory and different practical tools like Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), UN Global Compact (UNGC) and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
  • Extra financial reporting – how to develop CSR/sustainability program and reports. Integrated reporting (IIRC) and Greenhouse gas accounting (GHG)
  • Code of conduct – how to develop and implement code of conduct
  • Corruption – what is corruption and how to avoid and deal with it, whistleblowing schemes
  • Social return on investment (SROI), how to account for social impact of activities. Social responsible investment (SRI) – what is responsible and what is irresponsible investment. Different approaches, including the Government Pension Fund Global – ethical guidelines
  • Impact investing and accounting approaches (environmental and social issues)
  • How to deal with media – including crisis management, principles and training
Learning process and requirements to students

The course will be taught through lectures, guest lectures, groupwork and presentations.

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included on itslearning or text book.

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.

All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Exam categoryWeightInvigilationDurationSupport materialsGroupingComment exam
Exam category:
Form of assessment:
Written submission
Exam code:
Grading scale:
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Examination when next scheduled course
100Yes3 Hour(s)
  • Bilingual dictionary
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
  • Bilingual dictionary
Duration:3 Hour(s)
Exam code: GRA62291
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Exam organisation: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.