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
2018 Autumn
Active status: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

Today’s society faces large social and environmental challenges in a sustainable development setting. 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 for an auditing perspective
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability - theory and different practical tools like Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), UN Global Compact (UNGC) and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
  • Governance and sustainable development
  • CSR reporting an social impact assessment, IIRC, GHG accounting
  • Corporate Governance, principles and policies, objectives and structure, practice and implementation. Stakeholder management
  • Ethical guidelines for accountants and auditors 
  • Code of Conduct
  • Corporate governance standards and regulations - NUES
  • Social Responsible Investment (SRI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criterias
  • Anti-corruption - challenges and responses, UNCAD and dilemmas
  • Management  - leadership
  • How to deal with media - crisis management
Learning process and requirements to students

The course will be taught through lectures, guest lectures, dialogue, 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:
GRA 62291
Grading scale:
Grading rules:
Internal and external examiner
Examination when next scheduled course
100Yes3 Hour(s)
  • Bilingual dictionary
Individual Written examination under supervision.
Exam category:Submission
Form of assessment:Written submission
Grouping (size):Individual
Support materials:
  • Bilingual dictionary
Duration:3 Hour(s)
Comment:Written examination under supervision.
Exam code: GRA 62291
Grading scale:ECTS
Resit:Examination when next scheduled course
Exam organisation: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Talis literature


Authors/Editors År Tittel Edition Publisher StudentNote
Gulden, Bror Petter; Den Norske revisorforening 2014 Etikk, moral og revisjon: teori, analyse og handlingsvalg 3. utg Den norske revisorforening 218 sider
Authors/Editors År Tittel Journal Edition Publisher StudentNote
Bøhren, Øyvind cop. 2011 Eierne, styret og ledelsen: corporate governance i Norge Eierne, styret og ledelsen: corporate governance i Norge Fagbokforl Kapittel 1 (35 s.)
Ditlev-Simonsen, C. Samfunnsansvar, etikk og bærekraft Samfunnsansvar, etikk og bærekraft
Authors/Editors År Tittel Edition Publisher StudentNote
U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in a nutshell
Authors/Editors År Tittel Edition Publisher StudentNote
Den norske Revisorforeningens regler om etikk 54 sider
Norsk anbefaling for eierstyring og selskapsledelse - NUES 2014 54 sider
During the course additional readings and slides will be posted on itslearning. This material is compulsory and the issues might be part of the exam. The syllabus will not exceed 600 pages (100 pages per ECTS).
2014 Ready to report? Introducing sustainability reporting for SMEs Global Reporting Initiative 20 s.
2015 Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) information United Nations 35 s.
2016 Oslo Børs veiledning om rapportering av samfunnsansvar Oslo Børs 13 s.
Guiding principles on Business and Human Rights (GPHR)
2011 OECD retningslinjer for flernasjonale selskaper
Authors/Editors Tittel Journal URL Publisher StudentNote
FNs verdenserklæring om menneskerettigheter FNs verdenserklæring om menneskerettigheter Resource

No importance set

No type set
Authors/Editors År Tittel Edition Publisher StudentNote

Notes to students:

Will be provided on itslearning.