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University of the Witwatersrand Course

Codes of Professional Conduct for Professional Accountants


Flexible start date

Course overview

Members of many professional accounting bodies are required to adhere to the Code for Professional Conduct (CPC) issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), which deals with the ethical behaviours expected from such accounting professionals.

Like finance and accounting, ethics has become an essential business function and organisations establish business ethics to promote integrity among their employees and gain trust from their shareholders.

While accountants are well versed in the Code of Professional Conduct from a professional point of view, this course explores the various philosophies that have contributed to ethics in business.

As part of this course, ethics or morality will be looked at in concept, and examined systematically and theoretically. The course considers the governance of ethics, the impact of ethics on value creation and the consequences of a poor ethical environment.

This understanding will further contribute to the skillset of the Chief Value Officer aimed at bolstering ethical, economic, environmental and social performance for organisations.

Course curriculum

  • Topic 1: Introduction
  • Topic 2: Divine Command Theory
  • Topic 3: Social Relavitism
  • Topic 4: Consequentialism
  • Topic 5: Kantianism
  • Topic 6: Ubuntu
  • Topic 7: Governance and Ethics

Course outcomes

  • Understand the underlying philosophies of ethics and morality, including the strengths and pitfalls of these philosophies
  • Explain the governance of ethics, with reference to King IV, including its interconnection with integrated thinking and value creation
  • Understand and analyse the broader role of an ethical approach in responding to emerging global and local issues such as climate change and other social issues.


Dr Helen Sarah Robertson, Dr Robert Kowalenko

Course summary

3 weeks consecutive online content, final assessment due by end of Week 3
Number of weeks: 3
Language: English

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Students. Accomplished

Paul Motibane


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Codes of Professional Conduct for Professional Accountants

Dr Helen Sarah Robertson, Dr Robert Kowalenko

Dr Helen Sarah Robertson

Helen Sarah Robertson trained in philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand and at UCL. She is based at the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she teaches the applied ethics of data science. She has research interests in contemporary epistemology and the epistemology and ethics of artificial intelligence.

Dr Robert Kowalenko

Robert Kowalenko completed his PhD in Philosophy at King’s College London in 2003, and has taught in the department of Philosophy at Wits University since 2009. His main research interests lie at the intersection of philosophy of science, metaphysics (laws of nature, dispositions, idealisations), the methodology of the social sciences, as well as the ethics of science and its role in the public domain. He has also worked in philosophy of language, in particular the indeterminacy of reference, and dabbles a bit in philosophical reflection about sport, as well as African Philosophy.

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Wits online CVO programme - Specialised Accounting