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C1. Management Accounting Fundamentals (FMAF)

C2.Financial Accounting Fundamentals (FAFN)

C3. Business Mathematics (FBSM)

C4. Economics for Business (FECB)

C5. Business Law (FBLW)*

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Student Area

 

C05 Fundamentals of Ethics, Corporate Governance and Business Law

Syllabus outline:

The syllabus comprises:

Topic and Study Weighting
A - Ethics and Business      15%
B - Ethical Conflict       10%
C - Corporate Governance      10%
D - Comparison of English Law with Alternative Legal Systems 10%
E - The Law of Contract      20%
F - The Law of Employment      10%
G - Company Administration and Finance    25%

Learning aims

Students should be able to:

  • discuss the framework of professional values, ethics and attitudes for exercising professional judgement and acting in an ethical manner, that is in the best interests of society and the profession;
  • explain the need to comply with the CIMA and IFAC ‘Codes of Ethics for Professional Accountants’;
  • explain the importance of good corporate governance and the evolution of good practice;
  • explain fundamental aspects of the organisation and operation of the English legal system and compare and contrast it with other legal systems;
  • explain the elements of the tort of negligence and the manner in which the tort impacts upon professional advisers;
  • explain the essential elements of a simple contract, what is regarded as adequate performance of the simple contract, and the remedies available to the innocent party in the event of a breach;
  • explain the essential differences between sole traderships, partnerships and companies limited by shares;
  • explain the way in which companies are administered, financed and managed;
  • apply legal knowledge to solve business problems.

Note: Unless specifically mentioned, the English legal system will be the context for those parts of this syllabus that relate to the study of business law.

Assessment strategy

There will be a computer based assessment of two hours duration, comprising 75 compulsory questions, each with one or more parts.

A variety of objective test question styles and types will be used within the assessment.

Learning outcomes and indicative syllabus content

A. Ethics and Business – 15%

Learning outcomes

On completion of their studies students should be able to:
 

(i) apply the values and attitudes that provide professional accountants with a commitment to act in the public interest and with social responsibility;

(ii) explain the need for a framework of laws, regulations and standards in business and their application;

(iii) explain the nature of ethics and its application to business and the accountancy profession;

(iv) identify the difference between detailed rules-based and framework approaches to ethics;

(v) explain the need for continual personal improvement and life long learning;

(vi) explain the need to develop the virtues of reliability, responsibility, timeliness, courtesy and respect;

(vii) explain the ethical principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence, due care and confidentiality;

(viii) identify concepts of independence, scepticism, accountability and social responsibility;

(ix) explain the reasons why CIMA and IFAC each have a ‘Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants’.

Indicative syllabus content

  • Values and attitudes for professional accountants.
  • Legal frameworks, regulations and standards for business.
  • Nature of ethics and its relevance to business and the accountancy profession.
  • Rules-based and framework approaches to ethics.
  • Personal development and lifelong learning.
  • Personal qualities of reliability, responsibility, timeliness, courtesy and respect.
  • Ethical principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence, due care and confidentiality.
  • Concepts of independence, scepticism, accountability and social responsibility.
  • The CIMA and IFAC ‘Codes of Ethics for Professional Accountants’.

B. Ethical Conflict – 10%

Learning outcomes

On completion of their studies students should be able to:

(i) explain the relationship between ethics, governance, the law and social responsibility;

(ii) describe the consequences of unethical behaviour to the individual, the profession and society;

(iii) identify situations where ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest occur;

(iv) explain how ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest can be resolved.

Indicative syllabus content

  • Relationship between ethics, governance, the law and social responsibility.
  • Unethical behaviour.
  • Ethical dilemmas and conflicts of interest.

C. Corporate Governance – 10%

Learning outcomes

On completion of their studies students should be able to:
 

(i) define corporate governance;

(ii) explain the interaction of corporate governance with business ethics and company law;

(iii) describe the history of corporate governance internationally;

(iv) explain the effects of corporate governance on directors’ behaviour and their duties of skill and care;

(v) explain different board structures, the role of the board and corporate governance issues;

(vi) describe the types of policies and procedures that best practice companies introduce;

(vii) explain the regulatory governance framework for companies.

Indicative syllabus content

  • The role and key objectives of corporate governance in relation to ethics and the law.
  • Development of corporate governance internationally.
  • The behaviour of directors in relation to corporate governance and duty of care towards their stakeholders.
  • The role of the board in establishing corporate governance standards.
  • Types of board structures and corporate governance issues.
  • Policies and procedures for ‘best practice’ companies.
  • Rules and principles based approaches to governance.
  • The regulatory governance framework.

D. Comparison of English Law with Alternative Legal Systems - 10%

Learning outcomes

On completion of their studies students should be able to:

(i) explain the manner in which behaviour within society is regulated by the civil and the criminal law;

(ii) identify and explain the sources of English law;

(iii) illustrate the operation of the doctrine of precedent by reference to the essential elements of the tort of negligence and its application to professional advisers;

(iv) compare and contast the elements of alternative legal systems, Sharia Law and the role of international legal regulations.

Indicative syllabus content

  • The sources of English law.
  • The system of judicial precedent.
  • The essential elements of the tort of negligence, including duty, breach and damage/loss/injury and the liability of professionals in respect of negligent advice.
  • Alternative legal systems, including codified (civil law) systems, Sharia Law and international legal regulations

E. The Law of Contract - 20%

Learning outcomes

On completion of their studies students should be able to:
 

(i) identify the essential elements of a valid simple contract and situations where the law requires the contract to be in a particular form;

(ii) explain how the law determines whether negotiating parties have reached agreement and the role of consideration in making that agreement enforceable;

(iii) explain when the parties will be regarded as intending the agreement to be legally binding and how an agreement may be avoided because of misrepresentations;

(iv) explain how the contents and the terms of a contract are established and the possible repercussions of non-performance;

(v) explain how the law controls the use of unfair terms in respect of both consumer and non-consumer business agreements;

(vi) explain what the law regards as performance of the contract, and valid and invalid reasons for non-performance;

(vii) explain the type of breach necessary to cause contractual breakdown and the remedies which are available for serious and minor breaches of contract.

Indicative syllabus content

  • The essential elements of a valid simple contract.
  • The legal status of statements made by negotiating parties. Enforceable offers and acceptances, and the application of the rules to standard form contracts using modern forms of communication and the role of consideration.
  • The principles for establishing that the parties intend their agreement to have contractual force and how a contract is affected by a misrepresentation. 
  • Incorporation of express and implied terms, conditions and warranties.
  • The main provisions of sale of goods and supply of services legislation.
  • The manner in which the law controls the use of exclusion clauses and unfair terms in consumer and non-consumer transactions.
  • The level of performance sufficient to discharge contractual obligations.
  • Valid reasons for non-performance by way of agreement, breach by the other party and frustration.
  • The remedies of specific performance, injunction, rescission, and requiring a contract party to pay the agreed price.
  • Causation and remoteness of damages, and their quantification.

F. The Law of Employment - 10%

Learning outcomes

On completion of their studies students should be able to:
 

(i) explain the difference between employees and independent contractors and how the contents of a contract of employment are established;

(ii) explain the distinction between unfair and wrongful dismissal;

(iii) demonstrate an awareness of how employers and employees are affected by health and safety legislation, including the consequences of a failure to comply.

Indicative syllabus content

  • The tests used to distinguish an employee from an independent contractor.
  • The express and implied terms of a contract of employment.
  • Unfair and wrongful dismissal.
  • An outline of the main rules relating to health and safety at work, sanctions on employers for non-compliance, and remedies for employees.

G. Company Administration and Finance - 25%

Learning outcomes

On completion of their studies students should be able to:

(i) explain the essential characteristics of the different forms of business organisations and the implications of corporate personality;

(ii) explain the differences between public and private companies and establishing a company by registration or purchasing “off the shelf”;

(iii) explain the purpose and legal status of the memorandum and articles of association;

(iv) explain the ability of a company to contract;

(v) explain the main advantages and disadvantages of carrying on business through the medium of a company limited by shares.

(vi) explain the use and procedure of board meetings and general meetings of shareholders;

(vii) explain the voting rights of directors and shareholders and identify the various types of shareholder resolutions;

(viii) explain the nature of different types of share, the procedure for the issue of shares, and acceptable forms of payment;

(ix) explain the maintenance of capital principle and the procedure to increase and reduce share capital, including the repercussions of issuing shares for an improper purpose;

(x) explain the ability of a company to take secured and unsecured loans, the different types of security and the registration procedure.

(xi) explain the procedure for the appointment, retirement, disqualification and removal of directors and their powers and duties during office;

(xii) explain the rules dealing with the possible imposition of personal liability upon the directors of insolvent companies;

(xiii) identify and contrast the rights of shareholders with the board of a company;

(xiv) explain the qualifications, powers and duties of the company secretary.

Indicative syllabus content

  • The essential characteristics of sole traderships/practitionerships, partnerships, companies limited by shares and corporate personality.
  • “Lifting the corporate veil” both at common law and by statute.
  • The distinction between public and private companies.
  • The procedure for registering a company, the advantages of purchasing a company “off the shelf”, and the purpose and contents of the memorandum and articles of association.
  • Corporate capacity to contract.
  • Board meetings: when used and the procedure at the meeting.
  • Annual and Extraordinary General Meetings: when used and the procedure at the meeting including company resolutions and the uses of each type of resolution;
  • The rights attaching to the different types of shares and the purposes and procedures for issuing shares.
  • The maintenance of capital principle, the purposes and rules for which shares may be issued, redeemed or, purchased and the provision of financial assistance for the purchase of its own shares.
  • The ability of a company to borrow money and the procedure to be followed. 
  • Unsecured loans, and the nature and effect of fixed and floating charges.
  • The appointment, retirement and removal of directors and their powers and duties during office.
  • Fraudulent and wrongful trading, preferences and transactions at an under-value.
  • The division of powers between the board and the shareholders.
  • The rights of majority and minority shareholders.
  • The qualifications, powers and duties of the company secretary.
 
     
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