An ethics syllabus

by admin on July 19, 2006

in Tax and Ethics

In the debate around tax ethics both at RIchard’s place and the AccountingWEB walled garden, what’s missing is an outline of a possible syllabus. Now’s as good a time as any to have a stab at this:


  • The philosophical underpinnings of ‘ethics’
  • Reconciling Descartes, Popper and Foucault in a post modern, deconstructivist world
  • Constructing an ethical framework that has meaning for the 21st century


  • ICAEW guidelines on ethics
  • Engagement letters
  • Understanding conflicts of interest
  • The commercial dimension
  • Resolving conflict
  • The impact of globalisation
  • Understanding the boundaries between acceptable practice and artificiality as an ethical construct
  • Legal considerations in cases of potential fraud or tax avoidance
  • The American experience pre and post Enron

Case Study

  • Understanding Enron as an ethical question
  • Reviewing KPMGs US tax practices
  • Reviewing international tax strategies in offshore environments
  • Learning from the Tax Justice Network/AABA

Three hour exam – 1 question from theory, (20%) 3 from practice (45% total) plus a fictional case study that looks to test candidates ability to interpret and understand how the subject comes together in the real world (35%) . Candidates would be expected to demonstrate a maturity of thought coupled to reasoned critiques of current practice. Candidates would need to achieve a pass rating in each section to pass the whole paper.

Any takers?

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Comments on this entry are closed.

Ken Frost July 20, 2006 at 10:58 am

The ICAEW had the opportunity to have me work with them on their ethics exam last year.

But, as with many other things, they screwed it up and abondoned the idea.

see details on…

So much for leading the profession!

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