ACCA’s new Ethical and Professional Skills module sets you up for your career – but what does it involve and when should you take it? Read more to find out.

The ACCA’s new Ethical and Professional Skills module is a key pillar to the overall qualification. It’s as important as your exams and professional experience, increasing your employability by exposing you to real-life business situations. Passing the module sets you up for your career as an ACCA member, and proves to employers you know how to handle yourself in the workplace.

So that’s the aim. But how does it work, and when should you take it?

How does the ACCA Ethical and Professional Skills module work?

The module has six interactive units as follows.

Ethics and professionalism

Unit one introduces you to the broad ethical and professional values underpinning the other professional skills you’re learning. This aims to give you a structure to build your moral compass around.

Personal effectiveness

This unit teaches you to maximise the quantity and quality of your work using the resources available. It helps you manage your personal constraints better, and make better use of the things and people around you.

Innovation and scepticism

You are encouraged here to become open-minded, and innovative when looking for solutions to problems. You’re also taught to be sceptical, not to blindly accept the status quo but constantly look for potential improvements.

Commercial awareness, analysis, evaluation and problem solving

This unit introduces the concept of commercial awareness. The idea is to teach you to identify potential opportunities and analyse them, making recommendations and advising business leaders.

Leadership and teamwork

This unit explores the various leadership approaches and traits you find at different levels in an organisation. It shows you how effective leadership can inspire, motivate and support to improve individual and team performance.

Communication and interpersonal skills

This final unit concentrates on effective communication with internal and external stakeholders. It teaches you to communicate effectively in different ways, to advise, support, motivate and influence others.

Then there’s the final test. The ACCA says:

‘You will be put in the position of a qualified accountant applying for a role as the Head of Accounting at another organisation. That organisation faces a range of new environmental threats, which you as Head of Accounting have to analyse and evaluate.

In the unit you will undertake a series of tasks including analysing your workload to ensure you can achieve your objectives. You should prepare calculations and a report to the board of directors outlining the financial and business implications of the new situation that your business finds itself in.

You also have to recommend how to reorganise your department to save costs and to manage the people retained within the department in the most effective way. You are also given the responsibility of chairing a strategy development sub-committee, formed to evaluate possible strategies to take the business forward successfully.’

Overall the programme takes around 20 hours and costs £60 – and you get a certificate after completion.

But when should you complete the module?

When should you take the ACCA Ethical and Professional Skills module?

The knowledge you gain from the ACCA Ethical and Professional Skills module will be massively helpful in the Strategic Professional exams. An incredible 20% of the marks in the Strategic Business Leader paper that starts from September 2018 will be for demonstrating professional skills, so there’s huge overlap.

What that means is, you should definitely take ACCA Ethical and Professional Skills before taking any Strategic Professional Exams. It will earn you marks you might not have gotten otherwise, and improve your chances of passing.

And what if you’ve already started your professional level exams? Take ACCA Ethical and Professional Skills as soon as you can, to boost your overall performance on the professional papers.


The Ethical and Professional Skills module reinforces ACCA’s commitment to equipping students with the real-world skills to excel, and further proves that ACCA membership is the most valuable thing you can do for your career. Just make sure you take the paper early, to build those crucial skills and maximise your chances of passing the later papers.

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