Date posted: 20/10/2021 8 min read

Why the new CA Program starts with ethics

The first subject that students of the new CA Program now need to enrol in is Ethics and Business.

In Brief

  • The new CA Program officially launched on 15 June 2021.
  • It puts greater emphasis on ethics, risk and professional skills that easily transfer to the workplace.
  • It offers electives in emerging areas such as data analytics, strategy and business performance.

By Penny Pryor

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) officially launched its new CA Program on 15 June 2021, following three years of extensive research, consultation and development.

The new program is designed to provide flexibility and choice, and build skills that are readily transferred to the workplace.

It also puts greater emphasis on ethics, risk and professional skills and offers electives in emerging areas such as data analytics, strategy and business performance.

In fact, the subject that all students must enrol in first is Ethics and Business, which is the key foundational subject in the new CA Program. It teaches students how to make appropriate ethical decisions by taking a holistic view when analysing the numbers and asking ‘why’ as a foundation for identifying risk.

CA ANZ has championed practical and evidence-based approaches to build trust in our profession and has integrated ethics into all aspects of the new CA Program. Through this integration, candidates gain a deep understanding of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants and are empowered to apply ethical considerations to all aspects of their work.

In everyday life, potential breaches of ethical principles aren’t accompanied by ‘ethical warning signposts’. So the new CA Program presents simulated business scenarios with implied challenges to ethical principles – such as those involving demanding stakeholders and tight deadlines.

Candidates aren’t forewarned about these issues – much like in actual accounting practice – but their awareness is raised by embedding potential problems into realistic documents, data and narratives used in the course.

“Ethics is at the core of the CA designation. We’re often in positions of trust in organisations, so we wanted to instil this in the next generation of CAs by putting ethics, integrity and trust at the front and centre of our program,” says Samantha Wilson, the CA Program general manager.

Responding to feedback

Wilson and CA ANZ general manager, education content and strategy, Michelle Ryan, have been immersed in researching and developing the new CA Program for the past three years, consulting with members, candidates, employers and other Global Accounting Alliance bodies.

“We knew from the feedback that we wanted to create authentic learning experiences that mirror real-life scenarios. They are designed to encourage critical thinking and help candidates practise and refine their professional judgement,” Ryan explains.

“We wanted to create authentic learning experiences that mirror real-life scenarios.”
Michelle Ryan

“To do this, we’ve created case studies and assessments where candidates learn skills that can be easily transferred to the workplace.

“We were thrilled recently to receive feedback from a candidate undertaking the Risk and Technology subject who had used the data visualisation skills they’d been assessed on in a board report at work.”

What has changed in the CA Program

With shorter subjects running more often, candidates must pass seven core subjects and two electives, in addition to completing three years Mentored Practical Experience, to complete the new CA Program.

Electives have been included in the course and significant consultation and research were undertaken to ensure the subjects offered are relevant and in demand. The choice of four (soon to be six) electives offers a mix of traditional technical subjects and emerging areas.

CA ProgramFigure 1. CA Program (click image to enlarge).

“We've looked at the research around future skills and content areas that accountants will need to be across, that may not have traditionally been included. So we’ve included things such as data analytics and insights, strategy and performance and financial modelling because there is a real push in the new world to have accountants who can provide insights from data and explain the stories behind the numbers,” Ryan says.

“Accounting practices are being disrupted by new technologies – the way accountants do their work and the type of work being done has changed significantly. This means chartered accountants will need new capabilities in the future, which is the overarching goal of the new CA Program” says Wilson.

Read more:

Hello future: the new CA Program is here

The new CA Program provides relevance and choice.

Discover the new CA Program

Practical Ethics Advice Series

Discover our series of articles related to commonly asked member questions.

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