Case Study – Ethics: How to pass Ethics questions in the CIMA Case Study exams

hi and welcome to this ethics video based on the SEMA case studies now it’s my name’s Nick best and I’m the managing director here at a strategy financial training and I’ve been teaching case study exams now for nine years and the ethics section of those case studies is very often poorly done and yes it’s an area which really is quite easy I always think that when you get an athiest question it’s an area raising great this should be nice easy marks but there’s something about ethics something I think about ethics and accountants and the fact that ethics is kind of touchy-feely kind of stuff and we like numbers and calculations that means that when I’m looking at people’s scripts and people’s answers very often I’m just looking at thinking just so poor you really haven’t got into the real ethics the real underlying morals of ethics and what I want to do with you in this video is share with you my experience we’re gonna start off by just taking a look at ethanol and we will take a review of the kind of ethics theory and what ethics is and the kind of morals and Rights we wanna build into that CSR as well corporate social responsibility then I’m gonna go on and look at where people go wrong when they’re writing out their ethics issues we’re gonna have a look at a typical type of answer that I see and I’ll guide you in the direction of what you need to do and we’ll end up with a very specific focus structure that you’ll be able to use in many of your ethics questions and so as a case study this will really hopefully Drive you forward to score more marks in the ethics sections so you know ethics then really important so we’ll start off then taking a look at some of the principles of ethics and you know why why is this so important and I think that the first thing for us to bear in mind is that in Seema ethics supposed to go throughout all the levels and it can appear in any of your exams and of course is slightly harder to test in the OT based papers much easier to test in the case study based papers and we do see this coming up a lot in all the case study exams I think that the higher you go up the more important it gets a strategic case study this is absolutely vital that you are greater ethics a management case study very important and at the operational level it’s a little bit more technical a bit more on some of the theory which I’m going to cover in this video but it’s a bit more theoretical and a bit less practical but still an important topic so it does appear in the exams regularly if you can get good at ethics what you can also do is guarantee or yourself a few extra marks which you know could be the marks that get you through the exam now why do we see it so often in the case study exam so one of the reason is is that all of the exams have a lot of people base marks now people base questions have to cover certain areas and those areas typically to do with stakeholders perhaps a little bit on communication or ethics and corporate social responsibility and so let’s say you’re the examiner for the strategic case study and you’re thinking right I’ve got 25% of marks going for people so what am I going to start writing questions on I’ve got a write up to 25 marks worth of questions and I’m bound to be thinking ok I’ll grab something on stakeholders something a bit on communication but you know what I’ve got to have something on ethics not only that but we know that sima prioritize ethics as one of the key topics of course you can if we think about why what’s absolutely vital is that for the respect of the profession that all qualified accountants are acting with integrity and you know the CIMA value is that I’ll review in a moment confidentiality and objectivity and so on and so they want as part of their training to make sure that you are good at this so therefore we have this big people section which a big part of that is ethics and so therefore the examiners just almost forced ear – lots of ethics questions even a management case study in operational case today there are still significant people base marks and we have been seeing in the recent examines that we’ve been getting a lot of ethics questions throughout all the case study papers and yet this is an area often overlooked by candidates I think that like I said a little bit earlier I think people think it’s just a bit easier thix and yeah I find people are just really awful if I was to take for you just for a moment an example an example might be bribery let’s just say for a moment that our purchasing manager has bribed a supplier to give favorable terms okay okay so but we all know that’s unethical and you know what I see in exam questions is I see students coming up with this is bribery and we should resolve this by we shouldn’t allow that purchasing manager to do that and that’s it and yet the question could be 10 or 12 marks and people are really struggling for 10 marks for for that because yeah it’s bribery we shouldn’t do it surely that’s it you know I’ve got one paragraph on why it’s wrong and then a second paragraph on what the recommendation is people really struggle and they think well where’s the Tenma’s coming from and really actually what I want to show you in this is how to really expand your answer and really get into the depths of why it’s an ethical issue and what the underlying problems are because actually you know what is the problem with this and what is the underlying problem with bribing that supply after raw from our company’s point of view actually we’re getting the product cheaper is good for us we’re saving money we’re making ourselves more competitive surely isn’t ethically that right for our staff because we’re going to be able to support our staff more because we’re going to be more profitable us our shareholders we have an ethical duty of them to give them good returns everyone connected with our business because we’re getting a lower price so where is it wrong I mean stop the video for a moment if you want to and think look why is it wrong why is bribery wrong in this case okay so stop it there if you want to okay now ultimately that bribe is wrong because it means that that suppliers shareholders won’t be getting the return that they that they want an individual in that organization is getting an extra bit of money you know a quick ties and pounds on the side or 10,000 pounds on the side that individual is gaining whereas the rest of the people that should be benefiting the shareholders the staff the community around that organization that supply they should be gaining and therefore it is simply morally wrong that one individual gains when the majority should be gaining from that okay and that’s where people that people don’t see that depth of answer when they’re writing out their answers and this is therefore why we’ve why it’s important that you really get good at ethics and you really understand how to answer these and also accompany in this video is our our ethics pact well we’ve got twenty questions for you to practice on ethics and really important that you start working through some of those questions to get your knowledge of ethics and the way you answer ethics questions really down to a tee you get really good at it so it’s often something overlooked by people but it’s something that’s really important and you know why are we so bad I’ve already alluded to this really I think that accounting students are very used to calculations you know it’s often the reason we go into accounting I know I did you know I was I did a degree in physics and my thinking was that I’m good good at maths good all those kind of you know calculation type problems and then you put someone who’s good at that sort of thing into an accounting exam where they’re asked about ethics and well hang on a second here this is all very kind of Airy fairy and wishy-washy it’s about emotions and feelings and moral rights and wrongs and I know from teaching this to many many classes people feel awkward writing about moral rights and wrongs you know if we think about something like the moral right of wrongs of of something like global warming then we really get down to look it’s about the benefit of future generations of people that we do not spend the next 50 years warming up the planet planet so that the the life people in in that time will live would be will be one of hardship you know we’ve had it good by burning all these fossil fuels they’ll all be gone and we’ll have a heat to that planet it’s a wrong thing to do but people feel awkward writing about that they just say things like and that could cause global warming but they don’t go into the depth of why that’s morally wrong and I do think it comes back to account it’s actually one other thing that I’ll share with you and I’ve come across this with a number of students as well when it comes to to why people struggle with it is some people take the view of look look it’s a kind of free-market we’re in a free-market capitalist economy and so therefore that you know the bribe that’s fine you know just just go ahead and do it I can sort of see that maybe that but look is we’re in a hard world it’s a tough world and I think we should just go ahead you know we get the best we can and don’t worry about it after all we’ve got to look after ourselves and there actually there is an ethical argument that actually what’s morally right should be what’s morally right for for individuals and they should make decisions that I’m already right for them but so sometimes people struggle with that that their own personal values are not necessarily aligned with what you are supposed to say in your answer now the long and short of it is that your answer needs to be the answer which is seen as completely morally right sima want you to show excellent ethical standards and you’re faced with some moral dilemma potentially well okay but come down on the morally right side as best you can okay and that’s another good tip for you in terms of the way to ensure exams if you’re watching the sample video this is where the sample ends the rest of this video is over an hour in length and what I do is I go through basically I start off with some of the key principles that what is ethics type of ethics issues that you can have specifically the type of issues that come up in the exam so what are the most likely things that you see in the exam and how do they come up in case studies in particular also go through corporate social responsibility I look at the SEMA code of ethics that I’m kind of hoping you know by now but I review that with a focus on how you can use that on case studies because the examiners actually said the SCS examiner strategic case to the examiner says you can almost always use the SEMA code of ethics to answer ethics questions so if the examiner is saying that really we should try and include that in there and not just SCS but MCS and OCS as well and so how do you go about incorporating that into there next I go on to look at how you go about controlling ethics now it’s not just about identifying the ethical issue particularly as you go up through to management case study and strategic case that you have to make recommendations you have to say right it’s not just there’s the problem is bribery’s this is how we deal with it this is how we resolve it so I talked about the three key methods of controlling ethics and those are going to give you the structure from which you can then decide how you’re going to resolve your ethical issues most importantly I end up with a long section focusing on the typical problems I see with case study answers and I tell you I do see some all four answers where people really haven’t gotten to the depth of answer and what I do is I work through one of those with you tell you why it’s wrong I show you my four key elements to analyzing ethics issues and so you can use those as a checklist whenever you get any ethics issues you go through those four elements and that will mean you always analyze in depth then I go on to show you my two key elements of recommendations for ethical issues and so you can always make strong recommendations where you need to and get a really good answer so if you see you’ve got a Tim mark question on ethics people often struggle where they’re going to get 10 whole paragraphs from 410 hallmarks and basically I give you a clear structure and that’s actually where I end up with a clear five heading structure you can use to answer the majority of ethics sections so hopefully you’ll think it’s worthwhile and I’m getting the rest of the video and this video comes alongside ethics pack which includes 20 practice ethics questions and actually you can go on to the strategy site and if you sign up for an account you can see the sample of the ethics pack and one question is they’re available so why not go and have a look at that that’s available even if you don’t buy anything that’s available from free but my hope is is that you’ll like the question you’ll think that’s useful you all like to watch the rest of the the video series and that you’ll go on and buy our our ethics pack which you can find on the Asturian t website whatever you decide to do in relation to ethics as it’s really important the exam do make sure you do lots of practice on it and work hard going up to the exam hard work really is the key to success in these case studies don’t spend too much time on theory because remember the case studies is far more about active practice good practical solutions and it is about theory and people are tending to spend too much time on theory so do work hard and let me just finish up by wishing you the best of luck on exam day

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