Academic integrity

What is academic integrity and why is it important?

How not to lose trust and credibility

All accountants, in practice or in business, must act ethically and with integrity. ACCA’s Ethics and Professional Skills module introduces the ethical behaviours and guidelines expected of a professional accountant.

Students must also act ethically and with integrity when studying for the BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting. In universities we talk about ‘academic integrity’. Please note that the opportunity to complete the BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting will close in May 2026.

What is academic integrity?

‘Academic integrity means honesty in your studies, acknowledging the work of others and giving credit where you have used other people’s ideas as part of presenting your arguments.’ (University of Nottingham, 2019).

These are not my words as I copied this definition of academic integrity from the University of Nottingham’s website, and so I cannot pretend that they are my words. I must acknowledge that this is someone else’s work, which is why I have included the reference to the University of Nottingham.

Plagiarism and cheating

If you do pretend that someone else’s work (words or ideas) are your own, then this is plagiarism and is a form of cheating. To avoid plagiarism, you need to acknowledge the work of others through referencing (this is why I have included the above reference to the University of Nottingham). Without the reference it would seem to a reader that I was the original author of that sentence.

There are other forms of cheating – these include:

  • copying elements of the Research Report, Excel spreadsheet or Powerpoint presentation from either another student, or work provided by a mentor, or from examples available on the internet
  • using a list of pre-prepared references
  • allowing someone else to complete or finish your work, including adding in the references
  • allowing someone else (such as a mentor) to correct your work.

There are some disreputable companies that promote research report writing services, sometimes offering to provide a research report for a student to use as a ‘guide’.  This is a very serious form of cheating as the student has not completed the research themselves. It can lead to very serious consequences. A mentor must not undertake research for a student or write any part of the research report.


When you submit your Research and Analysis Project, you will be asked to confirm that the work is entirely your own. If you submit work that is not all your own work, then you are potentially guilty of poor academic conduct, and there are serious consequences.