Please note this course was previously titled "Ethics: lies, alternative facts and professional scepticism"


When you read a headline that says “Insanity: The word ‘man’ is banned at Princeton University”, do you immediately think 'That goes too far!'? Or is your first reaction 'Really? That sounds like an author writing a sensational headline to generate traffic to their article'? As professionals, our clients and the public in general count on us to be the “voice of reason” and to show a healthy amount of skepticism. In fact, professional skepticism is one of the key underlying competencies supporting our ability to meet our ethical requirements. This session explores the ways in which information is created and presented to influence our perception and decision-making. 

The goal for this session is to explore risk areas where information and messages can be presented to deceive us, and how we can fool ourselves as a result of our own implicit biases. Just as importantly, the course examines how professional skepticism fits into our obligations as chartered accountants, primarily by supporting the requirements for objectivity, due care and professional competence.

Throughout the course, we will examine actual stories, and hear examples of messaging that illustrate these risks and biases. After working through the course, you should have a better understanding of common pitfalls that threaten decision-making, and have some additional tools to better meet those ethical obligations.

Learning outcomes

  • recognise the importance of professional skepticism as a key element of meeting professional ethical principles
  • distinguish how professional skepticism is applied in the context of assurance and non-assurance roles
  • recognise how quoted averages can deceive, and correctly interpret means and medians, factoring in variability
  • identify common ways that samples, stated accuracies, and unwarranted precision levels can be used to deceive us, and distinguish between correlation and causation
  • identify how charts can be used to manipulate messages, and determine common methods of deception through qualitative messages.

Key information:

  • course is best experienced on the free ProDio mobile app, but access is available via desktop on ProDio website
  • the recommended web browser is GOOGLE CHROME for best performance
  • learn at your own pace
  • access course content for one year.
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Disclaimer: This course is available for ACCA members, you may need your ACCA membership number to complete your booking. This course and outline is provided by a third-party course provider. All course bookings are subject to the terms and conditions set by the course provider. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms and conditions. ACCA takes no liability for bookings made with third-party suppliers.