About this Course

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.


Subtitles: English

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.


Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

2 hours to complete

About the Course

In this module, you will become familiar with the course, your instructor and your classmates, and our learning environment. This orientation will also help you obtain the technical skills required to navigate and be successful in this course.

2 videos (Total 6 min), 4 readings, 1 quiz
2 videos
About Professor Curtis4m
4 readings
About the Discussion Forums10m
Update Your Profile10m
Build a Learning Community with Social Media10m
1 practice exercise
Orientation Quiz30m
3 hours to complete

Module 1 Foundations: Professional, Professions, Professional Responsibility

This module is an introduction to and exploration of three concepts: professional, professions and professional responsibility. It begins with reflections on what it means to be professional. These are followed by a discussion of why being professional is not always sufficient. The discussion introduces what a CPA is and why professions exist. The three characteristics of a profession are identified. Next, the concept of professional responsibility is introduced, followed by a discussion of the three parts of professional responsibility: identity, standards and judgment. The module concludes with a professional association website exploration exercise. The exploration introduces resources central to professional responsibility in accounting. The website exploration exercise also introduces the requirements for obtaining and maintaining CPA licensure and the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct.

6 videos (Total 25 min), 3 readings, 7 quizzes
6 videos
Reflections on What is Not Professional3m
What it Means to be Professional3m
What is a Profession?3m
Professional Responsibility4m
Professional Responsibility: Interview with Gretchen Winter7m
3 readings
Module 1 Overview and Resources10m
CPA Profession Exploration Exercise1h
CPA Profession Exploration Exercise Guide10m
7 practice exercises
Lesson 1.1 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 1.2 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 1.3 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 1.4 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 1.5 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 1.6 Knowledge Check1m
Module 1 Quiz1h
3 hours to complete

Module 2 Foundations Part II: Values and Ethics

This module is an introduction to values and ethics. The module begins with reflections on values and how they can be revealed by the objects we choose to keep and what actions we choose to take. The reflections are followed by discussion of what values and norms are and the distinction between them. Next, the process of learning values and norms is described, followed by a brief discussion of why values may be influenced and changed throughout life. Then, a brief description of how most decisions about what is right and wrong are made provides the basis for understanding why it is important to build ethical capacity. The three areas of moral philosophy, meta-ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics are introduced, followed by brief discussions of exemplar issues/questions that are addressed by each area, which include: characteristics of values, ethical theories and universal values. Discussion of three categories of ethical theories, deontological, teleological and virtue ethics explains the basis on which each determines what the right or good thing to do is. This module also concludes by introducing an on-line resource, one that is useful for developing or refreshing understanding of ethics: the Ethics Unwrapped website. A few short videos from the website build upon the previous discussion of ethical theories and add a brief introduction to two consequentialist ethical theories: hedonism and utilitarianism.

7 videos (Total 26 min), 2 readings, 9 quizzes
7 videos
Family Experience and Personal Values2m
Beliefs that Drive Behavior3m
Values Conflicts4m
Revealing Values & How We Learn Values3m
What Are Ethics?4m
More About Ethics6m
2 readings
Module 2 Overview and Resources10m
Ethics Unwrapped Videos10m
9 practice exercises
Lesson 2.1 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 2.2 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 2.3 Knowledge Quiz1m
Lesson 2.4 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 2.5 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 2.6 Knowledge Check2m
Lesson 2.7 Knowledge Check3m
Lesson 2.8 Knowledge Check7m
Module 2 Quiz1h 30m
5 hours to complete

Module 3 Debate: The Purpose of Business

This module introduces the debate over what the purpose of business is. The module begins with discussion of legal liability in the three basic legal forms of business: sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation. Clips from interviews with three small business owners illustrate the work ethic they bring to managing their businesses. Next, the development of capitalism is contextualized as a response to mercantilism, the Western European economic system that was dominant when Adam Smith was his two most influential treatises. The discussion draws attention to the ethical roots of capitalism; the centrality of personal autonomy and the compassionate connotations of self-interest. More interview clips illustrate that the concerns of the three small business owners go well beyond merely earning a profit. Separation of management and owners in the modern corporate form of business has led to debate over what the purpose of a business is. The debate over what and to whom corporate management is and should be accountable is explored. The module introduces two contrasting legal theories of firm. The first theory is the trust relationship between corporate owners and management that is forged through private property rights. The second is the public interest nature of the relationship between society and business. The interests of shareholders and other stakeholders often conflict, but the responsibilities of management to corporate owners and society co-exist. Further discussion provides insights into situational factors that can lead to and justify prioritization of broader stakeholder and societal interests over the general rule of shareholder primacy. Popular culture strongly influences the beliefs of a society. The module ends with a brief discussion of the source of a controversial but highly popular belief that the only moral responsibility of business is to maximize shareholder wealth.

8 videos (Total 39 min), 1 reading, 8 quizzes
8 videos
Meet the Business Owners - Part 15m
Adam Smith I: Personal Autonomy & the Competitive Markets of Capitalism4m
Adam Smith II: Compassionate and Ethical Self-Interest4m
Meet the Business Owners - Part 27m
Who Does Corporate Management Serve5m
Defense of Publically Motivated Corporate Actions4m
The Moral Obligation to Maximize Shareholder Wealth3m
1 reading
Module 3 Overview and Resources10m
7 practice exercises
Lesson 3.1 Knowledge Check1m
Lesson 3.3 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 3.4 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 3.6 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 3.7 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 3.8 Knowledge Check30m
Module 3 Quiz1h
8 hours to complete

Module 4 Corporate Governance: Laws, Regulators, Boards of Directors, Codes of Ethics, Ethical Culture

Business generates wealth and prosperity, but hyper-norm beliefs about fairness and theories of distributive justice significantly affect how wealth is distributed throughout society. Corporate governance is the system (of rules, practices, policies, institutions and laws) that directs and controls business. Corporate governance also is one of the key mechanisms through which society determines how wealth and prosperity is distributed. This module introduces corporate governance elements that are external (laws and regulatory agencies) and internal (boards of directors, ethics and compliance programs and organizational culture) to a corporation. The module includes discussion of two sometimes competing themes that drive the need for and development of corporate governance. These themes extend from the debate over the purpose of business and responsibilities of management that were introduced in the last module. The need for corporate governance is often motivated by the idea of shareholder primacy and the need to protect the private property rights of corporate shareholders in the context of incomplete contracting and information asymmetry. Yet, for nearly a century arguably the most significant legislative reform in US business regulation has resulted from major economic downturns that had significant and wide-spread negative impacts on society as a whole and large-scale corporate ethical lapses, scandals and fraud that ran counter to societal notions of fairness.

12 videos (Total 41 min), 1 reading, 11 quizzes
12 videos
US Regulations2m
An Economic Perspective2m
A Different View of Corporate Governance2m
Proactive Frameworks of Corporate Governance2m
Board of Directors3m
Board Committees5m
Ethics & Compliance Programs2m
Codes of Ethics3m
Code and Program Effectiveness2m
A Conversation with Jeff Lowenstein5m
A Conversation Continued5m
1 reading
Module 4 Overview and Resources10m
11 practice exercises
Lesson 4.1 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.2 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.3 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.4 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.5 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.6 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.7 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.8 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.9 Knowledge Check30m
Lesson 4.10 Knowledge Check30m
Module 4 Quiz1h 30m



Susan Curtis

Lecturer of Accountancy
Gies College of Business

About University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement, distinguished by the breadth of its programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty and alumni. Illinois serves the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and finding solutions to critical societal needs. ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.