Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module ECOS1252: Innovations in Professional Practice

Department: Business School (Economics and Finance) [Queen's Campus, Stockton]

ECOS1252: Innovations in Professional Practice

Type Tied Level 1 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2020/21 Module Cap Location Queen's Campus Stockton
Tied to N407


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide an innovative knowledge experience to cross the bridge between the theory and concepts of the audit profession and professional practice.
  • To enable students to understand the assurance process and fundamental principles of professional ethics, and to contribute to the assessment of internal controls and gathering of evidence on an assurance engagement.
  • To provide students with an understanding of the audit environment and how to deal with audit clients using manual and electronic audit techniques.
  • To integrate technical knowledge of audit and assurance theory with the learning gained through day-to-day experience in the work place, and the professional training required to cope with the challenges and complexities of the audit profession.


  • Introduction to the audit profession culture and acting with integrity
  • UK Independence training in the audit profession
  • The concept, process and need for assurance
  • Internal controls and entity level controls
  • Gathering evidence on an assurance engagement
  • Professional ethics E audit and assurance IT techniques

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module students should:
  • Have an understanding of the concept of assurance, why assurance is required and the reasons for assurance engagements being carried out by appropriately qualified professionals
  • Have an understanding of the processes of internal control assessment and sample identification
  • Be familiar with methods of assessing the quality of assurance evidence and their persuasiveness
  • Have an understanding of issues of professional ethics
  • Be familiar with the legal responsibilities of audit
  • Be familiar with the relevant professional Code of Conduct
  • Be familiar with the independence rules, regulations, and standards that audit professions must adhere to
  • Have an understanding of the concept of diversity and inclusion
  • Have an understanding of the risks and threats associated with confidentiality, integrity and client engagement
  • Be able to differentiate the different types of audits
  • Be aware of the different threats in the workplace when dealing with audit clients and the possible safeguards in place to maintain independency and professionalism
  • Be aware of the different types of business risks that will directly or indirectly influence the audit procedures applied in the workplace
  • Gain a realistic experience of the different audit professional practices and how the theoretical body of audit justifies them
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of this module students should:
  • Be able to document an organisation’s internal controls and identify weaknesses in internal control systems
  • Be able to select sufficient and appropriate methods of obtaining assurance evidence and recognise when conclusions can be drawn from evidence obtained or where issues need to be referred to a senior colleague
  • Be able to provide a high level overview of entity level controls, defining each component and sub-components and how entity level controls fit into the audit
  • Using a case study audit engagement and scenarios be able to understand the work to be performed over entity level controls, understanding controls and the impact of effective or ineffective controls is explained
  • Be able to use Internet resources in the public domain to understand the clients’ business and industry
  • Be able to process different clients’ information
  • Be able to apply innovative techniques such as: eAuditIT (manual, excel and CaseWare) and outsourcing mechanisms
  • Be able to use appropriate documentation and flowchart techniques
  • Be able to take different judgemental decisions following various circumstances which may arise in the workplace
  • Be able to exercise professional judgements in relation to standards or code of ethics violations
  • Be able to implement the different concepts and theories of audit with an appropriate level of professionalism
Key Skills:
  • Be able to understand the importance of ethical behaviour to a professional practice
  • Be able to put classroom-based learning into practice in a workplace environment
  • Be able to recognise and explain issues relating to professional responsibility, integrity, objectivity, conflicts of interest, conflicts of loyalty, confidentiality and independence
  • Be able to demonstrate commercial awareness
  • Communication and presentation skills to diverse audiences
  • Be able to operate within time and budget pressures and meet conflicting deadlines
  • Be able to recognise when to escalate an incident

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Learning will be based on knowledge transfer from online sessions and personal study, investigation of the audit profession and clients’ cultures of control.
  • E-learning activities and discussions will provide learning support for students and an awareness of the main business risks and challenges.
  • In-class training (delivered while students are in employment) will develop students’ ability to adopt innovative approaches to mitigate these risks and challenges.
  • Additional experiential learning throughout the module, which will be recorded in a professional practice diary as part of the formative assessment, will help to cement the links between the theory and concepts of the audit profession and professional practice.
  • Reflecting the links between theory and practice which underpin this module, the summative assessment takes the form of a professional practice portfolio and critical reflection. This will assess students’ understanding of the main body of audit theories and concepts and their application in a professional workplace environment. It will therefore encompass a range of issues and scenarios issues in relation to audit profession methodologies and clients’ entities and environment; students’ their theoretical and conceptual understanding of the professional practice; and their ability to apply these theories and concepts in the workplace in an innovative way to assist the audit profession in mitigating business and audit risks and challenges.
  • The portfolio itself will require students to integrate academic and professional methodology, evidencing the different safeguards and procedures being followed in specific circumstances to avoid threats or mitigate audit risks. It will also require them to reflect upon and critically discuss their observations and evidence, and to explore any limitations or drawbacks of the audit practices, procedures and standards applied, whether from a practical or a regulatory perspective.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 9 Held across an 8 day teaching block 2 hours 18
Seminars 4 Held across an 8 day teaching block 2 hours 8
E-Learning Sessions 10 Throughout the year Varies 14
In-class training 27 Throughout the year Varies 56
Webinar 1 Annual 1 hour 1
Revision Webinar 1 Annual 1 hour 1
Experiential Learning Throughout the year Varies 125
Directed reading, self-assessed assignments, guidance for further reading and independent study 177
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written assignment comprising professional practice portfolio and critical reflection 4,000 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

1.5 hour multiple-choice test and 2,000 word proposal discussing the main dimensions of the professional practice portfolio. Professional practice diary.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University