UGB331 Applying Critical Reflective Practice 2022 Assignment Sample

Understanding Professional Identity: Reflective Practice in Accounting

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Introduction Of The UGB331 Applying Critical Reflective Practice 2022

Part A: Literature review

Aim and context of the research

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Aims

The aim of the study is to develop a professional plan for getting admission into ACCA and gaining recognition as a chartered accountant with the ACCA. The ACCA (Association for Chartered Certified Accountants). Is a prestigious organisation that is a professional Accounting body. The accountants registered with the ACCA are some of the most sought-after professionals by international organisations and business entrepreneurs for their financial and accounting services. Hence, getting registered with such a high profile organisation demands professional skills and qualities as well as informal professional qualities. This study is thus a reflection that evaluates personal eligibility to get involved with the processes of ACCA.

Context of research

The research is conducted in the context of the Formal Professional Identity of the individual and includes professional behavior and professional values. The Professional values of ACCA are defined as Competency, Reliability, honesty, flexibility, professional integrity, and maintaining a professional image. The study is built on the context of reflecting on the personal data design to evaluate if the candidate (self) is capable of the professional demands made by the ACCA (Accaglobal, 2022). The candidate designs personal data and finds out the places that are lacking to build them up and also evaluates the strengths and opportunities.

This research is also conducted in the context of the Informal Professional Identity of the individual that includes informal and personal professional values such as Self?Image, dedication, motivation, and so on using “The Alvesson Metaphor framework”. This is of great importance as apart from professional competencies there are personal intrinsic competencies that make the employee a well rounded professional (Alvesson, 2010). These are usually personal discipline and the ability to reliability work toward company goals, and personal goals that are linked with company goals.

The main context is to hence develop a research to help aspiring professionals who want to develop "Reflexive awareness" acquire reflexive consciousness (self-awareness; self-reflection as a method). The three components of the Developing the Reflexive Practitioner Research Project (Storyboard) form the main parts of the project. Using this context, the rest of the study is to be conducted. In other words, this part of the research is to act as a road map to accomplish the goals of the study

Theoretical Direction for research

Gibbs reflective cycle

The Formal professional identity is to be measured and accessed using the Gibbs reflective circle (Adeani et al. 2020). The ACCA lists strict criteria of the professional requirements such as the ability to function with professionalism, dependability, honesty, adaptability, and professional integrity. If the candidate has these or not is going to be seen here.

Gibbs model:

Description: The need for Competency, professional integrity, Reliability, honesty, flexibility, and maintaining a professional image are needed for ACCA (Accaglobal, 2022). Thus, Over a span of time from observation the existence of these has been evaluated and rated on a scale of 0 to 10.

Feelings: The feeling regarding this is that most of these qualities are possessed by the individual. Apart from that, the person owns more skills than just these.

Evaluation: The categories of Core competency and adaptability have been evaluated to be 7 out of 10, that is a decent rating, the category of honesty and integrity has been rated to be 9 out of 10 that is a high score, similarly, adaptability has been scored a 6 out of 10 and the dependability is rated at 7 out of 10 due to there being low adaptability that in turn is the result of not having enough professional experience.

Conclusions: In conclusion, it is noted that adaptability and dependability need to be improved along with core accounting skills to improve competency.

Action: More freelance accounting work needs to be done to build a professional experience that boosts competency, builds experience, and gives more adaptability and dependability.

Alvesson Metaphor framework

This step is to evaluate the informal professional identity that includes values such as self-image, commitment, drive, and so forth. The existence of these capabilities is being evaluated through the process of the Alvesson Metaphor framework.

The evaluation shows that the candidate has great communication skills and is cooperative by nature, these are the things that lead to them being a team player and capable of working in collaboration. Dedication and motivation are some of the informal professional qualities possessed, hence it leads to the conclusion that the person has high levels of self-discipline.

References

  • Adeani, I.S., Febriani, R.B. and Syafryadin, S., 2020. USING GIBBS'REFLECTIVE CYCLE IN MAKING REFLECTIONS OF LITERARY ANALYSIS. Indonesian EFL Journal, 6(2), pp.139-148.
  • Alvesson, M., 2010. Interpreting interviews. Sage.
  • Accaglobal.com, 2022. Being Professional. Available at: https://www.accaglobal.com/an/en/student/sa/features/being-professional.html [Accessed 12 November 2022]
  • Bradbury H, Frost N, Kilminister S and M Zukas (2010) Beyond Reflective Practice: New approaches to professional lifelong learning, Oxon: Routledge
    Thompson, S (2008) the critically reflective practitioner, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Part B: Methodology research philosophy, approach, and design

The present section of the study will assess the many methodologies that the researcher used to carry out this work. This chapter will provide a brief justification for the researcher's research philosophy, approach, and design. Additionally, the techniques used to gather data and analyse that data will be highlighted and supported below.

Research Methods

Research Design

In this situation, the ongoing research has chosen an explanatory design to gather data and analyse the process of creating an effective reflexive consciousness. According to Bougie and Sekaran (2019), explanatory design aids in assessing the researcher's theories and ideas in light of the relevant subject. It focuses on examining various hypotheses in regard to the topic. Explanatory design, which has a focus on in-depth analysis, offers the researcher a thorough comprehension of the subject, claim Lo et al. (2020). The explanatory study is frequently seen to produce skewed and unusable samples, which are likely to be causing a number of differences in the research findings. This may potentially restrict the researcher from obtaining an appropriate result, but the comprehensive and logical nature of this design strengthens its limitations and justifies it in this case. Hence for this study, this research design is well suited and aids the researcher in obtaining accurate results for the purpose of the study.

Research Philosophy

Philosophy in research primarily aids in forming an opinion based on the gathering and analysis of specific occurrences that are the focus of the investigation. Regarding this, the current researcher has utilised positivist philosophy to gather appropriate and accurate facts depending on the relevant subject. Bazeley (2018) provides an example of how positivism is a highly stable ideology that aids in describing and observing things from unbiased points of view. Additionally, it aids in analysing how various research factors relate to one another. Analyzing the correlations between various variables frequently enables a researcher to do an in-depth investigation on the subject at hand. Given this, Farashahi and Tajeddin (2018) noted that positivist philosophy is well renowned for its factual knowledge and that adopting it will result in a more complete study.

Research Approach

Research methodologies help in the evaluation of many interpretations and facets of the subject at hand. The deductive method entails a scientific analysis of the subject, claim Hall et al. (2022). This strategy is seen to additionally use current theories in order to justify the result. This means that the deductive methodology used in this study can be very useful for learning the right knowledge on how to become a reflexive practitioner. Pearse (2019) contends that the deductive approach does not help new theories because it is frequently seen to be dealing with old beliefs. This means that applying the deductive method only gives the researcher the option of employing pre-existing theories and offering their idea.

Data Analysis

Data Analysis Method

The next section has employed theme analysis based on the chosen data gathering techniques mentioned above. According to Ragab and Arisha (2018), thematic techniques of data analysis focus on developing a number of themes based on the data gathered and the study's goals. A satisfactory conclusion is reached after further evaluation of each of these issues separately. Thematic analysis, according to Wang and Ngai (2020), also saves time and increases audience readability.

Analysis of data

The data analysis is done on the basis of secondary research, hence, secondary data has been gathered from the official website of ACCA. Data related to professional behavior of both formal and informal categories have been collected. On the other hand, two of the most suitable models were used to access formal professional behavior and the informal professional behavior. These behaviors have been analysed by dividing them into categories as listed by the ACCA (Accaglobal.com, 2022). The formal behavior has been accessed using the Gibbs model that yielded the results of the categories in that the individual is strong in and the categories that the individual is weak in. This was achieved through the self evaluation method of “self-rating” the individual rated themself on a scale of 0-10 and found their strong and weak areas. The area of competency and adaptability have been evaluated to be strong, similarly, the category of honesty and integrity has been rated to be strong (the strongest, according to the rating). The areas of adaptability and dependability have been said to be weak and the assessor has pointed out the lack of professional experience to be the cause of the weakness. Thus, a suitable solution has also been developed for this matter for improvement.

Bibliography

  • Bougie, R. and Sekaran, U., (2019). Research methods for business: A skill building approach. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Lo, F.Y., Rey-Martí, A. and Botella-Carrubi, D., (2020). Research methods in business: Quantitative and qualitative comparative analysis. Journal of Business Research, 115, pp.221-224.
  • Bazeley, P., (2018). A practical introduction to mixed methods for business and management. A Practical Introduction to Mixed Methods for Business and Management, pp.1-136.
  • Hall, J.R., Savas-Hall, S. and Shaw, E.H., (2022). A deductive approach to a systematic review of entrepreneurship literature. Management Review Quarterly, pp.1-30.
  • Pearse, N., (2019). An illustration of a deductive pattern matching procedure in qualitative leadership research. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 17(3), pp.pp143-154.
  • Ragab, M.A. and Arisha, A., (2018). Research methodology in business: A starter's guide. Management and organizational studies, 5(1), pp.1-14.
  • Wang, Q. and Ngai, E.W., (2020). Event study methodology in business research: a bibliometric analysis. Industrial Management & Data Systems. 2(1), pp.12-14.

Part C: Reflexive Practitioner Storyboard

Incidents of financial misreporting and fraud

During training I took up an internship in the finance department of the TESCO. During the term a case of financial misreporting took place and the group of the accountants in the head office was accused of not being able to show any record fo $3,00,000. Thi swas a serious alligation and the departmental heads of 3 branches were sent to investigate the issue. The branch head I was working under had no employees to spare hence, I was taken as his aid. This was a huge learning experience as the nittigritties of financial examination was learnt.

The key financial records such as the financial statements of the present and the past year were thoroughly scrutinised, An auditing session was put in place to review the financial developments that took place. All the balance sheets and the cash inflow statements and other financial statements were checked for mistakes and fraudulent activities. Apart from that the chief chattered accountant wa interrogated along with his team members both individually and collectively in the presence of 2 board members that were tasked to oversee the proceedings. This was a learning experience of the processes that are undertaken to investigate a case of financial misreporting and also the mistakes to avoid learning form the errors of the accounting team that was under scrutiny.

Revisiting of Financial Statement

The financial statements were revisited of the present year and the previous one that falls under one financial year as the incident started happening after the audit of the previous year and prior to the audit of the present year. This is reason the people could not catch the misreporting in the Audit of the previous year. However, this was caught on time due to the financial team reporting the issue to the managers before the Audit. This made everyone see the team with suspicion. The review of the financial statement was the thing that made all the difference in finding out that it was not a case of fraudulent activities, but accounting errors.

After that all the activities were aimed at finding and correcting the mistakes. The are people involved in the mistakes were called and together the mistakes were rectified. There are five major types of financial statement, such as income statement, balance sheet, note to financial statement, cash flow statement, statement of change in equity. These statements were reviewed thoroughly and it was found that the entries that were entered often consisted of one digit when the entry was of three or four digit entries. One example is of the balance sheet where a facility restart and maintenance cost was entered as $1 when the real figure should have been $15, 000. Such errors were frequent.

Auditing

Audit is the examination of financial entries that all firms, with or without a profit motive uses to check if the company is on the right track financially. It paints a total picture of the performance and stability of the organisation. However this audit that was done was done was conducted as an examination to find out the missing amount from the balance sheet as compared with the cash flow statement and other financial statements, many irregularities were found in the other financial statements as well. The automated calculating software that takes the entries and calculates the final amount has been malfunctioning and the entries were getting changes to only their first digit. This caused the team a massive problem to recover the data that was lost. Other departmental records had to be accessed to make up for the data that has been lost as the values are lost upon entry. This was less of an audit as the audit process failed initially due to wrong entries. However, after the work was finished the Auditing process showed that the entries were all balanced and no amount of financial resource was missing. The auditing process was done to make sure that there were no mistakes this time as the work was done manually in a traditional fashion. It also ensured that all the financial resource are accurately represented in the financial statements.

This could have been a situation of crisis much larger than it was due to the financial team reporting the matter early. First the cporrctions were made and then the real auditing process began. With competency, reliability, determination and professional integrity the team worked to solve the issue. The previous team took such a long while to detect the problem because they were working in an unstructured manner. This proves how effective the formal professional and informal professional identity is for work.

Financial scrutiny

Considering their general function of overseeing and examination within the authority, council members have a right to question and supervise council finances in a manner that seems reasonable to them. Council members must have access to and the ability to comprehend certain fundamental facts for this to occur (Cipfa.org, 2022).. When these knowledge and aptitude concerns have been resolved, scrutiny can next think about the particular role or functions it can play in relation to the council's finances. Here the council members were not present, since, that day an examination of a potential fraudulent activity was being examined, the council member role were being played by the three branch head accountants. The three man team was given all the overseeing and examination powers by the board of directors, hence technically it could be called a financial scrutiny. The only difference being that this scrutiny involved finding issues in the data entry of the financial figures in the system.

Yet again this proves how a disciplined team can handle such a huge task of scrutinising all the data in a large organisation. This is a part of the Informal Professionalidentity and the huge task was done manually due to a disciplined approach. The employee needs to be reliable and flexible to be trust worthy and capable of finding solutions and adjusting to the type of work. This again falls under the formal professional identity. The technical team that the problem was reported to lacked professional integrity and hence chose tp cover up the issue in their system rather than helping the client and admitting the bug in the programming. This also stresses on the need for the formal professional behaviour in employees.

Recommendations given

There are a few things that can be said to have gone wrong. Firstlydue to the unstructured way of working had put the team in a position where they did not detect the issue happening. The person responsible for rechecking of the accounts (the chief accountant, did not perform this function well. They lacked teamwork and coordination and had carelessness in their ranks. The second issue is that they were let down by the technical team as they did not choose to act when the previous accounting team had complained about the issue to them. Seeing the new accounting team come made them take the wrong decision of waiting the issue out.

Hence, the recommendation given to the team was to work as per a fixed schedule that allowed them to revisit the task done to review it again with the hopes that any mistakes may be caught during the recheck process. The recommendation regarding the use of the proprietary software remains unknown but there was a need for the board of directors to enforce policies that ensured formal and informal professional behaviour amongst the employees so that such catastrophes can be mitigated.

Conclusion

In the end, it was found that the accounting team made crucial entry mistakes due to an issue with the accounting software that they did not notice. The financial accounts for the current year and the previous year, which are part of the same financial year, were reviewed because the incident began occurring after the previous year's audit and before the current year's audit. Due to this, no one being able to detect the inaccurate reporting during the prior year's audit. The previous accounting group did file a report on the problematic proprietary software but no steps were taken to solve the issue. The New team tookover and faced the same issue. The mistakes of the previous year an the present year compounded to form a huge amount of money misreported. This was an unfortunate event that shows a lack of professional answerability. The technical team involved belonged to th ecompany that builds the accounting software, hence they tried to cover the issue to safeguard the reputation of the company rather than addressing the issue of the client.

The team of investigators found success in the endevour of finding out the issue and also over saw the process of correction. This learning experience opened up a way for me to deploy understand the processes of accounting in a large scale operations based company and also facilitated the learning of various smaller but crucial things about financial review.

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