Accountants need to focus on ethics standards

Accountants need to focus on ethics standards

Aug 25, 2023

Ethics is hugely important for accountants particularly at a time of economic stress when finances are under pressure, warns the Global Accounting Alliance

Concerns about the quality of ethics across the profession has led to the Global Accounting Alliance (GAA) issuing a statement to the accountancy profession, calling on professional accountants to continue demonstrating a strong commitment to business ethics and ensuring that it is integral to their firms rather than just an afterthought.

‘Macroeconomic and social forces like technological innovation and global economic uncertainty can exacerbate the day-to-day pressures on business leaders and accountants, including the pressure to act unethically,’ the GAA warned. ‘This can happen to anyone, in any profession, in any workplace, at any time.’

‘We call on every professional accountant to continue demonstrating strength of character to do the right thing, especially when no one is looking and when times are tough,’ the letter stated.

Strong business ethics and good decision making must be embedded in organisational culture, not bolted on, and maintaining public trust is critical for every organisation’s success.’

‘Holding yourself and your peers accountable to your code of ethics is more than being compliant with your membership obligations – it’s the right thing to do, for everyone – in the public interest,’ the GAA said.

ICAEW chief executive, Michael Izza reiterated the GAA’s message.

‘Fostering an ethical culture matters now more than ever. Upholding ethical standards remains a cornerstone of what it means to be a professional chartered accountant, committed to acting in the public interest,’ he said.

‘Ethical standards must be more than just a label. For standards to be effective, they need to be widely promoted, rigorously policed and prosecuted where necessary.’

The GAA member bodies represent more than 1.4 million professional accountants who are united by a crucial undertaking – to act in the public interest and in accordance with a robust code of ethics. In the UK, ICAEW, ICAS and CIMA are members of the organisation.