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Ethics 'all-important in accountancy sector'
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Accountants and individuals wishing to enter the profession have been reminded of the industry's ethical requirements.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has urged members and students to comply with its code of ethics in order to protect their professional standing.
CIMA has launched a new animation on its website to help accountants better understand their responsibilities to the profession.
The association said it is committed to upholding "the highest ethical and professional standards" and maintaining public confidence in management accounting.
The CIMA code of ethics is based on the International Federation of Accountants' handbook of the code of ethics for professional accountants, from the International Ethics Standards Board of Accountants.
Tanya Barman, CIMA's head of ethics, explained that CIMA requires all members to follow a strict code to ensure the work they do on behalf of organisations and the public is of the utmost integrity.
"Since our first ethics survey back in 2008, the emphasis on business ethics and sustainability has certainly intensified," she commented.
"Recent global events have reinforced this, and business leaders now know they have to consider corporate values, not only in relation to brand and the public's perception, but also to support long-term success."
Ms Barman said the last few years have highlighted the cost of acting unethically.
A spate of business failures, high public mistrust and increasing public protest, such as the Occupy movement against financial misdemeanours across all sectors, are evidence of the risks, she noted.
"Despite an increase in organisations adopting ethical codes and training, current research suggests there is greater pressure within companies to act unethically," Ms Barman warned.
"There is certainly a 'rhetoric versus reality' gap, as the majority of organisations have a code of ethics, but few are actively monitoring and evaluating ethical performance."
She said it is vital to act quickly when facing an ethical dilemma.
"The longer you leave it, the more chance there is for repercussions for the organisation, yourself, and indeed the standing of the profession," Ms Barman suggested.
According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, ethics and professional conduct plays "an important part" in the accountancy profession.
It ensures public trust in financial reporting and business practices, the body stated.
Posted by John Lynes
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