Magazine article Strategic Finance

IMA AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ETHICS: IMA Takes a Consistent, Comprehensive Approach to Promoting the Highest Ethical Standards for Accounting and Finance Professionals around the World

Magazine article Strategic Finance

IMA AND INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ETHICS: IMA Takes a Consistent, Comprehensive Approach to Promoting the Highest Ethical Standards for Accounting and Finance Professionals around the World

Article excerpt

AS A GLOBAL ORGANIZATION in 140 countries and with 366 professional and student chapters, IMA[R] (Institute of Management Accountants) has long played a leadership role in advancing the best ethical practices on an international level. IMA's mission statement includes "advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance." This commitment to ethics has permeated the organization since it was founded in 1919 as the National Association of Cost Accountants (NACA). The IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice is considered the gold standard for guiding the ethical behavior of management accountants and financial managers worldwide.

A GLOBAL PRESENCE

IMA's commitment to the global profession of management accounting and finance spans more than a half century, with the first non-U.S. chapter chartered in Cuba in 1943. More recently, IMA increased its efforts to make inroads into geographic regions beyond North America. For example, the first IMA International Conference was held in Dubai, UAE, in 2006, and a simplified Chinese version of the CMA[R] (Certified Management Accountant) exam was introduced in 2007. To this day, IMA is still the only international accounting association to offer Chinese management accountants and financial professionals a beginning-to-end experience for certification, providing exam prep, the actual exam, and continuing professional education (CPE) courses, all in Chinese.

IMA also has regional offices in eight cities outside the United States: three in China, two in Europe, one in India, one in Singapore, and one in Dubai. Today, more than half of IMA's approximately 120,000 members hail from outside the U.S. Driving this expansion has been the association's desire to grow the management accounting profession and to develop the skills and abilities of those finance and accounting professionals who work inside organizations across the globe. A fundamental part of this effort is encouraging the highest ethical standards among practitioners everywhere.

ETHICS IS GLOBAL, TOO

IMA takes its global role and responsibilities seriously, especially in the field of ethics. The IMA Statement sets forth principles and standards for the ethical conduct of accounting and finance professionals, and all members are expected to abide by them no matter what country or region they're in. And since IMA is a member organization of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), these guidelines must be--and are--no less stringent than those set forth by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA).

IMA takes a consistent, comprehensive approach to enforcing the IMA Statement. The IMA Committee on Ethics applies the same requirements and consequences to members no matter their geographic location, and reporting mechanisms are in place globally to ensure that ethical issues are addressed and resolved. The consequences of violating the IMA Statement are identical for every IMA member around the world.

To help members understand their ethical obligations, the IMA Statement has been translated into simplified Chinese and Arabic. And in addition to agreeing to abide by the IMA Statement, IMA members also must disclose any prior felonies on their record when completing their membership application.

Rather than being considered onerous and invasive, these ethical constraints have in practice helped fuel IMA's continuing international growth. …

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