IMA Ethics Code Compares Favorably to Global Code: The Global IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants Sets Forth Guidance for All Accountants and Includes an Informative Portion Specifically for Accountants in Business. While It Contains Many Similarities to the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice, Some Differences Also Exist

By Verschoor, Curtis C. | Strategic Finance, March 2012 | Go to article overview

IMA Ethics Code Compares Favorably to Global Code: The Global IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants Sets Forth Guidance for All Accountants and Includes an Informative Portion Specifically for Accountants in Business. While It Contains Many Similarities to the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice, Some Differences Also Exist


Verschoor, Curtis C., Strategic Finance


The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is a global association of professional accountancy bodies from 127 countries. These national organizations represent accountants in public practice, education, governmental service, industry, and commerce. IFAC's mission is to contribute to the development, adoption, and implementation of high-quality international standards and guidance. Ethical guidance is provided by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA). Its mission is to set high-quality ethical standards for professional accountants and facilitate the convergence of international and national ethical standards, including auditor independence requirements, through the development of a robust, internationally appropriate code of ethics.

The latest codification of the IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (IESBA Code) was issued in 2009 and published as a handbook in 2010. The IESBA Code is divided into three sections of guidance: (1) general applicability, (2) for professional accountants in public practice, and (3) for professional accountants in business (PAB). The fundamental principles of general applicability are:

Integrity--to be straightforward and honest in all professional and business relationships.

Objectivity--to not allow bias, conflict of interest, or undue influence of others to override professional or business judgments.

Professional Competence and Due Care--to maintain professional knowledge and skill at the level required to ensure that a client or employer receives competent professional services based on current developments in practice, legislation, and techniques and to act diligently and in accordance with applicable technical and professional standards.

Confidentiality--to respect the confidentiality of information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships and, therefore, not disclose any such information to third parties without proper and specific authority unless there's a legal or professional right or duty to disclose, nor use the information for the personal advantage of the professional accountant or third parties.

Professional Behavior--to comply with relevant laws and regulations and avoid any action that discredits the profession.

In comparison, The IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice (the IMA Statement) contains an unqualified commitment that all IMA[R] members shall behave ethically. IMA's commitment to ethical professional practice includes overarching principles that express our values and standards that guide our conduct. The overarching principles in the IMA Statement are honesty, fairness, objectivity, and responsibility.

The fundamental principles portion of the IESBA Code also provides a conceptual framework that all professional accountants shall use to:

* "Identify threats to compliance with the fundamental principles,

* Evaluate the significance of the identified threats, and

* Apply safeguards, when necessary, to eliminate the threats or reduce them to an acceptable level" (Section 100.2).

Safeguards within organizations designed to protect against threats to compliance with the fundamental principles specifically applicable to PABs include:

* "The employing organization's systems of corporate oversight or other oversight structures.

* The employing organization's ethics and conduct programs.

* Recruitment procedures in the employing organization emphasizing the importance of employing high caliber competent staff.

* Strong internal controls.

* Appropriate disciplinary processes.

* Leadership that stresses the importance of ethical behavior and the expectation that employees will act in an ethical manner.

* Policies and procedures to implement and monitor the quality of employee performance.

* Timely communication of the employing organization's policies and procedures, including any changes to them, to all employees and appropriate training and education on such policies and procedures. …

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IMA Ethics Code Compares Favorably to Global Code: The Global IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants Sets Forth Guidance for All Accountants and Includes an Informative Portion Specifically for Accountants in Business. While It Contains Many Similarities to the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice, Some Differences Also Exist
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