Ethics Resources: IFAC and IESBA

By Anders, Susan B. | The CPA Journal, March 2018 | Go to article overview

Ethics Resources: IFAC and IESBA


Anders, Susan B., The CPA Journal


Changes are coming on the international front for the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants and NonCompliance with Laws and Regulations (NOCLAR) standards. While the international code is being restructured to make it more familiar to U.S. CPAs, the NOCLAR standards present a new challenge. This guidance was developed jointly by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) and the AICPA; however, the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct does not currently include any similar standard. Two websites that provide some excellent free resources on the international code and the NOCLAR provisions are the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the IESBA.

International Federation of Accountants Ethics Portal

The IFAC Global Knowledge Gateway (http://www.ifac.org/ global-knowledge-gateway) serves as a portal to IFAC's library of resource materials on topics such as audit and assurance, business reporting, and ethics. Gateway materials include IFAC-created background information, news articles from external sources, short videos produced by IFAC, and links to related outside resources. The ethics gateway (http://bit.ly/2otheJ5) includes connections to a large number of other organizations' professional ethics materials.

The ethics gateway also provides an overview of ethics in general, business, and practice perspectives, and includes links to a variety of external documents. The ethics overview page (http://bit.ly/2BThpFp) states that "a distinguishing characteristic of the accountancy profession is the responsibility to act in the public interest," and that business ethics includes professional ethics. IFAC members, which include the AICPA and Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) in the United States, are required to have professional ethics standards at least as stringent as the IFAC Code of Ethics-so U.S. CPAs and CMAs do fall under international ethics standards.

There are several interesting ethics-related articles and documents available on the ethics gateway, such as "The Professional Accountant's Mindset and Tackling Corruption" (September 2017), by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), which begins with some surprising statistics about the number of countries that scored unfavorably on an international corruption index (http://bit.ly/2Cnsgbt). The article states that management accountants are trained to analyze both financial and nonfinancial information and have excellent backgrounds to challenge suspicious data and reports in multiple areas. A link is provided to a downloadable CGMA guide, "Keeping Business Clean: A CGMA Guide to Countering Fraud and Corruption," which provides practical guidance on combatting both traditional and electronic fraud (http://bit.ly/2BPRcHI).

"Navigating Ethics in a Digital Age" (October 2017), by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), discusses the effect of technology in creating moving targets, including for determining what is right (http://bit.ly/2FyFmRQ). The article states that "sustainable commercial returns are backed by sound ethical behavioť' and briefly addresses the potential use and misuse of data analytics and the importance of a good reputation and public trust. It also links to a downloadable 90-page ACCA research initiative, "Ethics and Trust in a Digital Age," a survey of over 10,000 professional accountants (http://bit.ly/2HPwNTx) addresses six digital themes covering potential ethical compromises and solutions: cybersecurity; platform-based business models; big data and analytics; cryptocurrencies and distributed ledgers; automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning; and procurement of technology.

The ethics gateway also offers some short, high-quality videos. "Preparing for Ethical Challenges in Your Career" discusses the importance of accountants relying on their experience, training, and values (http://bit.ly/2BOw0BT). "Teach Your Children Well: Teaching Young Accountants the Importance of Ethics" addresses the importance of training new accountants to become members of a profession, as well as of communicating by example (http://bit. …

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