Global board releases revamped Code of Ethics for professional accountants

Thursday, 19 April 2018 00:41 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Encourages early implementation preparations 

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has released a completely rewritten Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants that is easier to navigate, use and enforce. 

Beyond the new structure, the Code brings together key ethics advances over the past four years, and is clearer about how accountants should deal with ethics and independence issues.

While the fundamental principles of ethics have not changed, major revisions have been made to the unifying conceptual framework – the approach used by all professional accountants to identify, evaluate and address threats to compliance with the fundamental principles and, where applicable, independence. 

New Code highlights include: 

nRevised “safeguards” provisions better aligned to threats to compliance with the fundamental principles;

nStronger independence provisions regarding long association of personnel with audit clients;

nNew and revised sections dedicated to professional accountants in business (PAIBs) relating to: preparing and presenting information; and pressure to breach the fundamental principles.

nClear guidance for accountants in public practice that relevant PAIB provisions are applicable to them;

nNew guidance to emphasise the importance of understanding facts and circumstances when exercising professional judgment; and

nNew guidance to explain how compliance with the fundamental principles supports the exercise of professional scepticism in an audit or other assurance engagements.

“This is a groundbreaking moment in the public interest. The Code is now a significantly strengthened platform, re-engineered for greater usability while maintaining global applicability. It underscores the importance of the fundamental principles for all professional accountants,” said IESBA Chairman Dr. Stavros Thomadakis. “Critical work begins now within firms, national standards setters, regulators and audit oversight bodies, educators, IFAC member bodies and others to promote awareness of the Code, and support its adoption and implementation.”

“I congratulate the IESBA on this significant achievement,” said Kristian Koktvedgaard, Chair of IESBA’s multi-stakeholder Consultative Advisory Group (CAG). “A strong international Code of Ethics is one of the defining characteristics of the global accountancy profession. Clearer, more usable and enforceable independence and ethics standards are essential to public trust in the profession. The new Code establishes a solid base for “future-ready” ethics standards, and I am pleased that the CAG contributed to its development.”

Renamed the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards), the new Code becomes effective in June 2019. It is the culmination of extensive research and global stakeholder consultation. Stakeholders can now access the new Code on the IESBA’s website, where implementation resources and other supporting materials will be released throughout the period leading up to the effective date.

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants is an independent standard-setting board that develops and issues, in the public interest, high-quality ethical standards and other pronouncements for professional accountants worldwide. Through its activities, the IESBA develops the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, which establishes ethical requirements for professional accountants. The structures and processes that support the operations of the IESBA are facilitated by IFAC. 

IFAC is the global organisation for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of more than 175 members and associates in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.8 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.