The Accountants’ Code of Ethics is Under Revision

by Andrew Chambers 08/20/2019

Recently, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) proposed changes to the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. These proposals came in response to requests from stakeholders asking the Board to examine how the code of ethics can contribute to strengthening professional skepticism.

They are hopeful that these proposed changes to the Code of Ethics will improve the mindset of accountants. Additionally, they are hoping that the changes to the Code’s conceptual framework will be easier to understand.

What are the current Codes of Ethics?

The current Code of Ethics is summarized by five fundamental principles.

  1. Integrity.
  2. Objectivity.
  3. Professional Competence and Due Care.
  4. Confidentiality.
  5. Professional Behavior.

Each one of the above five has its own set of standards to follow.

The Proposed Changes Will:

  • Highlight the professional accountant’s roles in society.
  • Accentuate the relationship between complying with the codes and the responsibilities to act in the public interest
  • Include improvements to the quality of the principles of integrity, objectivity, and professional behavior.
  • Strengthen the Code by requiring professional accountants to have an inquisitive mind when applying for work.
  • Highlight how important it is to be aware of biases. 

You can view these proposed amendments in more detail by viewing them here. The board is accepting comments until October 31, 2019.

The proposed changes were developed with the help of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and the International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB).

More About These Changes

The changes proposed are quite extensive, including restructuring the entire framework.

Presumably, if these changes are made, the Code will be:

  • Clearer and more precise.
  • Easier to use.
  • More applicable.
  • Easier to enforce proper use.

With the substantial changes to the Code of Ethics being in consideration, The Ethics Board will be hosting a webinar in September to present an overview of the requested changes. You can follow @Ethics_Board on Twitter for updates and on how you can register for this event.

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