Case Study Pages:
Creating accountability in business
Ethics are the cornerstone of a Chartered Accountant’s profession. Clear, visible and honest reporting allows company stakeholders to make informed decisions about the business and ensures businesses are meeting relevant legal and regulatory standards. Public confidence in business was severely dented by the effects of the global financial crisis (GFC), leading to increased scrutiny of companies’ governance and decisions. As a result, professional accounting is more than ever seen as important to business, with accountants operating as trusted advisors who champion financial integrity and sound financial management.
The Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board (APESB) is an independent national body that sets the code of ethics and professional standards for Australia’s three professional accounting bodies (including the Institute). The Code of Ethics is based on fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence, due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour. It provides guidance to accountants in the event of an ethical dilemma, and encourages ethical behaviour as a priority of the profession. Under the provisions of the Code, Chartered Accountants are obliged to always act in the public interest.
The professional standards also require members to adhere to technical standards on financial reporting and auditing set by the Australian Accounting Standards Board and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board. The Institute consults with all three national standard setting bodies on developing and reviewing standards, to ensure they meet with best practice globally and keep up with regulatory and legal developments.
The Institute has a dedicated disciplinary pision, Professional Conduct, which is responsible for upholding the ethical, professional and technical standards of the Chartered Accounting profession. The Institute can take disciplinary action against members who contravene the Code of Ethics or professional or technical standards. Institute members take a module on ethics and their application in business, as the final part of their professional Chartered Accountants qualification. This module is essential in helping candidates develop their ability to deliver sound professional judgment in business.