‘Biggest ever’ ethics survey is CIPFA first

7 Jun 18

CIPFA has today launched what it believes is the biggest ever survey exploring the pressure accountants feel to compromise their ethical codes.

Evidence that it is becoming more difficult for accountants to act in the public interest has prompted CIPFA to undertake this pioneering ethical research.

“We need to understand better the scale and the background to the pressures that our members are facing,” Don Peebles, CIPFA’s head of devolved nations, has written in a blog for PF.

“That is why CIPFA’s Ethics Working Group is launching what we believe to be the largest ever ethical survey by an accountancy body.”

The Ethics Survey will help CIPFA assess what support should be provided to public finance accountants in today’s environment.

Evidence from CIPFA’s ethics helpline shows that acting in the public interest – something all accountants have to do – is becoming harder and public finance accountants are facing more ethical dilemmas.

Austerity has generated ethical dilemmas as accountants come under pressure from colleagues to reflect financial positions that are more positive than results suggest, CIPFA has told PF

The incorporation of targets into public life has also increased the pressure to provide positive messages of progress or success.  

“Acting in the public interest is something that all accountants have to do.

“Yet it’s one of the least known yet highly regarded characteristics of the accountancy profession that an accountant does not just work for his or her client or employing organisation but also has to act in the public interest.

“It’s a form of dual responsibility which has always been an appropriate professional fit for CIPFA accountants in our management of the public finances.”

The results of the survey will be revealed at the CIPFA conference in Bournemouth at the Ethics Live! breakfast workshop on 12 July.

All accountants are welcome to complete the survey and the results will be used to inform the development of CIPFA’s response.

This could range from reassessing the content of professional qualifications to reviewing the provision of more active support for members.

Peebles said: “The fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour form the governing framework for an accountant’s ethical responsibilities.”

Please see Peebles blog here and the ethics survey here

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