April 10 2018
Published: Accounting Today
The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants has released a new code of ethics for accountants that’s been rewritten to make it simpler to navigate, use and enforce.
The International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) clarifies how accountants should cope with independence and ethics issues and incorporates major revisions in the underlying conceptual framework. Highlights include revised “safeguards” that align threats to compliance with fundamental principles. The document also includes stronger independence provisions pertaining to long association of audit employees with clients.
New and revised sections for professional accountants in business relate to preparing and presenting information; and how to deal with pressure to breach fundamental principles. The document offers clear guidance for accountants in public practice on which relevant provisions for business accountants apply to them. New guidance stresses the importance of understanding facts and circumstances when exercising professional judgment. Other new guidance describes how compliance with the fundamental principles supports the exercise of professional skepticism in audits and other assurance engagements.
IESBA operates with the support of the International Federation of Accountants. It produced the new code of ethics after extensive research and global stakeholder consultations around the world.
“This is a groundbreaking moment in the public interest,” IESBA chairman Dr. Stavros Thomadakis said in a statement. “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. 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.”
The new code takes effect in June 2019. Stakeholders can access it on IESBA’s website, where implementation resources and other supporting materials will be released during the period leading up to the effective date.