Video: Experts debate ethics and public interest

Ian Entwistle
By Steven Fullerton, CA Today

19 January 2015

A panel of experts discuss how to conduct business ethically and whether strong values are crucial to sustainable success

Watch our highlight video including analysis on the discussion from key panellists.

Business ethics is at the heart of ICAS’s recently launched Power of One initiative, and it was also the topic of a recent round table discussion hosted by ICAS in association with leading law firm Wright Johnston & McKenzie LLP.

The conversation began around the issue of client interest and the public interest, leading to further discussion on what exactly ‘the public interest’ meant.

James Barbour CA, Director Technical Policy with ICAS, said the ICAS Ethics Committee agreed that it was ‘virtually impossible’ to develop a catch-all definition for the phrase.

He said: “There’s a public interest in everything, it’s just that ‘the public’ is different in different situations.”

Ian Paterson Brown CA, former Convener of the ICAS Ethics Committee, said that ethics in business could be summed up as: “The right, the good and the fitting.”

The panel also considered a range of topics including situations when the law and ethics appear to be at odds; the ethical issues that tax planning can create for accountants; the link between executive incentives and good (or bad) corporate culture; and the importance of ‘moral courage’ when faced with difficult situations at a personal level.

WJM chief executive Liam Entwistle said: “Making an ethical decision requires strength of character. Sometimes the ethics of the situation seem clear, but finding the moral courage is harder.”

To find out more about the panel and to read the full article, read the January issue of the CA Magazine.


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