ICAS code of ethics

The ICAS Code of Ethics (the "Code") applies to all members of ICAS, affiliates, students, employees of a member firm or an affiliate, and member firms where relevant.  These are referred to in the Code as "professional accountants".

Professional accountants have a responsibility to take into consideration the public interest and to maintain the reputation of the accountancy profession. Personal self-interest must not prevail over those duties.

The Code helps professional accountants to meet these obligations by providing them with ethical guidance. Failure to follow this Code may lead to a professional accountant becoming liable to disciplinary action as outlined in Chapter 13 of the ICAS Rules.

Structure of the Code

The ICAS Code of Ethics PDF [1,298 KB] has been updated. The revised Code of Ethics applies from 1 January 2014 and replaces the previous version (applicable from 1 June 2011).

Part D of the Code PDF [311 KB], which applies to insolvency practitioners, has also been revised and applies from that date. The revisions are highlighted below.

The Code establishes the five fundamental principles of professional ethics for all professional accountants:

  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Professional competence and due care
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional behaviour

It provides a conceptual framework that professional accountants shall apply to ensure adherence to these fundamental principles.

This conceptual framework requires professional accountants to use their professional judgement to identify and evaluate threats to compliance with the fundamental principles, and then apply safeguards to eliminate the threats, or reduce them to an acceptable level. 

For convenience, the Code is split into four sections; however, any of them may be useful in relevant circumstances:

  • Part A applies to all members;
  • Part B applies to members in practice;
  • Part C applies to members in business; and
  • Part D applies to insolvency practitioners.

Ethical Standard for Auditors

Auditors undertaking an audit in the UK are required to comply with the requirements of the Financial Reporting Council's 2016 Ethical Standard which became effective on 17 June 2016.

Exercising a right of lien helpsheet

A lien help sheet is available in the regulation section of icas.com. This helpsheet aims to provide guidance to Members in practice on the exercise of a right to lien, highlighting the practical and ethical issues which need to be considered.

2014 revisions to the Code

The following revisions to the Code apply from 1 January 2014:

  1. Section 241 of the Code 'Agencies and Referrals' has been revised to reflect the changes made in respect of independent and restricted advice re referring work to financial advisers. Further information is available on the FCA website.  
  2. At sections 110 and 320 of the Code, a statement has been included to reflect the legislative change which states that accounts of micro-entities will satisfy the true and fair review requirement if they contain the information specified by the 'The Small Company (Micro-Entities' Accounts) Regulations 2013'. Therefore, there is a possibility that accounts could be deemed to be 'true and fair' but also misleading. Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt the following statement has been inserted:

    "In relation to accounts prepared under 'The Small Companies (Micro-Entities' Accounts) Regulations 2013', accounts which satisfy the 'true and fair' view requirement of this Statutory Instrument cannot be held to be misleading."  
  3. References to various regulatory bodies have been updated.  
  4. In Part D of the Code, which relates to Insolvency Practitioners, the only revision is that the Joint Insolvency Committee has removed the second sentence of paragraph 400.3 following a recent decision. This is illustrated below. The text included in bold has been removed from the Code.

    400.3 It is this Code, and the spirit that underlies it, that governs the conduct of Insolvency Practitioners.  Failure to observe this Code may not, of itself, constitute professional misconduct, but will be taken into account in assessing the conduct of an Insolvency Practitioner.


  • ICAS Code of Ethics

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