CA magazine: October 2020
Ethics are a central pillar of the accounting profession. In order for business to be conducted fairly and without interruption, professionals must handle and disseminate financial information with transparency and honesty. As we face a challenging near future, and businesses are forced to make some difficult decisions, the importance of ethical behaviour is only magnified.
Building back with confidence will rely heavily upon the supply of trustworthy information and advice – an opportunity for CAs to demonstrate their professionalism.
At ICAS, we seek to encourage ethical behaviour and provide support when professionals encounter situations where their next steps may initially appear uncertain. It’s why we recently launched our “Speak up? Listen up? Whistleblow?” campaign. Based on existing academic research and interviews with ICAS members, the campaign summarises the common ethical dilemmas that CAs may face and what actions might need to be taken.
The campaign is also supported by a powerful webinar of the same name, hosted by James Barbour CA, ICAS Director of Policy Leadership, and featuring insights from panellists Paul Boyle, Chair of whistleblowing charity Protect, and Catriona Paisey, Professor of Accounting at the University of Glasgow. It is freely available on the ICAS website and proves thought-provoking viewing.
Promoting ethical good practice is also essential to presenting the profession as an attractive career path for future generations. Research suggests recent school leavers and graduates are some of the most purpose-driven consumers and employees in society – they want their work to align with their personal beliefs. ICAS thrives thanks to its talented and trustworthy members, and outwardly communicating your commitment to ethical behaviour will ensure that this tradition continues for years to come. Now is a critical time to demonstrate how the CA qualification embodies the high standards of professionalism, integrity and ethical decision making we set ourselves as a community.
This issue of CA magazine examines how ethical behaviour can manifest in the workplace in many different ways. On page 10, Anthony Smith-Meyer outlines why ethics are not just a nice-to-have but essential for surviving this recession. We speak to the professionals advancing diversity, sustainability and philanthropy in their chosen fields, as well as learning more about the three mentoring schemes that ICAS members can get involved with (page 40). We hope you enjoy the issue.