ICAS Code of Ethics
2021 ICAS Code of Ethics applicable from 1 January 2021
View the 2021 ICAS Code of Ethics (excluding Part 5 - Insolvency Practitioners)
View Part 5 ICAS Code of Ethics - Insolvency Practitioners
The 2021 ICAS Code of Ethics (applicable from 1 January 2021) incorporates the following changes from the 2020 ICAS Code of Ethics (applicable from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020):
Equality, diversity and inclusion
- Effective 1 January 2021, the Code emphasises the responsibilities of CAs in relation to values of equality, diversity and inclusion.
- To be clear, the amendments to the Code do not represent a change in the substance of the Code but do highlight the importance of values of equality, diversity and inclusion.
- The following changes have been incorporated:
- An addition to the application material in Subsection 111 in relation to the fundamental principle of Integrity;
- An addition to the requirement in Subsection 115 in relation to the fundamental principle of Professional Behaviour; and
- An addition to the application material in Section 200 in relation to organisational culture and Professional Accountants in Business.
Guidance to the ICAS Code of Ethics in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is available here.
Alignment of Part 4B to ISAE 3000 (Revised)
The ICAS Code of Ethics is substantively based on the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) Code of Ethics. The 2021 Code incorporates IESBA revisions following a review of Part 4B “Independence for assurance engagements other than audit and review engagements” to make the provisions consistent with the revised assurance terms and concepts in the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s (IAASB’s) International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000 (Revised), “Assurance Engagements Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information”.
Part 4B of the 2021 Code relating to independence for assurance engagements with respect to underlying subject matter covering periods is effective for periods beginning on or after 15 June 2021; otherwise, Part 4B of the 2021 Code is effective as of 15 June 2021. Early adoption of Part 4B of the 2021 Code is permitted. Part 4B of the previous version of the Code (applicable from 1 January 2020) continues to be effective prior to 15 June 2021.
2020 ICAS Code of Ethics applicable from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020
The ICAS Code of Ethics – An overview
The ICAS Code of Ethics (the “Code”) is substantively based on the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) 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 requirements and application material. Failure to follow the Code may lead to a professional accountant becoming liable to disciplinary action as outlined in Chapter 13 of the ICAS Rules.
The Code establishes the five fundamental principles of professional ethics for all professional accountants:
3. Professional competence and due care
5. Professional behaviour
It provides a conceptual framework that professional accountants shall apply to ensure adherence to these fundamental principles.
The conceptual framework requires professional accountants to identify threats to compliance with the fundamental principles; evaluate the threats identified; and address the threats by eliminating or reducing them to an acceptable level. It requires professional accountants to exercise professional judgement; to remain alert for new information or changes to the facts or circumstances and re-evaluate if necessary; and to apply the “reasonable and informed third party test”.
ICAS adopted a new Revised and Restructured Code of Ethics with effect from 1 January 2020 which replaced the previous version (applicable from 1 November 2017 to 31 December 2019). IESBA had undertaken a project to completely redesign its Code of Ethics. IESBA’s intention behind this restructuring of the Code was not to fundamentally change the substance of the Code, but to improve its clarity thereby making it more user friendly.
The main changes in the 2020 Revised and Restructured ICAS Code of Ethics were in the following areas:
- The structure of the Code
- An enhanced conceptual framework
- Safeguards – a revised definition
- Inducements (including gifts and hospitality) – inclusion of a new intent test
- New and revised sections for Professional Accountants in Business (PAIBs) on pressure to breach the fundamental principles and preparation and presentation of information
- Documentation - including written confirmation of fee arrangements
- Objectivity – loans and guarantees with clients
With effect from 1 January 2021, amendments were incorporated into the ICAS Code of Ethics to emphasise the responsibilities of CAs in relation to values of equality, diversity and inclusion, and to align Part 4B to ISAE 3000 (Revised).
The ICAS Code of Ethics - structure
The ICAS Code of Ethics is divided into the following parts. It is of note however that whilst the Code is grouped into these parts, professional accountants may find any of them of use in relevant circumstances.
Guide to the Code
The Guide to the Code is a valuable (non-authoritative) aid to assist all users to navigate the Code. It provides helpful guidance on how the Code is structured and how to use the Code.
Part 1 - Complying with the Code, Fundamental Principles and Conceptual Framework (Sections 100 to 199)
Part 1 is applicable to all professional accountants. It includes discussion on the fundamental principles and the conceptual framework.
Part 2 - Professional Accountants in Business (Sections 200 to 299)
Part 2 sets out the additional material that applies to professional accountants in business.
Professional accountants in business include professional accountants employed, engaged or contracted in an executive or non-executive capacity in, for example:
- Commerce, industry or service
- The public sector
- The not-for-profit sector
- Regulatory or professional bodies
Part 2 is also applicable to individuals who are professional accountants in public practice when performing professional activities pursuant to their relationship with the firm, whether as a contractor, employee or owner.
Part 3 – Professional Accountants in Public Practice (Sections 300 to 399)
Part 3 provides additional material that applies to professional accountants in public practice when providing professional services .
It also applies to professional accountants in business in relevant circumstances.
Part 4 - International Independence Standards
Part 4 sets out additional material that applies to professional accountants in public practice when providing assurance services as follows:
- Part 4A – Independence for Audit and Review Engagements (Sections 400 to 899).
- Part 4B – Independence for Assurance Engagements Other than Audit and Review Engagements (Sections 900 to 999).
FRC Ethical Standard: Auditors undertaking an audit in the UK are required to comply with the requirements of the Financial Reporting Council's Ethical Standard. There is therefore no requirement on auditors undertaking an audit in the UK to also comply with Part 4A.
As well as applying to audits undertaken in accordance with ISAs (UK), the FRC’s Ethical Standard also applies to all other public interest assurance engagements that are undertaken in compliance with engagement standards issued by the FRC.
Part 5 – Insolvency Practitioners.
The specific provisions for Insolvency Practitioners when performing insolvency or similar engagements are in Part 5 of the ICAS Code of Ethics. Part 5 became effective from 1 May 2020. For Insolvency Practitioners, Part D of the Code (applicable from 1 January 2014) continued to be applicable until 30 April 2020. The 2020 Revised and Restructured ICAS Code of Ethics was otherwise applicable to Insolvency Practitioners with effect from 1 January 2020.
The Glossary is applicable to all professional accountants.
Relevant ICAS help-sheets providing additional explanatory material to the Code are referenced at the end of the related sections of the Code.
ICAS case studies
ICAS case studies provide additional guidance on how to use the Code.