Guidance & information on ethics related issues

Ethics Research Report 2019

Chartered Accountants Ireland were pleased to participate, along with CPA Ireland, in an extensive ethics research project completed by independent researchers, Matt Kavanagh and Dr Eleanor O’Higgins, in January 2019. The research examined ethical awareness, challenges and concerns of professional accountants in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The report contains a candid discussion on the ethical landscape in our profession. It shows that there is strong recognition of the need for ethical conduct in the profession and in business, and indicates a growing awareness of ethical issues in the accounting profession. In terms of ethical decision making, respondents stressed that there should be an awareness of the accountant’s obligation to society. There was general agreement that ethics should be an intrinsic part of organisational culture in both business and practice.

We welcome this report and the recommendations, which will assist us in better understanding, supporting and facilitating our members in meeting expected professional standards and responding appropriately to ethical dilemmas they may encounter throughout their careers. We take the findings seriously and we look forward to engaging with the recommendations and reporting back to members on progress. The full report is available to download from the link below. As always, we welcome views and discussion on any aspect as we work to support members and the accountancy profession achieve the highest ethical standards and, in accordance with the foundation of our profession, to act in the public interest.

Concise Guide of Ethics & Governance for the charity and not-for-profit sector

Chartered Accountants Ireland aims to provide meaningful value to our members involved, or thinking about getting involved, in the charities and not-for-profit sector (‘the sector’) in a non-executive/trustee capacity. Of course, you do not need to be a Chartered Accountant to benefit from the contents and therefore we encourage our members to share this guide with their own network.  The guide assumes a certain pre-existing understanding of technical knowledge as well as ethics and governance standards. Production of the guide was largely informed by research conducted within the sector resulting in some useful practical advice and useful insights. Whilst not a comprehensive deep dive, we hope it provides you with a good steer.

Ethics Quick Reference Guide

In order to help you prepare for the day you encounter a difficult ethical dilemma Chartered Accountants Ireland presents the Ethics Quick Reference Guide titled Five Fundamental Principles, Five Practical Steps. The concept of the Quick Reference Guide is simple. It contains a summary of the Five Fundamental Principles contained in the current Chartered Accountants Ireland Code of Ethics and includes a unique five step ethical thought process to guide you in your decision making.

The Five Practical Steps outlined in the guide are designed to get you thinking about how you might behave in response to an ethical dilemma. Well-constructed codes are always useful and should be referenced at some stage in your ethical thought process. However, rather than basing the five steps on any particular code of ethics, they are based upon practical considerations of how one can respond to an ethical dilemma.

Dealing with a front-line ethical dilemma is not always simple. The first challenge can often be for you to recognise that you are experiencing an ethical dilemma. We won’t right all the wrongs with one simple guide but if we succeed in getting our professionals and business leaders thinking, we have a chance of righting some or at least avoiding others. Please take a peek at the video before downloading the guide. We hope you enjoy the guide and find it useful.

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Resolving ethical problems

Chartered Accountants make ethical decisions in every aspect of the daily performance of their professional role. Each Chartered Accountant will react differently when faced with an ethical dilemma. As each situation is different it would be impossible to develop guidance to cover all eventualities however a general framework can be applied. The following information and case studies have been developed to provide guidance to members making such decisions.

Case studies

A number of case studies have been developed using personal experiences of members. They provide guidance on how to resolve common ethical problems. The case studies have been grouped for ease of reference but some business case studies will be of interest to members and students working in practice or the public sector.

The case studies are illustrative only and should be read with the relevant section of the Code of Ethics. The business and public practice case studies contained in the link below are protected by Copyright © ICAEW 2011.