Minister Heather Humphreys welcomes new research and recommendations on increasing supports for ethics in the Irish accountancy profession

Jan 31, 2019

Ireland’s largest accountancy body, Chartered Accountants Ireland has welcomed the launch of a new, profession-wide ethics research report examining ethical awareness, challenges and concerns of professional accountants in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The report can be downloaded here: Ethics Research Report 2019

The recently completed research was sponsored by the Chartered Accountants Ireland Education Trust and carried out by independent researchers Dr Eleanor O’Higgins and Mr Matt Kavanagh. 

 The report 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.

The Institute’s Head of Ethics and Governance, Níall Fitzgerald, drew attention to the value of the research insights. “This is not a tick the box exercise; this is about developing real and practical supports on ethics for professional accountants and by extension for the wider business community and society. The new, open access ‘Ethics Resource Centre’ on Chartered Accountants Ireland’s website is a central hub for current and future supports on ethics for our members.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys thanked the researchers for their work on this important project. “The findings of this important piece of research give an honest appraisal of ethics in the accountancy profession. We are all too familiar with the impact of decisions where short-term considerations overcame due care and integrity and we are still dealing with the consequences. Society looks to professionals like accountants to adhere to the highest standards without fear or favour, and we trust the professional bodies concerned will implement all the recommendations.”

Chartered Accountants Ireland President, Feargal McCormack described the findings as “a candid discussion on the ethical landscape in our profession.” He commented:
“Ethics is part of the accountant’s DNA, they are dealing with ethical judgements on a daily basis, so we’re happy that this research places a spotlight on this important issue, for the good of our profession and in the wider public interest.

“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.”

Ends

Reference: Brendan O’Hora, Director of Communications, Chartered Accountants Ireland

M: 086 2432428, brendan.ohora@charteredaccountants.ie

Note to editors:

Today’s research surveyed over 2,100 professional accountants in Ireland, and was conducted by independent researchers Dr Eleanor O’Higgins and Mr Matt Kavanagh.  The aim of the research was to gain insight into ethical awareness, challenges and concerns facing professional accountants in Ireland, the types of ethical dilemmas they observe and how they interact with their professional body’s codes of ethics.

About Chartered Accountants Ireland

Chartered Accountants Ireland is Ireland’s largest and longest established professional body of accountants founded in 1888. The Institute, which is an all-island body, currently represents over 27,000 members around the world, including 5,000 in Northern Ireland.  The Chartered Accountants Ireland Brexit Action Group coordinates extensive lobbying and public information activities to help its members North and South of the border prepare for the departure of the UK from the EU.