This section will focus on personal and professional ethics and the responsibilities of CIMA students and members, including an introduction to public interest in relation to their role as professionals. This section will finish with a short ethics awareness test and provide links to relevant resources.
Why ethics are important to accountants
As Chartered Management Accountants CIMA students and CGMA designation holders throughout the world have a duty to observe the highest standards of conduct and integrity and to uphold the good standing and reputation of the profession. They need to uphold the Code of Ethics and apply it in their working lives. This Code outlines the behaviours and conduct that is expected of students and members in doing the right thing.
The CIMA Code of Ethics is based on the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. Part C of the Code was developed in cooperation with the AICPA. It is a global Code that is followed by accountants in business and in practice worldwide.
A distinguishing mark of the accountancy profession is its acceptance of the responsibility to act in the public interest. In acting in the public interest the professional accountant shall observe and comply with the Code.
CIMA Code of Ethics
Ethics is more than just knowing the rules about confidentiality, integrity, and objectivity. It’s about identifying ethical dilemmas, understanding the implications and behaving appropriately. It includes the role of corporate governance, corporate social responsibility and audit; and their increasing impact in the management of organisations.
CIMA Official Study Text, Paper BA4, Kaplan Publishing
Ethics of a profession can be simply the description of the prevailing standards of ethical behaviour - of doing the right thing. Ethics is often used interchangeably with the term morals. But there is a difference. Whilst both are concerned with what is the right thing to do in a situation, morals may resolve problems with reference to an individual's personal belief system about what might be right or wrong.
Unethical behaviour has consequences and may affect the accountant, personal and organisational reputation, financial viability and the overall business efficacy of an organisation. A management accountant needs to consider ethical implications in order to provide the basis for decision making.
What are the responsibilities of management accountants in upholding ethical standards? See this webcast, which underlines the professional responsibilities of management accountants, and highlights the impact of civil society, social media and business.