IESBA Consults on Restructuring Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants; Focuses on Improved Usability

Nov 04, 2014 | New York, New York | English

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants® (IESBA®, the Ethics Board) today released for public comment the Consultation Paper, Improving the Structure of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants(the Code). The paper seeks input from stakeholders on approaches that could be taken to improve the clarity and usability of the Code, thereby facilitating its adoption, effective implementation, and consistent application.

Among the various matters on which the Ethics Board is consulting are:

  • Restructuring the Code to more clearly distinguish requirements from guidance;
  • Reorganizing the content of the Code, including rebranding the Code, or parts thereof, as international standards;
  • Identifying responsibility for compliance with the Code in particular circumstances; and
  • Simplifying the wording of the Code so that it can be more readily understood.

“This is a seminal initiative which could result in a completely new presentation of the Code that would make it more accessible, understandable, and enforceable,” noted Interim IESBA Chair Wui San Kwok, adding, “These aims are central to enhancing the usability of the Code and thereby its further adoption globally in the public interest.”

The paper includes illustrative examples of how a restructured Code might be presented. The input received from the consultation will supplement the Ethics Board’s research to date and inform its views of the way forward. This may in due course lead to the publication of an Exposure Draft containing the Ethics Board’s proposals for restructuring the Code and addressing any of the related issues set out in the paper.

“The board has received strong support from stakeholders to take a fresh look at the structure of the Code as a priority,” said IESBA Technical Director Ken Siong. “The current thinking is that an improved structure would provide a platform for future development and maintenance of the Code, and allow for more user-friendly features, including increased search and query capabilities.”

In connection with this project, a web-based version of the Code—to enhance accessibility and navigability—is currently in development and will be launched later this month.

How to Comment
The Ethics Board invites all stakeholders to comment on the Consultation Paper. To access the document and submit a comment, please visit the Ethics Board’s website at Comments are requested by February 4, 2015.

About the IESBA
The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants is an independent standard-setting board that develops and issues, in the public interest, high-quality ethical standards and other pronouncements for professional accountants worldwide. Through its activities, the IESBA develops the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, which establishes ethical requirements for professional accountants. The structures and processes that support the operations of the IESBA are facilitated by IFAC. Please visit for more information, and follow us on Twitter @Ethics_Board.

About IFAC®
IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 179 members and associates in 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.


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