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Global Ethics Board Elevates Importance of Accountants’ Societal Role and Strengthens Mindset Expectations

Oct 5, 2020 | English

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) today released revisions to the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code) to better promote the role and mindset expected of all professional accountants.

The revisions explicitly recognize that the accountancy profession is entrusted with public confidence in the wide-ranging roles it plays in society and that such confidence is based on the skills and values it brings to its professional activities. Importantly, they reaffirm the profession’s responsibility to act in the public interest and the fundamental role of the Code in meeting that responsibility.

Among other matters, the revisions:

  • Reinforce aspects of the principles of integrity, objectivity and professional behavior;
  • Raise behavioral expectations of all professional accountants through requiring them to have an inquiring mind as they undertake their professional activities;
  • Emphasize the importance of accountants being aware of the potential influence of bias in their judgments and decisions; and
  • Highlight the supportive role the right organizational culture can play in promoting ethical conduct and business.

“The ethical principles and behavioral expectations embodied in the Code are the bedrock of the accountancy profession,” said Dr. Stavros Thomadakis, IESBA Chairman. “The profession is a major player in the global financial ecosystem and an indispensable facilitator of economic growth. The enhancements we have made to the Code speak to the importance of protecting and strengthening public trust in it across its varied roles and activities.”

Throughout this project, the IESBA has benefited from coordination with the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and the former International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) on issues common to their standards, and especially in developing the provisions addressing the mindset expected of professional accountants.

The “role and mindset” revisions will become effective on December 31, 2021.

About the IESBA

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) is an independent global standard-setting board. The IESBA serves the public interest by setting ethics standards, including auditor independence requirements, which seek to raise the bar for ethical conduct and practice for all professional accountants through a robust, globally operable International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards).

The IESBA believes a single set of high-quality ethics standards enhances the quality and consistency of services provided by professional accountants, thus contributing to public trust and confidence in the accountancy profession. The IESBA sets its standards in the public interest with advice from the IESBA Consultative Advisory Group (CAG) and under the oversight of the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB).