Guide to Ethics
Treppides Advisers Ltd uses as a guide to ethics:
- The IFAC’s Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants which has been revised in July 2009.
- The ICPAC guidelines which refer to the IFAC’s Code of Ethics
- The ACCA Rulebook Code of Ethics and Conduct
- The ICAEW Code of Ethics
Ethics in Professional Accountancy
Professional Accountants are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of professional conduct and to take into consideration the public interest. Ethical behaviour by Professional Accountants plays a vital role in ensuring public trust in financial reporting and business practices and upholding the reputation of the accountancy profession.
Professional accountants must not only be qualified, but should also act ethically under any circumstances. Because of these high expectations set out by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Professional Accountants have adopted codes of ethics; also known as codes of professional conduct. These ethical codes go beyond the requirements of law and regulations. Each of the major professional association of accountants has issued a code of ethics.
International Federation of Accountants-IFAC
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is the federation of all international professional accountancy bodies (i.e. ACCA, ICAEW, etc). The mission of IFAC, as set out in its constitution, is “the worldwide development and enhancement of an accountancy profession with harmonized standards, able to provide services of consistently high quality in the public interest” [Ref: Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants-IFAC- Revised July 2009].
Ethics in Treppides Advisers Ltd
Ethics are invaluable in Treppides Advisers Ltd and to those who rely on the services offered. This includes all stakeholders which are clients, banks, government authorities, taxation authorities, employees, investors, the business and financial community in general.
These stakeholders should perceive the Company as highly competent, reliable, objective and independent, in order to have confidence in the quality of the services offered.
Fundamental Principles of Ethical Behaviour
Treppides Advisers Ltd acts in accordance with Section 100 of IFACs Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants and ensures that it takes into consideration all of the 5 fundamental principles set out below:
- Integrity: Honest and straightforward approach is wed in all of the Company’s professional and business relationships.
- Objectivity: The necessary actions are taken in order not to allow bias, conflict of interest or undue influence of others that could override the Company’s professional or business judgments.
- Professional Competence & Due Care: There is a continuing duty to maintain professional knowledge and skills at the level required to ensure that a client or employer receives competent professional service. Treppides Advisers Ltd acts diligently and in accordance with applicable technical and professional standards.
- Confidentiality: The confidentiality of information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships is respected in all aspects no such information is disclosed to third parties without proper and specific authority unless there is a legal or professional right or duty to disclose. This information shall never be used for personal advantage by Treppides Advisers Ltd.
- Professional Behaviour: The relevant laws and regulations are adhered to by Treppides Advisers Ltd and any actions that discredit “the profession” are strictly avoided.
The conceptual framework
The application of the Fundamental Principles as stated in the ACCA rulebook is considered within a conceptual framework, which acknowledges that these principles may be threatened by a broad range of circumstances. This approach categorizes the threats, and thereby assists members to identify, evaluate and respond to them.
If threats are identified which are other than clearly insignificant, members must implement safeguards to eliminate the threats or reduce them to an acceptable level so that compliance with the Fundamental Principles is not compromised.
According to the Rulebook of Ethics, it is impossible to define every situation that creates threats to compliance with the Fundamental Principles and specify the appropriate mitigating action that should be taken.
A conceptual framework requires members to identify evaluate and address threats, but it is not sufficient for members to merely comply with the examples of circumstances set out in the Code of Ethics and Conduct. Instead, members must ensure that, in the particular circumstances under consideration, the Fundamental Principles have been observed.
Categories of Threats
The various categories of threat discussed within the Code of Ethics and Conduct (under which there is a risk of breaching one or more of the Fundamental Principles) are:
- self-interest threat - the threat that a financial or other interest will inappropriately influence the professional accountant’s judgment or behaviour
- self-review threat - the threat that a professional accountant will not appropriately evaluate the results of a previous judgment made or service performed by the professional accountant, or by another individual within the professional accountant’s firm or employing organisation, on which the accountant will rely when forming a judgment as part of providing a current service
- advocacy threat - the threat that a professional accountant will promote a client’s or employer’s position to the point that the professional accountant’s objectivity is compromised
- familiarity threat - the threat that due to a long or close relationship with a client or employer, a professional accountant will be too sympathetic to their interests, and
- intimidation threat - the threat that a professional accountant will be deterred from acting objectively because of actual or perceived pressures, including attempts to exercise undue influence over the professional accountant
Treppides Advisers Ltd uses the safeguards recommended and created by the profession, legislation or regulation accordingly, in order to minimize the threats. These may include:
- Educational, training and experience requirements for entry into the profession
- Continuing professional development requirements (CPD)
- Corporate governance regulations
- Professional or regulatory monitoring and disciplinary procedures
- External review by a legally empowered third party of the reports, returns, communications or information provided by the Company .
Other areas of the Code of Ethics and Conduct
Specific areas of a practice covered within the Code of Ethics and Conduct (section 3 of the ACCA Rulebook) include:
- money laundering
- whistle blowing responsibilities
- advertising and publicity
- the description of members and firms
- changes in professional appointments
- legal ownership
- access to books and other documents
- fees charged
- professional liability of accountants and auditors, and
- Clients’ monies.