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Ethics, Legality and the Role of the Management Accountant

Ethics is on the agenda at the 2014 World Congress of Accountants this November, a good reminder of the global nature of this subject. Every day, accountants in both business and public practice face challenges that require ethical decision-making. At the same time, they must adapt to a changing regulatory landscape, cooperate with government agencies, and respond to legislation on fraud and corruption.

A solid foundation in ethics helps them prepare for the next critical decision. For AICPA and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants members, that foundation has several layers. Each organization’s members must abide by their respective codes of ethics, and, in many cases, licensed CPAs must also follow the ethical standards required by state boards of accountancy. Additionally, all professional accountants working in public practice or in business are required to follow the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ Code of Ethics.

To help CGMA designation holders navigate ethical issues and respond in a manner that upholds their professional standards, a collection of ethics resources can be found on CGMA.org, including this CGMA video exploring ethical conduct.

Ethics at WCOA 2014

At WCOA 2014, an entire track is devoted to “Ethics, legality and corporate responsibility.” Two sessions in this track are:

  • Fighting corruption and fraud: The role for professional accountants; Nov. 11 at 11:15 a.m. CET. Chair Japheth Katto, founding CEO, Capital Markets Authority, Uganda, will lead panelists in a discussion on how to strike the right balance between confidentiality and legal liabilities. Panelists include:
    • Yugui Chen, Secretary General and Deputy President, Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
    • Caroline Gardner, Auditor General, Scotland
    • Jim Osayande Obazee, Executive Secretary, Financial Reporting Council, Nigeria
    • Pakdee Pothisiri, Commissioner, National Anti-Corruption Commission, Thailand
  • Code of ethics: Shaping behavior; Nov. 12 at 11:15 a.m. CET. Chair Bob Franchini, CPA, EY, Italy, will lead a panel in discussing the challenges of adopting the Code—particularly for small and medium practices and accountants in business—and highlighting impending changes and their implications. Panelists include:
    • Anna Karmanska, Chair, Ethics Commission of SKwP, Poland
    • Atsushi Kato, Member, International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants
    • Nic Van der Ende, Member, Public Interest Oversight Board
    • Don Thomson, National Director, Ethics and Independence, Regional Quality Partner, Grant Thornton, Canada

Review the WCOA brochure for more information on the “Ethics, legality and corporate responsibility” track and these four other session tracks:

  • Financial reporting and integrated thinking
  • Assurance of business information
  • Education and capacity building
  • Business advisory

If you still haven’t registered, you have some time to take advantage of discounted rates. The WCOA early bird discount of up to 20 percent has been extended until Sept. 12. 

Arleen Thomas, CPA, CGMA, Senior Vice President, Management Accounting & Global Markets, American Institute of CPAs.

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