In Compliance Week, Tammy Whitehouse reports on a revised “Statement of Ethical Professional Practice” from the Institute of Management Accountants. Why was a revision necessary? To keep up with technology, maybe? Perhaps to establish some rules for all the robots? Nope! They had to revise it because a fair number of you are a bunch of miscreants.
“I guess we’ve had enough examples of not only accountants but other management professionals who don’t act ethically in certain situations, so they need reminders and guidance,” said Curt Verschoor, chair emeritus of the IMA’s Committee on Ethics. He’s a regular columnist on ethics in business. “There are enough issues that come up every month, it’s not as if I have to hunt to find things to write about.”
For example, if someone, let’s say a regulator, illegally gives you confidential information about how it plans to inspect your work, you should promptly tell the person in charge. Of course, that doesn’t really work if the person in charge doesn’t do anything about it, which is much different and much bigger problem.
And if you think that’s an oversimplified example, know that that’s exactly what the IMA was going for:
Be professional. Perform duties within the law and technical standards. Keep confidential information confidential. Don’t use confidential information for illegal or unethical purposes. Mitigate conflicts of interest. Be fair and objective in communicating information. Report deficiencies. Don’t ignore unethical situations; instead, seek to resolve them.
Act like there’ll be a test.