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'Beancounter report' stresses ICAS ethics

26 Mar 08

ICAS is concentrating on ethics in its response to research on the public perception of the accountancy profession

by Victoria Masterson

ICAS is concentrating on ethics in its response to research on the public perception of the accountancy profession. The public believes accountants show integrity and have a positive effect on organisations where they work. But those employed in business are seen as task-directed rather than strategists.

ICAS President Isobel Sharp said: “By understanding public perceptions of accountants, ICAS can better direct its efforts to strengthen the accounting profession’s public interest role and its reputation for integrity. The findings include many positive messages for the accountancy profession, but there is some pain. By understanding the pain, CAs can gain.”

A report to ICAS, Bean Counters or Business Leaders? sets out the actions that ICAS has taken in response to the research, including:

  • explaining how the research influenced its new strategy Clearly Ahead, with the prominence given to the CA values of integrity, wisdom, innovation and service; and
  • introducing in 2007 an ethics examination for its final year students.

It also sets out a series of initiatives that ICAS has launched, including:

  • publishing case studies on ethical dilemmas to assist in developing appropriate responses;
  • considering an ethics test for members; and
  • working with recently qualified members on how the profession can contribute to corporate social responsibility and to the public interest.

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