Ethics more than just a passing trend, says SAIPA CE

Global Ethics Day
20 October 2021

“Ethics is here to stay!” says Shahied Daniels, Chief Executive of the South African Institute of Professional Accountants. “Any perception that the focus on ethics is just a passing trend is a misnomer.” This statement, along with Daniels’ other views on ethics in the accountancy professions, is included in a video the Institute released in observance of Global Ethics Day 2021.

“Ethics is the answer to the ills of corruption, greed and self-interest,” says Daniels.

Daniels says that ethics is the only way that trust can be restored in the accountancy profession after various massive corporate scandals. “The five fundamental principles of ethics in the accountancy profession are integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour.”

Furthermore, independence also plays a central role in ethics, as some of the recent above-mentioned scandals were due to a lack thereof.

For its own code of conduct, SAIPA has adopted the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) Code of Ethics published by the international Federation of Accountants (IFAC). In addition, SAIPA has also introduced an Ethics Pledge that all members need to sign on annual basis, as well as compulsory Ethics Continued Professional Development (CPD) points that all members need to obtain in order to be considered in good standing with SAIPA.

“The blame for unethical conduct by its members often falls on the shoulders of professional bodies,” says Daniels. “Setting the expected standard for conduct and reminding members about the importance of ethical behaviour is however just one part of the continuum of professional ethics.”

“The temptations in business are sometimes so big that even the most honest people are faced with ethical dilemmas. It is therefore imperative that each individual professional accept personal responsibility by taking the ethical pledge and upholding the code of conduct they have agreed to with their professional body.”