Select Page

Ushering in an

Ethics Empowered Future

Bringing the actions of individuals and organisations to the forefront

19 October 2022

Corruption and related economic crimes, such as money laundering, bribery, tax evasion and fraud, are significant obstacles to economic growth and human development. As we commemorate Global Ethics Day, under the theme Ethics Empowered, it is critical that, as a profession, we remain vigilant and continue to create awareness about the importance of ethical conduct.

Why do we need ethics today?

The behaviour of individual employees, from top management to front-line workers, can make or break an organisation’s reputation, which is why ethical behaviour is critical in today’s society. However, ethics is not just about abiding by the law. Individuals and organisations can act legally while still being unethical. Principled conduct is driven by compliance to a set of values that act as the benchmark for situational decisions where rules may not exist to cover every alternative. Thus, ethics are about the integrity of the decision-making process used to resolve issues as they arise.

Shahied Daniels, CE at the South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) says that ethics is not a cure-all for the world’s problems, but it is an actual process for finding solutions more collaboratively and respectfully versus the winner-take-all approach that dominates life today.

“We can use ethics to guide personal decisions, mitigate harmful outcomes, create a more respectful structure for debate, develop helpful public policy, build and deploy technologies responsibly, and address some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” adds Daniels.

How can we participate in Global Ethics Day?

For its 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 will be implementing the IFAC Anti-Corruption Action Plan that will focus on specific challenges within the South African market, and will collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to do the same. The IFAC Anti-Corruption Action Plan is built on five pillars:

  • Harnessing education and professional development
  • Supporting global standards
  • Contributing to evidence-based policymaking
  • Strengthening impact through engagement and partnership
  • Contributing expertise through thought leadership and advocacy.

“Our main message as we commemorate this important date is a call-to-action for all SAIPA members and the profession and the public to take up their responsibility as leaders in South Africa — regardless of their title — and create an ethical culture where all can flourish,” says Daniels.