The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants has released a draft plan setting out a proposed strategy for the next three years on ways for accountants to deal with conflicts of interest, suspected fraud and other issues.

The exposure draft by the IESBA, which operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, sets out the board’s proposed strategy and work plan focusing on new projects and activities, which were selected based on the results of an IESBA-commissioned survey of interested parties.

The work plan for 2010–2012 includes the IESBA’s intention to complete two high-priority projects from its previous work plan: conflicts of interest, and responding to suspected fraud or illegal acts. The IESBA will expand existing guidance for professional accountants, whatever their role, who face conflicts of interest. This will include the types of situations that give rise to conflicts, the mechanisms that can serve as safeguards in a conflict situation, and ways to manage conflicts.

In addition, the IESBA plans to provide guidance for all professional accountants on how to respond when encountering a suspected fraud or illegal act. This will include the threshold for taking action, the types of actions that may be taken, the process for responding, and the timing of any disclosure.

The IESBA also plans to begin a project that addresses the application of the “related entity” definition in the IESBA’s Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants to audits of collective investment vehicles.

In addition to its standard-setting activities, the IESBA plans to continue to assess what additional material or activities would be useful to support those who are adopting and implementing the code of ethics, and to liaise closely with national standard-setters and regulators to foster convergence.

“We listened carefully to our stakeholders as we developed the draft strategic plan,” said IESBA chair Ken Dakdduk in a statement. “Our focus for the next three years, therefore, will be to build on the strong base established by the code, which we revised in July 2009, and to significantly increase our efforts to promote and assist with its implementation and adoption.”

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