The International Accounting Education Standards Board proposed changes in its ethics standards to provide for learning and development activities in professional values and ethics for accountants throughout their careers.

The IAESB, which operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, released for public exposure on Friday a proposed revision of International Education Standard 4, Professional Values, Ethics, and Attitudes. The revised standard, part of the IAESB’s project to improve the clarity of its standards, proposes that the development of professional values, ethics and attitudes be addressed by learning and development activities that occur throughout the career of the professional accountant. IES 4 will be helpful to educational organizations, employers, regulators, government authorities, and other stakeholders who support the learning and development of professional accountants, according to the board.

IES 4, drafted in 2004, prescribes the values, ethics and attitudes that professional accountants should acquire during the education program leading to qualification. In addition to a formal program assessment and a learning outcome approach, the IAESB also proposes a requirement on reflective activity—where professional accountants and students undertake the practice of documenting experiences relating to lessons learned from ethical dilemmas and situations.

“The assessment of the elements of professional accountancy programs—including professional values, ethics, and attitudes as outlined in IES 4—is essential to both the development and the maintenance of competence,” said IAESB chairman Mark Allison in a statement. “It lays the foundation for aspiring professional accountants to exercise professional judgment in the public interest.”

As part of its project to improve the clarity of its standards, the IAESB has undertaken a project to redraft all eight of its IESs in accordance with its new clarity drafting conventions. This project began in December 2010 with the proposed revision of IES 7, Continuing Professional Development: A Program of Lifelong Learning and Continuing Development of Professional Competence. The current timetable envisages that all IESs will have been revised and redrafted, or redrafted only, by the first quarter of 2013.

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