IMA revamps ethics guidance for accountants

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The Institute of Management Accountants has updated its Statement of Ethical Professional Practice to guide the conduct expected of IMA members.

The new SEPP guidance stems from research by the IMA’s Committee on Ethics, which studied the ethics codes of a number of other professional organizations, along with the global ethics standard released by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants. It also takes into account the whistleblower provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

The guidance is the first update to SEPP since 2005 and took effect July 1, 2017.

“Quite a bit has changed in our profession since 2005 and these updates ensure our ethics guidance to members and the profession stays current with on-the-job practice,” said IMA Committee on Ethics chair-emeritus Curt Verschoor in a statement. “The new ethics statement encourages professional judgment and challenges members to demonstrate ethical behavior in every aspect of their lives.”

The document outlines specific requirements for members to follow in four broad categories: competence, confidentiality, integrity and credibility. The principles-based statement offers guidance on resolving ethical issues and encourages accountants to actively seek resolution through their employer’s policies and procedures to make the best ethical decisions.

The IMA announced the updated guidance Thursday, the same day Walter Shaub, director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, announced his resignation after raising objections in recent months to conflicts of interest and delays in disclosing ethics waivers in the Trump administration. The last sentence of the IMA’s guidance states, “If resolution efforts are not successful, the member may wish to consider disassociating from the organization.”

“Being principles-based, the Statement aspires to be broadly applicable, easy to understand, and helpful for management accountants in their efforts to serve as leaders of integrity and ethics,” said IMA Committee on Ethics’ current chair Edward Manley in a statement.

For more IMA ethics resources for accountants and finance professionals, click here.

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