The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants is proposing a set of revisions to its code of ethics to strengthen the prohibition against offering and accepting inducements such as bribes.

The exposure draft, Proposed Revisions to the Code Pertaining to the Offering and Accepting of Inducements, clarify the appropriate boundaries for offering and accepting of inducements, prohibiting any inducements with intent to improperly influence behavior.

The proposed framework covers all types of inducements and applies to both professional accountants in business and professional accountants in public practice. It also enhances the guidance on offering and accepting inducements by accountants’ immediate family members or close relatives. Among the changes, the proposals would explicitly require accountants to obtain an understanding of relevant laws and regulations that prohibit the offering or accepting of inducements related to bribery and corruption and comply with them.

“Inducements with intent to improperly influence behavior are a very major concern for the public interest, and they include the issues of bribery and corruption. Inducements made with improper intent are unacceptable and should be prohibited,” said IESBA chairman Dr. Stavros Thomadakis in a statement.

The proposed changes, among other items, also would require accountants to address any threats to compliance with the fundamental ethical principles in accordance with the code of ethics’ conceptual framework where there is no improper intent.

IESBA, which operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, received input from Transparency International U.K. in developing the proposals. The IESBA is asking for comments on the exposure draft by Dec. 8, 2017.

IFAC offices
Courtesy of IFAC

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.