Ethics & codes that are relevant to the accounting profession should be followed by the professionals who are working in the industry in order to enhance the profession and to maintain the trust of the public and to demonstrate the honesty, importance & transparency of the profession to the society as a whole(Duska et.al.,2011). People who are joining in an organization for working in the accounts related field as CA or CPA should follow these code of conduct to maintain the reputation of the profession. In this assignment a face-to-face interview has been done with a CA(Chartered Accountant ) from “Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia” who is working in the company “Worley Parsons” as “Finance manager” to understand real world application of the ethical codes of an chartered accountant in relation to “Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia”. The key role of that person as the finance manager is to submit timely and accurate statutory and regulatory financial report at the end of each month (Shafer, 2009). The finance manager is also responsible to prepare and deliver the income statements the asset management statements and the reconciliation statements to the company at regular intervals. He is also entrusted to regulate the treasury function and the internal and external audit activities of the company.
In this section the questions asked to the interviewee and the answers given by him are being summarized below:
Q1. Do you have knowledge regarding your professional body’s code of practice?
Ans: Yes, I am well aware regarding ethical code of my profession as published by APESB
Q2. Do you have knowledge of your organisation’s code of practice and related policies and procedures?
Ans: Yes, I do.
Q3.Can you please state some of the major code of practice and related policies and procedures of your organization?
Ans: Yes, the principal requirements of our Code and the related policies require the fulfilment of the followings: (Worleyparsons.com, 2017
- Every employee should strive to achieve the highest ethical conduct and should question unethical behaviour and reporting breaches
- Employees of the organization should complying with the law and avoid conflicts of interest
- Employees have to act honestly and fairly in all their business dealings
- Employees should be open, accurate and professional in all their communications
- Employees are expected to be economical and responsible in using the resources company and customers
- Employees are expected to maintain the confidentiality of any information that where the source information is the customers or the organization itself
- Employees should be reliable and diligent in meeting their responsibilities
- Employees are expected to be respectable to the rights of others and supporting community values
Q4. Can you please define the possible impact of these Code and the related policies of your organization on the working performance of you and your colleagues?
Ans. All of the employees of our organization including me try to work with strong professional ethics that includes honesty, integrity, and objectivity and due professional competence. We try to minimize any kind of work related conflict between us and we are extremely careful in maintaining the confidentiality of the information resources that pertain both to the organization as well as customers. All of us put their maximum effort in fulfilling their responsibilities on time.
Q5.Can you define your personal work ethics in relation to the APESB ethical code?
As a follower of the ethical code of APESB I to work with honesty sincerity, transparency. As a financial manager of the company I try to put bias free professionalism in all my financial reporting and raise question whenever I see any kind of deviation from the professional standards that are being defined by the company.
Q6.Can you please explain what will be the possible impact of the breach of code of practice and related policies and procedures of your organization?
When my organization considers an incident as a breach of the Code, then the organization Worley Parsons acts quickly and fairly and inform to the relevant authorities of a breach of the law. The relevant authority will take the required disciplinary actions against any of our employees or executives who have breached the Code and as an extreme act of action this may lead to termination of employment. In case any partner organization indulges in any kind of breach of contract then our organization [Worley Parsons] will terminate any kind of future engagement with that partner(Worleyparsons.com, 2017.
Q7.How will you report unethical practices at your workplace?
Ans: Our organization has a well defined framework for reporting unethical practices at the work place which can be defined as follows(Worleyparsons.com, 2017
- First the reporting employee has to collect all the facts in relation to a possible breach that should be reported.
- Information should be collected regarding the record, date, time and location details of the breach
- Identification of the relevant contract or project details if any
- Prepare a comprehensive report on the potential breach that should include all the details of the incident
- A note should be made regarding of a witnesses who could support the report if any)
Q8.Can you please define the presence of any kind of threat at your workplace that may deter you to comply with the code of practice and related policies and procedures of your organization?
Ans: The Self-review threat is present at the workplace as we all work under huge work pressures which often deter us to properly review the past performance of the work done by ourselves or our colloquies.
Q9.What measures are taken by your organization to remove such threat?
Ans: Our organization is developing a well structured review policy as per the requirement of each department.
Q10.What is the protection of a whistle blower in your organization who will dare to report a possible unethical practice?
Ans: Strong protection will be given to an employee who is ready to play the role of whistle blower under corporate governance wings of the company. Our organization completely conceal the name of the whistle blower as a protective measure and sometimes reward them depending upon the risk taken and the importance of the reporting matter related to a possible breach.
Review of the professional body (Australia)
Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia:
Here we are going to review the institute of chartered accountant Australia which is the professional accounting body for the representation of the chartered accountants of the Australia. There are around 61,000 members and 12,000 students who are attached to the institution (Parker et al.,2011). It is the one of the three main legally recognised Professional Accountancy bodies in Australia along with CPA Australia and Institute of Public Accountants. To be a member of this organization a person has to be a Chartered Accountant who has completed the Chartered Accountants Program which includes the Graduate Diploma in Chartered Accounting (GradDipCA).Members of this organization is mainly designated as CA after their name(CAANZ, 2017).
However the individuals who have received the fellowship degree can use the designation FCA after their name. The affiliated member of the institute owns an accounting degree and at least 5 years of membership and these members have not completed the program of the chartered accountants. The members who have completed a Doctorate or Masters along with research in an accounting related field (which has to be a major subject) are designated as the “Teacher of Accountancy” and these members are eligible for a senior academic position for a not less than 5 years(Jackling and De Lange, 2009). The individuals who offer their service to the general public as 'Chartered Accountants' must hold the “Certificate of Public Practice “that is issued by this institution.
The APESB [Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board] Australia publishes ethics-related standards or says ethical code of conduct which must be followed by the chartered accountants of Australia. The Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board Limited (APESB) issues 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (apesb.org.au, 2010).
The fundamental principle of the code requires the fulfilment of the following requirements:
A CA should not only satisfy the requirements of his clients but he should also work for the interest of the public
A member of the organization should work with sufficient integrity which requires straight forward and honest application of his professional skills in the business relations
The member has to work with Objectivity so that factors like bias, conflict of interest or undue influence will not be able to overpower his professional judgements
An individual member of the institute should act with Professional competence and due care so that the client or the employer to ensure that a client or employer can get Competent Professional Services that are based on current developments in practice(Martinov-Bennie, and Mladenovic, 2015).
The member of the institute should work with sufficient Confidentiality in order to protect that information that he has been derived by him as part of the business relationship. He should be cautious enough not to disclose the information any third party individual or organization(Davenport and Dellaportas, 2009)
The member should maintain good professional behaviour and in order to do so they should comply with all the relevant rules and regulations and should avoid doing such actions that may fetch discredit to the profession.
On identification of threats that is preventing an individual to comply with the fundamental principles then the individual has to decide whether the threats are within the acceptable level or not and what is the availability of the appropriate safe guards (O’Leary and Stewart, 2013)
The types of threats that may prevent an individual to comply with the fundamental principles are as follows:
- Self-interest threat that is preventing an individual to properly apply his professional judgement due to the financial or other interest of his own
- Self-review threat which prevents a person to comply with the requirement of the fundamental principles due to inappropriate evaluation of the past performances.
- Advocacy threat arises when the objectivity of an individual member is compromised while promoting the client or the employer
- Familiarity threat arise when the member fails the comply with the requirements of the fundamental principles while protecting the interest of the client who is familiar to the professional and having close relation with him.
- Intimidation threat arises when the person fails to comply with the requirements of the fundamental principles due to undue pressure of doing something that is completely unethical (apesb.org.au, 2010).
An individual can look for the following safe guards for protecting himself from the above mentioned threats and to maintain the professional ethics
- Professional legislations and regulations
- Work place regulations and corporate governance
From the above discussion I can realize that ethics and codes of practice are those regulations that must be followed by a professional person to maintain honesty and transparency in his profession. If I stay honest and transparent in my profession then I will be easily able to gain the trust of the people with whom I am working .It is essential to follow the ethical code as well as the policy procedures of the workplace where I am working. Thus if I comply with the policy rules and regulations of the workplace then I will be able to prove myself as a responsible employee who is well capable of discharging his duties & responsibilities on time. Besides the proper following and understanding of the professional ethics and policy procedures of the company will help me to develop the most effective way of communication at the workplace and this will automatically help me to manage an minimize the workplace related conflicts. The proper knowledge of the ethical code of conduct will help me to fulfil the work objectivity at the workplace. Or in other words the proper knowledge of the professional code of conduct will help me to stay alert and to identify presence of any kind of undue influence that can affect my professional judgements. The knowledge of the professional code of conduct will help to me understand the quality and competence that I am ought to deliver through my work to my clients as well as employers. As an accounting professional I am supposed to handle lot of confidential information at the workplace as well as of the personal clients. The study of professional code of conduct has helped me to learn that I should be extremely responsible in maintaining the confidentiality of the data sources I am handling for the professional purpose. Thus as a whole it can be said that proper understanding of the professional ethical code of conduct and workplace policy procedures will help me properly shape my future professional behaviour.
On consideration of the case study of the Chartered accountant who is operating as a finance manager in “Worley Parsons”, I can see that being a chartered accountant and member of “Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia” the person is liable to follow the APESB [Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board] code of conduct and also the policy procedures & regulations of “Worley Parsons”.
There are similarities between the APESB codes of conduct & policy procedures & regulations of “Worley Parsons“ with respect to the factors such as attaining work integrity, work Objectivity, application of Professional competence and care and maintenance of information confidentiality. From the study of the code of conducts of the organization I can see that the different responsibilities that are expected to be fulfilled by the employees of the organization, such as striving to achieve the highest ethical conduct, questioning of the unethical behaviour, complying with law, avoidance of conflict of interest, handling of the business deals with ethical fairness & honesty, holding open accurate and professional communication at the workplace all that leads to the accomplishment of the ethics related standard that are published by APESB, that must be followed by the practicing chartered accountants of Australia. In addition to that the company “Worley Parsons“ also offers a good working environment that offers fair and open competition, where employees are not discriminated and diversity creativity is honoured. From the study of the work environment I can realize that the company is offering such a work environment to develop good work culture within the organization which is supportive to the effort of the employee who is earnestly trying to follow the ethical code of conducts of the company. The company has a strict policy guideline with respect to the maintenance confidentiality of the data resources or inside information of the company. Trading of inside information of the company will be considered as criminal offence by the company. Thus from the above discussion I can understand that both the professional body and the individual working in a profession are devoting to the codes of ethics with same priority to create an environment where employees can work with the required professional ethics and can fight against any kind of corruption or breach of ethical codes. In my belief such an initiative will help to establish good trust among the people regarding the profession as well as the organization in which the professional are working.
But there are some barriers to the fullest application of the code. Unlike the APESB codes of conduct the policy procedures & regulations of “Worley Parsons “ doest have any well defined framework to identify the different threats [Self-interest threat, Self-review threat, Advocacy threat and some others] that may be possibly present within the accounting field of the business. The business should develop a strong infrastructure to identify those threats so that effective measures can be designed to minimize the impact of such threat. In my opinion such an initiative will minimize the barriers and the employees will be easily able to comply with the codes at the fullest extent.
The discussion of the above assignment focuses on the importance of following the professional code of conduct as well as workplace code of conduct in shaping the career of an individual professional(Clements et.al.,2009). In this assignment the profession of CA[chartered accountant] has been chosen where the CA is a member of the “Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia” and is abide by the professional code of conduct published by APESB [Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board. On the other hand the professional is working as a finance manager in a company in Australia, Perth and as an employee of the company he is also expected to follow the specific code of conduct set by the company. The discussion also reveals that both the professional body and the individual working in a profession are devoting to the codes of ethics with same priority to build an honest and corruption free working environment (Lawson et. al.,2013). From this assignment I have learned that following the ethical code of conducts will help me to give a good shape to my carrier as an accounting professional and it will also add trust & reputation to the profession.
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