Fundamental ethical principles
The five fundamental principles of ethics for professional accountants set out in Section A of our Code are:
- Integrity – to be straightforward and honest in all professional and business relationships.
- Objectivity – not to compromise professional or business judgments because of bias, conflict of interest or undue influence of others.
- Professional Competence and Due Care – to:
(i) Attain and maintain professional knowledge and skill at the level required to ensure that a client or employing organization receives competent professional service, based on current technical and professional standards and relevant legislation; and
(ii) Act diligently and in accordance with applicable technical and professional standards.
- Confidentiality – to respect the confidentiality of information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships.
- Professional Behavior – to comply with relevant laws and regulations and avoid any conduct that the professional accountant knows or should know might discredit the profession.
The fundamental ethical principles establish the standard of behaviour expected of a professional accountant. If you’re ‘up against the wall’, you might feel pressured into breaking one of these fundamental principles. That’s why it’s so important that you recognise any threats to our fundamental principles early on. Using the conceptual framework in Section A (Part 1) of the Code will help you to identify the situations that need to be managed. Find out more about the Conceptual Framework and ethical dilemmas.