ACCA warns IFAC on ethics code

ACCA today urged the International Federation of Accountants to update the whole code following revisions to its policy on auditor independence.

The warning comes just weeks before the ethics board at IFAC, a body that represents 153 professional accountancy bodies in 113 countries, will meet to discuss any changes.

ACCA’s main concerns focus on proposed changes to Section 8 which would quadruple the length of the code and the inclusion of conflicting statements with other parts of the policy.

Jonathan Beckerlegge, chairman of ACCA’s auditing committee, said: ‘The scale of the revision is huge and it is important to ensure that the remainder of the code catches up with it as quickly as possible. We will be urging IFAC’s ethics committee to review the whole code to achieve consistency.’

Beckerlegge also highlighted the clashes that may arise between IFAC’s new ethics code and that of FEE, the European accountancy body, and the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies.

‘It is important that there is consistency, in order to avoid confusion or conflicting interpretations in the profession,’ he said.

Following a clampdown last year on auditor independence by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US main watchdog, IFAC moved to modernise its rules. It issued an exposure draft in April to consult on its proposals to move to a conceptual framework.

‘We fully support IFAC’s redrafting this section of its Code of Ethics. Its conceptual approach to independence is far superior to hard and fast rules because it copes with the variations which will arise in practice,’ Beckerlegge added.

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