ICAS chief urges accountants take ‘personal responsibility’ on ethics

ACCOUNTANTS must take personal responsibility to stand up against unethical corporate failure, ICAS chief executive Anton Colella has urged.

Launching the new initiative, dubbed The Power of One, at the ICAS’ annual conference, Colella said the move went beyond the code and compliance followed by the UK accounting istitutes.

“This is about rediscovering the soul of the profession,” Colella told Accountancy Age. “Our soul and origin comes from our motto quaere verum, ‘seek the truth’.” Ethical leadership will be promoted by ICAS as the defining characteristic of the profession.

Colella said that ICAS’ 21,000 members were trained “well”, but as their career develops they “come across ethical decisions, crises”.

“They may need help and support to deal with them. It’s naïve to think that what we do with a twenty-something accountant gives them the all the relevance for their professional life.”

ICAS wants its senior members to step forward and mentor more junior accountants. “Mentorship is fundamental to ethical leadership,” Colella said.

A level of resource “at a level never seen” will be provided to supplement ICAS ethical resources, centred around a range of ethical case studies. Further articles and research will also be published.

ICAS will also create an ethical-focused board to be led by a “senior figurehead”, with details on the appointments expected imminently.

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