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Singapore's Code of Ethics for public accountants to be amended from Feb 1, 2015

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The Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for public accountants and accounting entities will be strengthened further from Feb 1 next year.

THE Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for public accountants and accounting entities will be strengthened further from Feb 1 next year.

The proposed amendments have been accepted by the Ministry of Finance.

The current Code is based on the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA)'s 2006 Code of Ethics, with some modifications and additional provisions for Singapore's public accountants, said the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra).

Among the changes are extending higher independence standards to all audits and reviews of public interest entities (PIEs), large charities and large institutions of a public character, as well as new requirements to further ensure the independence of auditors. With respect to the latter, these would include a key audit partner to be identified, who would make major judgements on significant matters for the audit.

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In addition, under the revised Code, review engagements will be held to the same independence requirements as audit engagements.

Meanwhile, certain provisions for Singapore accountants will be removed in line with international benchmarks, or where the new provisions from the latest version of IESBA's Code deliver clearer guidance vis-a-vis IESBA's 2006 Code of Ethics.

"In this era of economic volatility and a rapidly evolving corporate landscape, the Code is a vital set of guiding principles for public accountants to rely on and enable them to make the right decisions when faced with conflicting choices between economic interests and ethical considerations," said Acra.

The review of the existing Code was conducted by Acra's Public Accountants Oversight Committee with the support of the Ethics Sub-Committee.

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