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Beefing up the code

THE International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) is an independent standard-setting body that serves the public interest by setting ethics standards globally, including auditor independence requirements, for professional accountants worldwide. These are compiled in the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. In recent years, the board has been strengthening various aspects of the code to help accountants better deal with ethical challenges.

In July, for instance, IESBA released new standards aimed at resolving potential conflicts of interest for accountants and auditors, who can feel bound by strict client confidentiality rules, even when they uncover wrongdoing. These are commonly known as non-compliance with laws and regulation (NOCLAR) standards.

"The standards clarify that professional accountants must be active and not turn a blind eye to non-compliance," said Stavros Thomadakis, chairman of the IESBA, whose rules are used in over 100 jurisdictions. "It's trying to bring about early, early detection, if you will, but also early action by management or authorities."