High ethical standards are not an optional extra: they are fundamental to our professional status.

AuthorCoghlan, John

For a member of CIMA, ethics is not an optional extra: it is an integral part of membership. Ethics underpins how you work and how you behave--it differentiates you. Being a chartered management accountant carries with it the obligation to uphold high standards of professional ethics throughout your career. This is one of the factors that distinguishes us from non-professionals and those with purely academic qualifications. The institute's ethical principles apply globally, wherever our members work, and they have been developed to reflect international standards.

As a chartered professional institute, CIMA must act in the public interest and has an obligation to ensure that members and students demonstrate the highest ethical, as well as technical, standards. Our members' professional behaviour affects all stakeholders, including employers, fellow employees, investors, regulators and the public. We protect the reputation of our qualification by promoting ethics to members and supporting them so they can uphold the highest standards. We are proud of the high professional standards of our members and students, which are demonstrated by the low number of complaints we receive.

Our commitment to the public interest was further enhanced by a new code of ethics in January 2006. The code is principles-based--ie, it seeks conformance to principles, as opposed to rules that may be circumvented. The fundamental principles that must be upheld are integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, professional behaviour and professional competence.

Professional competence has always involved an obligation to keep up to date in your area of work, so we have always required members to undertake continuing professional development. Members are now required to record their CPD activities and the institute monitors this as part of its responsibility to the public interest. Members will benefit, since...

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