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What should we be doing about ethics education?

We seem to be in a time where hardly a week goes past without a story in the business press where there are question marks about a company’s accounts.

It might be a re-statement of profits (usually downwards), an insolvency or a fraud. In most cases, journalists question the role of the auditors, often expressing the opinion that the audit process was insufficiently rigorous, or the auditors were conflicted by competing interests.

Of course, ICAEW members can point to a well-developed code of professional behaviour which should ensure that auditors adopt due professional scepticism to ensure that their audits are rigorous enough and a detailed code of ethics explaining conflicts of interest and how they should be managed. However, despite this, the stories keep coming, suggesting a gradual erosion of trust and confidence in the profession.