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Ethics in business

Resources for International Standards subscribers in business to help resolve ethical dilemmas.

Having professional staff committed to maintaining high ethical standards benefits an employing organisation by helping develop and sustain a transparent approach to governance and related issues. Maintaining an objective stance can reinforce the values of the organisation and support its commitment to high standards leading to increased public confidence.

In this section we will look at some common scenarios and provide guidance thereon. It is important to remember that the Code of Ethics applies equally to an accountant who is an employee or officer of an entity.

For a reminder of the fundamental principles or to access our framework for resolving ethical problems, visit our dedicated page. 

ICAEW case studies

The case studies are illustrative and should be read in conjunction with the guidance contained in ICAEW's Code of Ethics.

CCAB case studies

Ethical dilemmas case studies – professional accountants in business

The case studies were developed by the UK and Ireland’s Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB). They illustrate how the ethical codes of the CCAB bodies can be applied by professional accountants working for commercial organisations. These scenarios are not intended to cover every possible circumstance, but instead to outline key principles and processes that could be considered when attempting to identify, assess and resolve ethical problems in line with the ethical codes. These case studies were published in November 2011. The CCAB welcomes comments on these cases. Please email admin@ccab.org.uk. A Polish case study translation (undertaken externally) of the case studies, is also available.

Ethical Dilemmas Case Studies - Professional Accountants in Business

  • Pressure to overstate stock valuation
  • Pressure to participate in fraudulent activity
  • Suspicion of false accounting
  • Company restructure – working with limited resources
  • Confidentiality when bidding for a contract
  • Non-disclosure to auditors