ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.

Ethical guidance

The ICAEW Library & Information Service collection includes various editions of the code of ethics and the ethical guidance that pre-dated this.

The current ICAEW Code of Ethics can be found on the website along with related material and an archive covering the codes in force between 2006 and 2011.

Prior to this, the ethical guidance was published in the Members Handbook. The material held by the Library has been summarised below. Guidance may also have been reproduced in the accountancy press.

Past ethical guidance


The library holds copies of the code of ethics from 2006 to 2011 in addition to the online archive.


The 'Guide to Professional Ethics' was published as Section 1.2 of the Members' Handbook. The library holds copies of each annual volume, as well as a summary of the changes to the code of ethics from 1997 to 2006.


The Members’ Handbook was issued as a looseleaf publication between 1983 and 1991 and updated with changes throughout each year, making it more difficult to pinpoint the guidance in place at a particular point in time.

To overcome this difficulty the ICAEW Department of Professional Ethics compiled a set of "reconstructions" of volume 1 of the Handbook (Constitutional, Legal and Ethical) which included the 'Guide to Professional Ethics'.

Each reconstructed volume reproduces the Members' Handbook as it stood for that year, including that years' amendments.

The library holds a complete set of the reconstructions. Further information on our holdings can be found in LibCat.


The ‘Ethical Guide for Members' (renamed as the 'Guide to Professional Ethics' in October 1979) was published in the Members' Handbook as Section 1.2, replacing the earlier guidance in Section E with effect from 1 January 1976.

Unfortunately, the Members' Handbook was issued as a looseleaf at this time and the editions held by the Library for this period have been updated. The Members' Handbook was reprinted in 1970 (our copy updated to supplement 58, issued on 15th January 1980) and in 1980 (our copy updated to supplement 70, issued in January 1991).

However, it is usually possible to track the changes made during this period by using the updating sheets filed at the back of the handbooks and where necessary cross-referencing these with the accountancy press (such as Accountancy, The Accountant, The Accountants' Magazine and The Institute Newsletter) where significant updates were often reproduced. Sometimes it is sufficient to consult the updating sheets to determine that the guide was unchanged.

In addition to this, the ethical guide was reproduced as a separate publication from time to time. The guide was published in this way in 1975 and 1979.

An article reproducing extracts from the Ethical Guide for Members was also published in The Accountant (August 7th 1975) under the title 'Professional Ethics: English ICA Guidance to Members' (p164-166).


A reprint of the Members' Handbook was issued in 1961 which included the original contents published in October 1958 consolidated with the supplements numbered 1 (13 November 1958) to 8 (15 December 1960). Section E of the handbook covers professional conduct.

A second volume contains the unfiled updating supplements for the 1961 reprint of the Members' Handbook, covering Supplement 9 (16 August 1961) to Supplement 17 (21 April 1966).


A copy of the Members' Handbook was issued in August 1950 with handwritten updates to the text and a copy of the updates issued in June 1951 and July 1953 inserted at the back of the volume.

Can't find what you are looking for?

If you're having trouble finding the information you need, ask the Library & Information Service. Contact us by telephone on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, by web chat or by email at library@icaew.com.