Professional code of ethics
As a professional tax adviser or accountant it is absolutely essential that he conducts his affairs at all times following the professional code of ethics.
Professional code of ethics
Objectivity – Avoid conflicts of interest; do not act for two companies one buying shares and the other selling shares if objectivity will be compromised.
Professional – Professional behaviour at all times, comply with relevant laws and avoid any action that discredits the profession.
Technical competence – Keep up to date with new tax rules and legislation.
Integrity – Must be honest and should not assist clients in committing an offence.
Confidentiality – Client information should not be disclosed to other parties without the client’s permission including HMRC. The exception to this rule applies if an accountant has knowledge or suspicion that a person has committed a money laundering offence.
Before taking on new clients – a member of the ACCA must assess:
- Risk to the integrity of the practice on accepting the work.
- Whether the practice has adequate skills and competence to carry out the work.
- On accepting new clients – a member of the ACCA must ask permission from the client to contact the old advisers to request information.
- If the client refuses then the ACCA member should consider not acting for them.
Once the new appointment has been agreed the tax adviser should issue a letter of engagement setting out terms and conditions.
As a professional tax adviser or accountant it is absolutely essential that a qualified accountant conducts their affairs at all time following the professional code of ethics.
Procedure to follow before agreeing to become tax advisers to a company or group of companies
- Proof of incorporation and primary business address and registered office.
- The group structure, directors and shareholders of the company.
- The identities of those persons instructing the firm on behalf of the company and those persons that are authorised to do so.
Actions to take:
- Consider whether becoming tax advisers would create any threats to compliance with the fundamental principles of the professional code of ethics, for example integrity and professional competence.
Where such threats exist, then the appointment should not be accepted unless the threats can be reduced to an acceptable level via implementation of safeguards.
- Contact the existing tax advisers in order to ensure that there has been no action by the company that would, on ethical grounds, preclude us from accepting the appointment.
Dealing with HMRC
Information provided to HMRC must be accurate and complete.
An ACCA member must not assist a client to plan or commit an offence.
If the ACCA member becomes aware of a tax irregularity:
- They must discuss it with the client.
- Ensure proper disclosure to HMRC.
If the client refuses to follow the advice given then the professional adviser should stop acting for the client and must inform the client and HMRC in writing.