IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice
While specifically developed for IMA members to guide member conduct, the principles and standards serve as a guide that all accountants can follow to maintain ethics in management accounting.
Members of IMA shall behave ethically. A commitment to ethical professional practice includes overarching principles that express our values and standards that guide member conduct.
IMA’s overarching ethical principles include: Honesty, Fairness, Objectivity, and Responsibility. Members shall act in accordance with these principles and shall encourage others within their organizations to adhere to them.
IMA members have a responsibility to comply with and uphold the standards of Competence, Confidentiality, Integrity, and Credibility. Failure to comply may result in disciplinary action.
- Maintain an appropriate level of professional leadership and expertise by enhancing knowledge and skills.
- Perform professional duties in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and technical standards.
- Provide decision support information and recommendations that are accurate, clear, concise, and timely. Recognize and help manage risk.
- Keep information confidential except when disclosure is authorized or legally required.
- Inform all relevant parties regarding appropriate use of confidential information. Monitor to ensure compliance.
- Refrain from using confidential information for unethical or an illegal advantage.
- Mitigate actual conflicts of interest. Regularly communicate with business associates to avoid apparent conflicts of interest. Advise all parties of any potential conflicts of interest.
- Refrain from engaging in any conduct that would prejudice carrying out duties ethically.
- Abstain from engaging in or supporting any activity that might discredit the profession.
- Contribute to a positive ethical culture and place integrity of the profession above personal interests.
- Communicate information fairly and objectively.
- Provide all relevant information that could reasonably be expected to influence an intended user’s understanding of the reports, analyses, or recommendations.
- Report any delays or deficiencies in information, timeliness, processing, or internal controls in conformance with organization policy and/or applicable law.
- Communicate professional limitations or other constraints that would preclude responsible judgment or successful performance of an activity.
Resolving Ethical Issues
In applying the Standards of Ethical Professional Practice, the member may encounter unethical issues or behavior. In these situations, the member should not ignore them, but rather, should actively seek resolution of the issue. In determining which steps to follow, the member should consider all risks involved and whether protections exist against retaliation.
When faced with unethical issues, the member should follow the established policies of his or her organization, including use of an anonymous reporting system if available. If the organization does not have established policies, the member should consider the following courses of action:
- The resolution process could include a discussion with the member’s immediate supervisor. If the supervisor appears to be involved, the issue could be presented to the next level of management.
- IMA offers an anonymous helpline that the member may call to request how key elements of the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice could be applied to the ethical issue.
- The member should consider consulting his or her own attorney to learn of any legal obligations, rights, and risks concerning the issue. If resolution efforts are not successful, the member may wish to consider disassociating from the organization.