🌌 Code of Conduct
Why do we have a Code of Conduct? Is it a set of fixed rules that we follow rigidly in every situation? It'd be almost impossible for anyone to write a document that covers every potential workplace situation where we make decisions about how to behave. Code of Conduct is better viewed as a guide to aid decision making. An ethical framework, that draws on our shared values and builds on our purpose and our ambition. Code of Conduct applies to everyone at the firm, regardless of their individual role, position or practice. We each have our own personal value system that guides our thinking about situations and questions. But as an employee, we have an additional role in serving the public interest – and that means certain behaviors are expected of us. Clients come to us & our profession for a reason, and the Code provides a set of principles to help us as we make decisions, so that the collective results meet the Values of our brand. This article is designed to make you & your team more aware of the behaviours which are expected from Code of Conduct and to help you when you're making decisions that shape the culture and reputation of the firm.
In our work we must always abide by laws and regulations, as well as firm's own policies, guidance and procedures. The Code takes it one step further and helps us make ethical choices. This raises our standards even higher.
Key questions to ask yourself when facing a dilemma at work
- Have I consulted appropriately with colleagues?
- Are my actions legal and in compliance with the standards of our profession?
- Am I compromising my integrity or the integrity of my firm or clients?
- Am I upholding the values of my firm?
- Am I respecting others' different perspectives and backgrounds?
- Is my choice of action the most ethical among the possible alternatives? Do I feel good about my choice?
- If I document my decision, would a reviewer agree with the action I have taken?
- Would my actions damage the reputation of my firm or profession?
The principles of the Code
We all commit to abide by the principles of the Code, and our firm commits to support us when we do.
It's important to:
- understand the Code and be aware of the guidance within it
- consult with colleagues if you are unsure if you need their views
- act within the spirit of the Code's values and principles to guide your decision
1. Working with one another
- We build relationships with each other based on a shared trust and confidence that each of us has a personal and professional commitment to do the right thing.
- We respect one another, we value differences and we strive for an inclusive environment free from discrimination, intimidation and harassment. Mistreatment based on gender and gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, other identity dimensions defined and constructed by some societies in ethnic, color, cultural, or racial terms, or any other form of mistreatment of people based on perceived differences in human characteristics is not tolerated.
- We leverage our differences to create an inclusive environment where all people feel, and are valued, for who they are, have a sense of belonging, and are inspired to contribute their best in every encounter.
- We are committed to building diverse teams and maximizing the power of different perspectives and backgrounds in our teams.
- We consult with each other and value the perspectives of those who are different from us, and those who challenge our own point of view.
- We nurture integrity, respect, teaming and inclusiveness.
- We are committed to communicating openly and honestly.
- We rely upon each other to deliver quality service to clients and for our individual development, and are personally accountable to other team members for the contribution we make.
- We encourage and support the professional development of our colleagues and promote individual achievement and continuous learning.
- We expect and deliver feedback regularly, candidly and constructively, and positively recognize success.
2. Working with clients and others
No client or external relationship is more imporatant than the ethics, integrity and reputation of our firm
Working with clients ...
- We commit ourselves, as professionals, to uphold the trust placed in us by others.
- We are committed to delivering quality services that reflect our professional capabilities, are appropriate to the specific issues and needs of clients, and in accordance with the terms and conditions in our engagement agreements.
- We are robust and courageous in our challenges to clients and are not afraid to deliver unwelcome information to them.
- We consider not only whether we can perform an engagement, but whether we should perform that engagement.
- We support firm and will withdraw from working for any clients that put colleges under undue pressure or threaten them in exercising their professional duties.
Working with regulators ...
- We uphold the professional standards and rules applicable to us, and our member firms actively work with the regulators who oversee our professional conduct to ensure that these rules and standards meet the continuously changing needs of the market.
Working with others ...
- We reject unethical or illegal business practices in all circumstances.
- We avoid working with clients and others whose standards are incompatible with our Global Code of Conduct.
- We coordinate as appropriate, with other members of our profession in matters of public interest.
3. Acting with professional integrity
Our professional integrity ...
- We comply with laws, regulations and standards that apply to us in our professional conduct.
- We uphold the firm reputation. We do not misrepresent the position that firm takes in professional and other matters.
- We promote a culture of consultation. We address questions of ethics and consult appropriately to help resolve them. We do not hide from or ignore issues.
- We understand and comply with all firm's policies, guidance and procedures.
- We provide an ethics hotline for reporting sensitive ethical issues.
- We acknowledge that each of us is responsible for keeping our professional knowledge up to date and for sharing best practices and innovation.
Our competitive approach ...
- We recognize our competitive advantage is achieved through the excellence of our professional advice, and the quality of our products, solutions and service delivery.
- We compete energetically and vigorously, and we are honest in our competitive behavior.
- We do not offer personal inducements to secure work or other advantages.
Documenting our work ...
- We appropriately document client engagements and business operations.
- We never destroy or alter documents, or recommend their destruction or alteration, for any illegal or improper reason.
- We archive and store documentation appropriately.
Our fees ...
- We charge appropriate fees for our services in accordance with our engagement terms and professional standards. Time and expenses ...
- We report actual hours worked and expenses incurred.
- We incur expenses in accordance with firm policies or, where agreed, clients' expense policies.
4. Maintaining our objectivity and independence
Our objectivity ...
- We maintain and affirm our objectivity and independence, recognizing that these are critical to our professional responsibilities.
- We employ appropriate professional skepticism.
- We reject inappropriate pressure from clients or others.
- We are alert for personal and professional conflicts of interest and take immediate and appropriate steps to resolve or manage any that may arise.
- We do not accept payments or anything of value if this could reasonably be viewed as influencing our conclusions or advice or is otherwise not in compliance with firm's policies.
Our independence ...
- We comply with independence rules, including the restrictions applicable to our families, and we report in a timely manner, and with any further restrictive local country independence professional standards, laws and regulations.
- We avoid relationships that impair — or may appear to impair — our objectivity and independence.
- We continuously monitor our independence.
5. Protecting data, information and intellectual capital
- We respect and protect confidential data and information obtained from, or relating to, clients or third parties, as well as personal data and information about collegues.
- We only share information when there is a business purpose, and then do so in accordance with firm policies, applicable laws and professional standards.
- We take proactive measures to safeguard our documents, computers and other data devices that contain personal or confidential data and information, including following firm policies on information security and technology.
- We promptly report any loss, theft or inappropriate disclosure of personal or confidential information in accordance with applicable laws and firm policies.
- We do not use confidential data or personal information for personal gain and comply with applicable insider trading laws and firm policies.
- We use social media and technology in a responsible way and respect the confidentiality of everybody we work with.
- We obtain, develop and protect intellectual capital in an appropriate manner. We respect the restrictions on its use and reproduction.
CA Jignesh Vora &
CA Bhavin Shah