Misconduct is defined in byelaw 1 as follows:
1 'misconduct' means in respect of any member or registered student:
(i) failure to comply with the laws of the Institute; or
(ii) conduct resulting in any conviction (or adverse finding by, or sanction or order of, or undertaking to, any tribunal or court or other body or authority) relevant to their membership or registration with the Institute.
The laws of the Institute are defined in byelaw 1 as follows:
1 'laws of the Institute' means the Charter, these byelaws, the regulations, and all subordinate documents of the Institute in force from time to time.
Byelaw 11 is also relevant
11 It shall be the responsibility of the Council to ensure that complaints against Members and Registered Students are thoroughly and fairly investigated and determined, and that appropriate sanctions are imposed if such complaints are upheld. It shall be the duty of Members and Registered Students to observe the Laws of the Institute and to cooperate with and submit to its disciplinary procedures and those of any organisation to which a complaint may have been referred, or passed on request, by the Institute in the public interest. Such a request shall be complied with by the Institute as soon as practicable and may be complied with at any time after a complaint is received by the Institute. A Member or Registered Student shall report to the Institute any facts or matters which cause him reasonably to believe that another Member or Registered Student may have been guilty of misconduct as defined in Byelaw 1 and when considering such report shall have regard to guidelines issued in this connection by the Institute.
Social attitudes and expectations of the public and the profession change, as do CIMA standards. Therefore, what constitutes misconduct in breach of CIMA's code of ethics (and thereby a breach of the laws of the Institute) will not remain static.
Examples of misconduct
Misconduct has included acts that would be regarded generally as morally reprehensible, and acts carried out in the performance of a management accountant's professional occupation that fall below the standard expected of a reasonably competent management accountant, as follows:
- criminal conviction for misappropriation of funds and false accounting
- criminal conviction for acts of violence
- misrepresentation of CIMA or other qualifications
- providing false mortgage references
- knowingly causing a company to trade whilst insolvent
- insider dealing
- use of unfair methods in CIMA examinations
- failure to produce accurate accounts/tax/VAT returns
- failure to submit accounts/tax/VAT returns to the appropriate authorities on time or at all
- inadequate record keeping
- acting as an auditor when not qualified to do so
- failure to reply appropriately, or at all, to correspondence from CIMA, a client or a superseding accountant
- failure to provide adequate advice
- financial mismanagement
- acting in conflict of interest
- breach of duty of confidentiality
- defamation (where this has been decided by a court)
- disruptive behaviour
- failure to comply with a court order
Also, it is always for the conduct committees to consider in relation to any particular complaint:
- what is the standard to be expected of a practitioner in the field
- whether the conduct in question falls seriously below that standard
Any member or registered student of CIMA who is found to have breached CIMA's code of ethics may become subject to CIMA's disciplinary procedure: breaches of the code of ethics amount to failure to comply with the laws of the Institute, and thus misconduct.
CIMA's code of ethics is designed to promote the highest standards of conduct and integrity of its members and registered students by setting out the fundamental principles of professionalism and good practice.
The specialised knowledge of professional accountants makes it difficult for those who depend upon them to assess the quality of their professional services. Professional accountants' services also impact upon all those who rely upon the objectivity and integrity of financial reporting, including employers, creditors, clients, governments, employees, investors, the business and financial community and the economy at large, and not just accountants' direct clients. This can be called the public interest.
CIMA's code of ethics recognises that the objectives of the accountancy professional are to work to the highest standards of professionalism, to attain the highest levels of performance and generally meet the public interest requirement. They are equally valid for all members and registered students, whether they are in industry, commerce, the public sector, public practice or education.
The fundamental principles of CIMA's code of ethics are integrity; objectivity; professional competence and due care; confidentiality; and professional behaviour.
All complaints are made to CIMA in writing, by way of letter or via the downloadable complaints form.
Anyone wishing to make a complaint (the complainant) is required to provide the following information:
- the name of the individual against whom the complaint is being made
- a clear and concise summary of the complaint
- any supporting documentation which substantiates the complaint
- confirmation as to whether any legal proceedings are intended, or have already commenced
- consent that all documentation submitted may be disclosed to the other party in the complaint, CIMA's conduct committees, and other relevant third parties.