Code of ethics

As chartered management accountants, CIMA members and registered students throughout the world have a duty to observe the highest standards of conduct and integrity, and to uphold the good standing and reputation of the profession.

They must also refrain from any conduct which might discredit the profession. Members and registered students must have regard to these guidelines irrespective of their field of activity, of their contract of employment or of any other professional memberships they may hold.

CIMA updated its code of ethics for professional accountants, along with annex 1 (section 290 and 291), with effect from 1 January 2015. In order to ensure that it remains relevant and reflects the changing dynamics and pressures of the profession, the code has been reviewed and some sections updated. See the 'Summary of changes to the code of ethics' document below for an overview of the updates.

Use the ethics checklist to guide you through an ethical dilemma.

Code of ethics for CGMAs

In January 2015 CIMA and the AICPA launched the code of ethics for CGMAs. The CGMA code is aligned with the requirements contained in the 2015 CIMA code of ethics (Part C)  and the AICPA code of professional conduct. Accordingly, CIMA members who hold the CGMA designation and are compliant with the CIMA code will also be in compliance with the CGMA code.

CIMA upholds the aims and principles of equal opportunities and fundamental human rights world-wide, including the handling of personal information. The Institute promotes the highest ethical and business standards, and encourages its members to be good and responsible professionals. Good ethical behaviour may be above that required by the law.

In a highly competitive, complex business world, it is essential that CIMA members sustain their integrity and remember the trust and confidence which is placed on them by whoever relies on their objectivity and professionalism. Members must avoid actions or situations which are inconsistent with their professional obligations. They should also be guided not merely by the terms but by the spirit of this code. 

CIMA members should conduct themselves with courtesy and consideration towards all with whom they have professional dealings and should not behave in a manner which could be considered offensive or discriminatory.

To ensure that CIMA members protect the good standing and reputation of the profession, members  must report the fact to the Institute if they are convicted or disqualified from acting as an officer of a company or if they are subject to any sanction resulting from disciplinary action taken by any other  body or authority.

CIMA has adopted the following code of ethics. Parts A and B of this code are based on the IFAC* Code of Ethics, that was developed with the help of input from CIMA and the global accountancy profession. Part C of the code was developed in cooperation with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The AICPA and CIMA joined together to create a designation for management accountants, the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

The CGMA designation is designed to elevate management accounting and further emphasize its importance for businesses worldwide. Part C of the code is designed to provide guidance to all CIMA members around the world who are members in business and professional accountants in business and, those who hold the CGMA credential. When a CGMA is also a member in public practice the CGMA should also comply with the applicable guidance of the CIMA code of ethics and apply the most restrictive provisions.

If a member cannot resolve an ethical issue by following this code by consulting the ethics information on CIMA’s website or by seeking guidance from CIMA’s ethics helpline, he or she should seek legal advice as to both his or her legal rights and any obligations he or she may have. The CIMA charter, byelaws and regulations give definitive rules on many matters.

Note: The CIMA code of ethics is a law of the institute (to which all members and registered students are required to comply) for the purpose of the definition of 'misconduct' in byelaw 1.


*International Federation of Accountants. The CIMA code of ethics is based on the IFAC handbook of the code of ethics for professional accountants, of the International Ethics Standards Board of Accountants (IESBA), published by IFAC in April 2010 and is used with permission by IFAC.