CIMA's Code of Ethics changed on 1 January 2020
In order to ensure that it remains relevant and reflects the changing dynamics and pressures of the profession, the Code of Ethics has recently been reviewed.
View the new Code of Ethics
Read an article summarising the changes to the 2020 Code of Ethics
Introduction to the Code of Ethics
View a transcript of the animation
How the Code is structured
Part 1: Complying with the Code, fundamental principles, and conceptual framework
Part 1 is applicable to all professional accountants and establishes the fundamental principles of professional ethics for professional accountants. It also provides a conceptual framework that they shall use to identify, evaluate and apply safeguards to eliminate threats to compliance with the fundamental principles.
View Part 1: Complying with the Code, fundamental principles, and conceptual framework
Part 2: Professional accountants in business (including CGMA designation holders)
Part 2 sets out additional material that applies to professional accountants in business when performing professional activities. Part 2 of the Code was developed in cooperation with the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA); and, like parts 1 and 3, the elements of the updated part 2 which apply to CIMA members and students continue to reflect IFAC’s fundamental principles and conceptual framework approach.
Professional accountants in business include professional accountants employed, engaged or contracted in an executive or non-executive capacity in, for example:
- Commerce, industry or service
- The public sector
- The not-for-profit sector
- Regulatory or professional bodies.
Part 2 is also applicable to individuals who are professional accountants in public practice when performing professional activities pursuant to their relationship with the firm, whether as a contractor, employee, or owner.
View Part 2: Professional accountants in business
Part 3: Professional accountants in public practice
Part 3 sets out additional material that applies to professional accountants in public practice when providing professional services.
It provides examples of threats that could be encountered and how such threats might be evaluated and addressed. Requirements relating to communicating with those charged with governance is also covered (section 300.9).
View Part 3: Professional accountants in public practice
Part 4a - Independence for audit and review engagements
Part 4b - Independence for assurance engagements other than audit and review engagements
These Parts collectively form the International Independence Standards, and set out additional material that applies to professional accountants in public practice when providing assurance services.
For Annex 1 of the Code please refer directly to the full IFAC International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants
The glossary contains defined terms (together with additional explanations where appropriate) and described terms which have a specific meaning in certain parts of the Code. The glossary also includes lists of abbreviations that are used in the Code and other standards to which the Code refers.
View the glossary
How to use the Code
The Fundamental Principles, Independence and Conceptual Framework
CIMA's Code of Ethics is made up of five fundamental principles:
The Code requires you to comply with these fundamental principles of ethics. The Code also requires you to apply the conceptual framework to identify, evaluate and address threats to compliance with the fundamental principles. Applying the conceptual framework requires exercising professional judgment, remaining alert for new information and to changes in facts and circumstances, and using the reasonable and informed third party test.
Threats to compliance with the fundamental principles fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Self-interest threat: Commonly called a “conflict of interest” which may inappropriately influence judgment or behaviour.
- Self-review threat: When you are required to evaluate the results of a previous judgment or service.
- Advocacy threat: Arising if promoting a position or opinion to the point that your subsequent objectivity is compromised.
- Familiarity threat: When you become so sympathetic to the interests of others as a result of a close relationship that your professional judgment becomes compromised.
- Intimidation threat: When you are deterred from acting objectively by actual or perceived pressure or influence.
The conceptual framework recognises that the existence of conditions, policies and procedures established by the profession, legislation, regulation, the firm, or the employing organisation might affect the identification of threats. Those conditions, policies and procedures might also be a relevant factor in your evaluation of whether a threat is at an acceptable level. When threats are not at an acceptable level, the conceptual framework requires you to address those threats. Applying safeguards is one way that threats might be reduced. Safeguards are actions you take individually or in combination that effectively reduce threats to an acceptable level.
Complying with the Code requires knowing, understanding and applying:
- All of the relevant provisions of a particular section in the context of Part 1, together with the additional material set out in Sections 200, 300, 400 and 900 as applicable.
- All of the relevant provisions of a particular section, for example, applying the provisions that are set out under the subheadings titled “General” and “All Audit Clients” together with additional specific provisions, including those set out under the subheadings titled “Audit Clients that are not Public Interest Entities” or “Audit Clients that are Public Interest Entities”.
- All of the relevant provisions set out in a particular section together with any additional provisions set out in any relevant subsection.
Requirements and application material
Requirements and application material are to be read and applied with the objective of complying with the fundamental principles, applying the conceptual framework and, when performing audit, review and other assurance engagements, being independent.