//In the future, Ethics will be a key differentiator. Is your business ready?
acca think ahead

In the future, Ethics will be a key differentiator. Is your business ready?

How will digital, new technologies, the global economy, politics, legislation, cyber security, ethics, and even climate change impact business and the Finance department?

How will the principles of ethics that have been taught and ingrained in professional accountants become a significant differentiator between firms of equal technical capability?

How ready do you think your business is to cope with the new demands that will be put upon your employees’ ethical judgment?

Pick a number between 0 and 100%.

0% ready – where to begin

Feeling totally unprepared for a more complex future? Unsure of your current policies and approach to ethics within the finance function? Now is a good time to start changing that. To instil trust, professional accountants will need to demonstrate ethics more overtly, learn new behaviours and adopt new ways of working.  First step: read ACCA’s report Ethics and Trust in a Digital age,which will help explain where best to begin.

25% ready – made a good start

Your business is starting to understand that ethical financial behaviour is much more than just an intuitive sense of following your conscience; it means demonstrating professional competency and applying ethical behaviour in work situations. Your business will need finance professionals trained in ethics, and strong ethical leadership setting the tone at the top. ACCA has identified six ways to promote ethics within your organisation – an easy framework to apply.

50% ready – halfway there

You know that technical capabilities are only half of the story, and that a well-rounded skillset needs to be complemented by strong ethical behaviours. Now it’s time to put an emphasis on new and emerging ethical considerations in an evolving digital age. ACCA can help you navigate the ethical implications of new, complex situations from a global point of view. 

75% ready – feeling confident

You are in a good place. Your teams are effective in learning new information quickly and applying their ethical judgment, often in situations they may not have seen before. You are confident they are meeting the standards of ethical behaviour expected. So now would be a good time to establish a robust evaluation process. ACCA can help you develop ways to assess objectively whether behaviour is ethical and if knowledge levels are adequate.

100% ready – so, what’s next?

Congratulations! Your organisation firmly believes in the value and importance of ethical behaviour – not just as an essential quality of the future finance professional but also as a driver for sustainable organisational performance. So how about you take a more prominent role in championing this important thinking, and help ACCA share and promote best practice across your industry, and indeed through our global network?

At ACCA, we have always looked ahead to anticipate change and understand its impact on business, finance and the profession. We are working in partnership with employers around the world to help support them in preparing for that change. As part of a new initiative, we have looked at 10 major drivers of change and are inviting employers to explore just how ready their businesses are to cope with them. •