New rules for 'crooks' hit home for bookkeepers

New rules for 'crooks' hit home for bookkeepers

A new set of requirements from the Accounting Professional Ethical Standards are relevant and applicable to those bookkeepers who face the dilemma of dealing with a dodgy client.

As noted by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), there is a new APES code of conduct, which is imposed on members of the accounting professional associations and involves the reporting of non-compliance.

The guidelines say that when encountering non-compliance, the member’s responsibilities may include reporting the matter to an appropriate authority.

Accounting professionals, including bookkeepers, should have a responsibility to make management aware of the compliance requirements in any business.

“This may necessitate raising questions in areas which are within, or without, the normal scope of work engaged,” said the ICB.

“Should there be concern directly relating to the duties performed, it is then vital to raise these concerns in writing and to seek a response from the organisation. However, in the event that there is a lack of willingness to comply from the organisation, it is essential to reconsider the ongoing provision of services provided.”

However, bookkeepers should ensure they stay within the laws which prevent discussing client affairs to the regulator without the legal requirement and permission from the organisation to do so.

“Bookkeepers live with the dilemma of being professional and acting with integrity yet endeavouring to meet the expectations of sometimes interesting client expectations. This ethical statement provides another basis for bookkeepers to be able to draw a line of acceptable behaviour with clients,” Matthew Addison, executive director at the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, told The Bookkeeper.

“Due to client confidentiality requirements, the only option today, might be to walk away from the engagement. Actions by regulators, such as the Fairwork Ombudsman, enforce the need for Bookkeepers to remain not just compliant but advising non compliance at least to the business owners.”

New rules for 'crooks' hit home for bookkeepers
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