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Ethical scoreboard in: Where do accountants stack up?

The Governance Institute of Australia has released its annual Ethics Index, revealing how ethical Australians perceive accountants to be and how this stacks up against other sectors.

Business Emma Ryan 19 November 2021
— 1 minute read

Governance Institute of Australia has released its sixth annual Ethics Index. The annual index surveys over 1,000 people nationwide to gauge their perception of ethics across all sectors in Australian society. 


Overall, accountants continue to be perceived as the most ethical professionals in the finance and banking sector with a net score of 35, slightly down from score of 39 in 2020. Tax agents received a net score of 27, which was also slightly down from a score of 28 in 2020.

In comparison, mortgage brokers are perceived as least ethical within this sector with a net score of 9, down from 13 in 2020. 

Meanwhile, funds managers received a net score of 11 (from 14 in 2020); bank managers received a net score of 16 (unchanged from 2020); and financial planers received a net score of 18 (from 20 in 2020).

Taking a look at member associations, both CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand retained their rankings among the top most ethical organisations.

CPA Australia saw its net score jump from 63, up from 57 per cent in 2020, while CA ANZ saw an increase to 58, up from 52 in 2020.

Commenting on the results of this year’s index, Dr Jane Rennie, general manager external affairs, policy and advocacy at CPA Australia said: “The Ethics Index paints a picture of how Australians perceive different sectors, institutions and professions, and it’s apparent that they hold their accountant in high regard.

“The clear takeaway from the 2021 survey is that accountants’ high levels of service and integrity have been rewarded with the trust of the Australian public.

“Accountants should take great pride in these results. They are a strong acknowledgment of the trust that the public places in the profession and the excellent service levels that accountants have continued to provide throughout the pandemic.”

On CPA Australia’s ranking in the index, she said: “CPA Australia is regarded as one of the country’s most ethical member associations. We’re incredibly proud that our ethical rating has increased in a year when unfortunately trust overall has declined. This is a reflection of the huge amount of work that CPA Australia and our members have done throughout the pandemic to support the Australian community.

“CPA Australia would like to take this opportunity to thank our members and the profession more broadly for the services they provide to individuals, businesses, the economy and society, and the integrity with which they deliver those services.”

Ethical scoreboard in: Where do accountants stack up?
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Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media and editor of the company's legal publication, Lawyers Weekly.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015 and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. In addition, she has produced exclusive multimedia and event content related to the company's respective brands and audiences.

A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with key industry stakeholders across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).