Professional accountants are required to observe proper standards of professional conduct whether or not the standards required are written in the rules or are unwritten. They are specifically required to refrain from misconduct that is difficult to define but which includes any act or default that is likely to bring discredit on himself, his professional body or the profession generally.
There are a number of ethical issues which are of great importance in the client-adviser relationship. This onus is always on the adviser not only to be ethical but also to be seen to be ethical. To this end, the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Association of Taxation Technicians jointly publishes Professional Rules and Practice and Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation which must be adhered to by all the members. These include:
CARE AND CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
He must take due care in his conduct and in all his professional dealings.
He must promptly inform the Institute or the Association if he
* is convicted of a criminal offence (other than a 'summary only' road traffic offence);
* is notified of disciplinary action begun against him by another professional body to which the member belongs;
* has a bankruptcy order made against him;
* enters into a voluntary arrangement with his creditors; or
* is disqualified as a director, or enters into a disqualification undertaking.
He must carry out his professional work with a proper regard for the technical and professional standards expected. In particular, he must not undertake professional work which he is not competent to perform, whether because of lack of experience or the necessary technical or other skills, unless appropriate advice or assistance is obtained to ensure that the work is properly completed.
He owes a duty of confidentiality to his client or employer. The...