We should all be enormously proud of our collective efforts during what is undoubtedly a stressful time for our communities. The assistance being provided to businesses and your wise counsel to fellow citizens has been outstanding.
Recent attention has naturally focused on the work of CAs in public practice, commerce and the public sector in helping others obtain government assistance.
But the sad reality is that COVID-19 will continue to have an economic impact long after the virus itself is contained. Public scrutiny has already shifted to the role accountants play in conducting audits, signing off accounts and providing business restructuring and insolvency services. We expect more challenges as governments continue to craft policies for recovery.
There will be no drop in demand for the skills of CAs. We know there are members experiencing high levels of stress due to workloads and the difficult decisions required to run an accounting practice, particularly as a high proportion of clients continue to struggle to compensate you for your services. Please seek help early and often. We offer complimentary counselling support for you and your families.
Some members have also told us about the pressure to provide advice or engage in actions contrary to the high ethical standards we each committed to when we became Chartered Accountants.
There are already reports emerging that some in the business community have engaged in unethical behaviour in order to access government grants and wage subsidies – for example, by altering the time at which sales or invoicing would normally occur in order to qualify. There may be those who seek to enlist advisers as co-conspirators to commit fraud.
Community expectations have never been higher. At a time when our nations desperately need our help to ensure financial support goes to those who genuinely qualify within the law, it is important that we remain hypervigilant and hold fast to our shared values and Code of Ethics.
We will continue to work to support CAs and their clients who make honest mistakes in the current hectic environment. By the same token, our professional body will also hold to account those who are found to have acted unethically and whose actions cast a shadow over the majority of honest advisers who do the right thing as a member of one of most trusted professions in the community.
Lastly, we are here to support you in this period of heightened pressure. Our CA Advisory Group, which is made up of experienced, senior CAs across business and public practice, is available to you for confidential guidance if you are facing a challenging ethical dilemma. Stay healthy and keep strong.
|Peter Rupp FCA
|Nives Botica-Redmayne FCA
|Peter O’Regan FCA
CA Advisory Group
CAAG provides counselling and support for CAs facing ethical dilemmas or weighing career decisions.Find out more
COVID-19 Resources hub
This dedicated hub is regularly updated to ensure members are equipped to navigate the serious long-term economic and business impacts from this pandemic.Read more