With effect from 1st August 2009, Singapore public accountants must adhere to an enhanced Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics. Following ICPAS Council’s approval on 19 May 2009 and in tandem with ACRA’s issuance of its enhanced code today for public accountants and effective from 1 August 2009, members of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Singapore (ICPAS) must adhere to a revised Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics (ICPAS Code). The ICPAS Code is modeled after the “Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants” published by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) in June 2005 (the IFAC Code) and is based on the ACRA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics for Public Accountants and Accounting Entities.
The updated code provides more guidance to accountants on how to apply the principles and independence rules. ACRA said it also “places an expectation on public accountants to pro-actively identify and eliminate potential threats to their independence”.
The enhanced code requires accountants to document their decisions on independence issues to show they have complied with the professional independence requirement. Major differences of the current and revised code are noted in the ICPAS website. For example, under the current Code, it indicates that a covered party shall not accept gifts exceeding $200 annually from an audit client.
The revised Code uses a conceptual framework approach, discourages the acceptance of gifts or hospitality from the audit client. However, unlike the current Code, there is no mention of an acceptable amount for accepting gifts and hospitality.
The Singapore code went through a public consultation process in 2007-08.