Senior accountancy professionals believe boardrooms must drive ethical culture, according to a report from Chartered Accountants Worldwide.

Businesses must embrace a culture of moral courage and this should have its roots in the boardroom, according to the latest report from Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW).

The international body’s report – Critical Success Factors for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders – said that businesses must be aware of the links between the 24-hour scrutiny now possible in the digital age through social media, and value creation.

The report follows an international summit held in London where senior CEOs, CFOs and executives, together with the heads of global Chartered Accountancy bodies, gathered to discuss key issues facing future finance professionals.

The report also covered issues ranging from geopolitical tensions to tax avoidance, and drew on research surveying chartered accountants leading UK businesses.

Ethics emerged as one of the main factors that will shape the future of business. The report found that the moral values of organisations were becoming more important to millennials, who want to do business with brands they trust.

Pat Costello, Chairman of CAW, said: “The digital age means that everyone is under scrutiny, all of the time, and issues can escalate through social media like wildfire. The right decisions need to be taken in real time – it’s no longer enough to rely on the traditional hierarchies.

“This means we need to foster a culture where people are trained to know what the right thing to do is when a challenge presents itself. A culture of ethics certainly starts in the boardroom, but it can’t stop there.”

The report also noted that tax has become a reputational issue, with aggressive tax avoidance having the potential to do real reputational harm. While the report didn’t mention them by name, the European Commissions investigation into the tax affairs of Apple and the aggressive tax treatment of PwC clients featured in “Lux Leaks” come to mind.

 

The full report is available at;

http://www.charteredaccountantsworldwide.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/CAW_critical_success_factors_UK_report_web.pdf