Ten years on from the financial crisis a greater focus on ethics is needed in how businesses are exploiting new technologies, according to a recent report from the accountancy body ACCA.
Nearly two thirds of respondents in its recent survey Ethics and trust in a digital age call for strong ethical leadership. Just over half 54% call for guidance on a new code of ethics for the digital age.
‘In the digital age there needs to be more, not less, importance placed on the ethical and professional judgement of individuals,” Maggie McGhee, Director of professional insights at ACCA. “What many are calling for is guidance and leadership on how to respond.”
“All those involved in decision-making levels in business should be aware of how new technologies can affect their reputation and consider how to support their employees in doing the right thing,” she added.
“Internal auditors can help provide leadership in this area,” Henrik Stein, ECIIA President, says. “With their unique oversight role across the business, they are well-placed to objectively assess and investigate the overall ethical impact of digital developments throughout and beyond the organisation.”
The report provides guidance on how internal auditors and accountants can get up to speed in this fast-developing area, including:
Building knowledge of emerging technologies and digital issues to reduce risk of compromise to professional competence and due care
Combining process control with a strategic view to reduce the risk of unintended consequences
Evaluating mechanisms for reporting unethical behaviour to reduce the risk of breaches.