Finance matters: Experts 'under pressure' to compromise ethics (The Express Tribune (Pakistan))

More than half of the finance professionals in Pakistan feel under pressure to compromise their ethical standards, according to a report released by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

The third annual Managing Responsible Business report, which polled 2,498 professionals across the world, found that the proportion of Pakistan-based workers reporting such pressure moved from 51% in 2012 to 54% in 2015.

About 38% of respondents agreed those who report concerns about unethical behavior are seen as ‘troublemakers’ by management.

The top causes of pressure to compromise standards of ethical business conduct for finance professionals were: working with colleagues from different functional areas within the organisation (49%), meeting reporting deadlines (44%) and compiling management accounts (39%).

Commenting on the report’s findings, CIMA Head of Ethics Tanya Barman said profit and ethics are not two opposing aims. “A responsible and well-run business is more likely to survive in the long-term,” she said.

The report highlighted that although the majority of organisations has codes of ethics, only 36% of respondents confirmed that their organisations collect ethical management information (EMI).

The report found that countries where members face the highest levels of pressure to compromise professional ethics are Sri Lanka (61%), Malaysia (58%) and Pakistan (54%).

Conversely, respondents in the United Kingdom, United States and Ireland reported the lowest levels of pressure, but still noted an increase of 12%, 7% and 5%, respectively, since 2012. India reversed this trend, falling to 45% from 51% in 2012.

Globally, 80% of finance professionals said they had a particular role in managing ethical performance, and 78% feel business has a role in addressing global issues, such as climate change and poverty.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2015.

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