The Chartered Institute of Management Accounts (CIMA), in its third annual report on ‘managing responsible business’, highlighted that profit and ethics are not two opposing aims, adding that a responsible and well-run business is more likely to survive in the long-term.It said that many finance professionals are facing pressure to condone poor practice of their colleagues or to behave unethically themselves. They are still struggling to work their way through a crisis of culture within the business and they need to maintain focus.
Such pressure on Pakistan based professionals increased from 51% in 2012 to 54% in 2015. According to a report, around 38% of respondents agreed to the reports concerning about unethical behaviour as troublemakers by the management, it added.Highlighting the causes of pressure to compromise standards of ethical business conduct for finance professionals, the CIMA report stated that 49% professionals sighted working with colleagues from different functional areas within the organisation to be the main cause, 44% believed meeting the deadlines was a cause and 39% viewed compiling management accounts as the main reason.
Out of 2,498 polled professionals across the world, the report highlighted that although the majority of organisations have codes of ethics, only 36% of the respondents confirmed that their organisations collect ethical management information (EMI).This is despite an increase in demand for data on ethical business practices, particularly from the investor community, 30% of whom are users of EMI, it added.
CIMA Head of Ethics Tanya Barman said, A lost reputation can destroy a business overnight. To guard against this, the organisations need to collect and interpret information about ethical performance, so
the company can tell when it is on the right track and when it is about to walk off a cliff-edge.
She said Sri Lanka, with 61%, has the highest level of pressure to compromise professional ethics, followed by Malaysia with 58% and Pakistan with 54%.
She said in United Kingdom, United States and Ireland, the professionals are facing lowest level of pressure, but still an increase of 12%, 7% and 5% has been observed since 2012 respectively, adding that India reversed this trend, falling to 45% from 51% in 2012.
Four-fifths (80%) of the finance professionals believed they had a particular role in managing ethical performance and 78% feel that business has a role in addressing the global issues such as climate change and poverty, she said.