AAT ethics and conduct
We ensure that all AAT members understand their ethical obligations through a programme of learning and development.
We investigate any AAT members who may be in breach of their ethical obligations and take disciplinary action where necessary to ensure that AAT membership retains its high standards.
All accounting professionals are responsible for acting in the public interest, and for promoting professional ethics and technical standards in the business world. However, when managing the financial affairs of a company or individual, the needs of business can conflict with the public interest.
This is where professional ethics become very important. The accountant must apply fundamental ethical principles to ensure that:
- The client is in the best position
- The public interest is not compromised
- All parties are treated fairly.
AAT professional members are bound by the fundamental principles of professional ethics. When you deal with an AAT professional member, you can expect them to:
- Have integrity - be straightforward and honest in professional and business relationships
- Be objective - not compromise professional or business judgment because of bias, conflict of interest or the undue influence of others.
- Display professional competence and due care - maintain their professional knowledge and skills. Our members should always endeavour to give clients and employers a competent professional service, diligently applying technical and professional standards to their professional service.
- Maintain confidentiality - AAT members should not disclose confidential professional or business information or use it to their personal advantage, unless they have explicit permission to disclose it, or a legal or professional right or duty to disclose it.
- Behave professionally - our members should comply with relevant laws and regulations, and avoid any action that may bring disrepute to the profession.
Find out more about ethical codes within the finance sector:
- Code of Professional Ethics (PDF) - this Code sets out our required standards of professional behaviour, protect the public interest and maintain AAT's reputation.
- IFAC Code of Ethics (PDF) - the AAT Code of Professional Ethics is based on the International Federation of Accountants' Code of Ethics.
- Professional Ethics events - information about upcoming ethics events and presentations.
- aat-ethics.org.uk - microsite with interactive ethical dilemmas, resources and more.