Professional ethics

Ethical compliance

Ethical compliance is key to maintaining public confidence in the accountancy profession. All AAT members are bound by AAT’s Code of Professional Ethics (PDF)

Our Code of Professional Ethics is based on the IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants and sets out five fundamental principles which all AAT members (student, affiliate, associate, full and fellow members) must comply with. 

Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation
Professional members working in tax must comply with the fundamental principles of behaviour outlined in Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PCRT). This guidance has been produced by AAT, ACCA, ATT, CIOT, ICAEW, ICAS and STEP.

 

AAT's fundamental principles

Under our Code of Professional Ethics, every AAT member must follow these five principles:

  1. Integrity
    You must be straightforward and honest in all professional and business relationships.
     
  2. Objectivity
    You must not compromise professional or business judgment because of bias, conflict of interest or the undue influence of others.
     
  3. Professional competence and due care
    You must maintain professional knowledge and skill (in practice, legislation and techniques) to ensure that a client or employer receives competent professional service.
     
  4. Confidentiality
    You must not disclose confidential professional or business information or use it to your personal advantage, unless you have explicit permission to disclose it, or a legal or professional right or duty to disclose it.
     
  5. Professional behaviour 
    You must comply with relevant laws and regulations, and avoid any action that may bring disrepute to the profession.

 

Acting in the public interest

Ethical decision making is based on a conceptual framework, which AAT members must use to identify and evaluate threats to compliance with the fundamental principles and to respond appropriately to them.

All accounting professionals must act in the public interest. Whether managing the financial affairs of a company or providing services to an individual, acting ethically and to the highest technical competence is of paramount importance.

It is for these reasons that AAT members are expected to engage with and apply the fundamental ethical principles to ensure:

  • The client’s needs are met
  • The public interest is not compromised
  • Risk is properly managed
  • All parties are treated fairly

Where an AAT member’s professional behaviour falls short of the ethical standards we expect, we will investigate and take action.

AAT Ethics microsite

Visit AAT Ethics

Our ethics microsite aat-ethics.org.uk provides an extensive library of interactive resources and tools, including our electronic Code of Professional Ethics. You can test and enhance your understanding of ethics using:

  • Interactive ethical dilemmas
  • Podcasts
  • Factsheets
  • News articles

 

AAT disciplinary processes and tribunals 

If a member has breached our Code of Professional Ethics we will take disciplinary action where necessary to ensure that AAT membership retains its high standards. Read more about our disciplinary processes and tribunals here.