The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants has finished the first phase of its project for restructuring the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants and has issued some new proposals for strengthening ethics requirements for accountants around the world.

IESBA, which operates under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants, has been revising the code of ethics to make it more understandable and easier to use. It is now entering the final stage of the project and has set December 2017 as the date of completion.

IESBA logo

In the final stage, IESBA is issuing three exposure drafts with new proposals for restructuring some sections of the code, revising some of the safeguards related to non-assurance services provided to audit and assurance clients, and clarifying the applicability of some of the provisions for accountants in public practice.

The provisions include a stronger partner rotation regime for audits of public companies and accountants’ responsibilities when they encounter noncompliance with laws and regulations.

“The board has committed to timely delivery of the restructured code,” said IESBA Chairman Dr. Stavros Thomadakis in a statement. “This major upgrade will lead not only to a code that is more understandable and easier to use but also to a more robust Code with important substantive improvements in many areas, including auditor independence. These goals ultimately underpin the public interest role of the global accountancy profession.”

Highlights of the main improvements to date, and other details, are discussed in the January 2017 IESBA Update.

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.