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Why Ethics Matter

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Ethical transformation is critical. The first step is acknowledging ethics and values as important and making the decision to prioritise it above the bottom line. This has to come from the top. Written by Monique Verduyn

With the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture unearthing staggering and significant news regarding corrupt activities involving the private and public sectors in South Africa, the disease of unethical behaviour has never been more widespread, thanks to a winner-takes-all, get-rich-quick culture.

Both firms were removed from the list of suppliers of audit services to the public sector amid damning allegations of unprofessional, unethical and possibly criminal activity linked to senior individuals at the firms.

With auditors accused of consistently contravening both professional standards and the law, South Africa’s Auditor-General, Kimi Makwetu, said the credibility of the country’s accounting profession is ‘in the gutter’. Against this backdrop, the accounting profession needs to rescue itself and regain credibility, and solutions are being desperately sought after.

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Beyond a Culture of Corruption

Does Ethics Pay?

How to manage Ethical Risk

Embracing Ethics as the Norm

Ask the Question

What will this proposed action do to my character or the character of my organisation? Many people believe that our decisions shape our character and vice versa. That is, we can’t lie and cheat without becoming a fraudulent liar. Subsequently, if we’re a liar we’ll tend to lie more often. Think about whether your action is establishing a habit either for you or your organisation. Is it a good habit (virtue) or a bad one (vice)?