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Home > Auditing Checklists > The IIA Code of Ethics

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The IIA Code of Ethics


Checklist Description

This checklist looks at the purpose of the code of ethics of the Institute of Internal Auditors and considers some of the advantages that membership of the Institute can bring.

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Definition

Established in 1941, the Institute of Internal Auditors aims to provide global leadership for the profession. Based in Florida, the Institute is the internal auditing industry’s recognized authority across the world and is keen to promote the profession through improved education. The Institute’s membership base covers 165 countries, with members spread across professions such as risk management, corporate governance, information-technology auditing and education, as well as mainstream internal auditing.

The objective of the Institute’s code of ethics is to create an ethical culture throughout the profession. The Institute’s members aim to help organizations to achieve their objectives through disciplined and highly systematic efforts to strengthen their governance, control, and risk-management procedures. The code of ethics not only covers the core activity of internal auditing but also extends to cover principles relevant to the profession, as well as the rules of conduct to which practitioners should adhere.

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Advantages

  • The code of ethics helps to ensure the objectivity of internal auditors, aiming to assist them to assess all relevant factors without being unduly influenced by others or by their own interests.

  • By defining the standards expected of internal auditing professionals, the code helps to reinforce the trust that forms the main foundation of the profession. The code also aims to ensure that individual internal auditors have the required competencies to cover the particular task they are expected to perform.

  • The confidentiality element of the code aims to make certain that internal auditors always appreciate the value of information. It underlines their requirement to safeguard information at all times, subject only to legal or professional obligations.

  • The Institute has disciplinary procedures in place for instances where members are accused of violating the code of ethics, helping to ensure that members can be trusted to act in a consistently professional manner.

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Disadvantages

  • Ethical standards in business can vary widely from country to country. Therefore, auditing professionals in some countries may have to work harder than those in other countries to fully achieve all the standards expected of a global code of ethics.

  • Cultural differences between companies could also put more pressure on internal auditors in some organizations to adhere to the consistently high standards demanded by the code.

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Action Checklist

  • In joining the Institute, professionals commit to the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, offering a high level of reassurance to clients.

  • By encouraging employees to become members, companies help their internal auditors in areas such as self-development, potentially significantly increasing their long-term value to the organization.

  • The Institute unites over 150,000 internal auditing professionals worldwide. Membership brings access to valuable resources, such as a dedicated resource library, a technical helpline and the latest published professional guidance. Access to these resources can bring significant benefits to an organization.

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Dos and Don’ts

Do

  • Recognize that internal auditing is a progressive profession, the development of which is driven by clients’ increasingly demanding needs.

  • Take advantage of the Institute’s commitment to help internal auditors to achieve their full potential through training and development. For example, the Institute offers a wide range of in-house, company-specific courses.

Don’t

  • Don’t interpret the code of ethics as simply a list of aspirations for internal auditors. The Institute demands the highest standards of professionalism from its members.

  • Don’t forget that, despite the best efforts of the Institute to ensure uniformity of standards across the profession worldwide, some individuals may benefit from extra employer support in view of the variations in business ethical standards across different countries and cultures.

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Further reading

Books:

  • Pickett, K. H. Spencer. The Internal Auditor at Work: A Practical Guide to Everyday Challenges. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2004.
  • Root, Stephen J. Beyond COSO: Internal Control to Enhance Corporate Governance. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2000.

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