ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
M’sian finance professionals feel pressured to compromise ethics
MORE than half of finance professionals in Malaysia or 59 per cent feel under pressure to compromise their ethical standards, according to a report released by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).
The third annual “Managing Responsible Business” report, which polled 2,4981 professionals globally in January and February 2015, found that the proportion of Malaysia-based financial workers reporting such pressure remained almost unchanged from 60 per cent in 2012 to 59 per cent in 2015.
The respondents were drawn from Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation holders and CIMA students across the world.
The top causes of pressure to compromise ethical business standard are, namely working with colleagues from different functional areas within an organisation, managing staff, reporting deadlines and dealing with customers.
According to the report, 34 per cent of respondents agreed that those who report concerns about unethical behaviour are seen as troublemakers by the management.
“Profit and ethics are not two opposing aims. A responsible and well-run business is more likely to survive in the long-term.
“However, our latest report shows that many finance professionals are facing pressure to condone poor practice of their colleagues or to behave unethically themselves,” CIMA Head of Ethics Tanya Barman said in a statement yesterday.
The report also highlighted that although the majority of organisations have codes of ethics, only 36 per cent of respondents confirmed that their organisations collect ethical management information (EMI).
“This is despite an increase in demand for data on ethical business practices, particularly from the investor community, 30 per cent of whom are users of EMI,” the report said.
Among countries that posted the highest levels of pressure to compromise professional ethics were Sri Lanka, 61 per cent, followed by Malaysia (59 per cent) and Pakistan (54 per cent).
Meanwhile, respondents in the UK, the US and Ireland reported the lowest levels of pressure, but still noted an increase of 12 per cent, seven per cent and five per cent, respectively since 2012.
“A lost reputation can destroy a business overnight. Leaders should consider adopting integrated reporting – narrative reports which provide information on areas such as ethics to both management and stakeholders,” Tanya said.
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