As more companies adopt technology to increase efficiency, there is a growing risk of unethical practices such as fraud and breach of data protection. Speaking recently at the annual seminar for Institute of Certified Public Accountants (ICPAU), the Vodafone Uganda Head of Marketing, Jackie Namara Rukare, urged accountants to focus on integrating ethical business practices to complement the growth in technology. According to Jackie Namara ethical business practices need to grow and evolve in step with technology. She said
“Technology has been evolving at a very fast rate and driving business growth. But with these changes in technology comes loopholes which fraudulent people have easily exploited eroding the gains that come with advanced technology,”
According to Namara, Information technology has made it easy for users to access any information or artefact at any given time and use it as if it was their own.
She urged accountants to make information technology audit part of their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) curriculum. “As professional accountants, you are the custodians of business audit systems, it is therefore important that you take keen interest technology audit and make it part of your CPD curriculum,” Ms. Namara said. “As accountants, you can come up with a code of conduct that guides ethical practices as it relates to use of technology.”
She further noted that “as much as information technology has enabled us to share and find relevant information online, it has also exploited our freedom of privacy. Technology is making the definition of ethical behaviour even more unclear.”
Speaking at the event, Mr. Ignatius Sehoole, Deputy CEO, PwC Southern Africa emphasized that Ethics is very important part of the profession. “Accountants are the Chief Finance Officers, Internal Auditors and are capable of making a difference in organizations in terms of ethical behaviour and eliminating corruption”, he said.
He challenged the accountants to always listen to their conscience before taking any action since the actions of the accountant reflect moral values and ethics and not only what the accountant says. “Do not justify your unethical behaviour,” he says.
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants seminar is an annual event that brings together over 1000 accountants, auditor, finance managers, lawyers, academics, policy experts, to discuss business leadership and growth.