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Managing responsible business – a global survey on business ethics


This CGMA survey report explores the importance placed on business ethics, ethical performance and ethical management within organisations, and the specific role played and challenges faced by individual CGMA designation holders.

The survey findings show that there are pressure points and ethical gaps within organisations and highlights the role management accountants can take. It is a follow up to a CIMA and Institute of Business Ethics survey from 2008. Responses from nearly 2000 finance professionals in over 80 markets were received.

The key findings include:

Business challenge 1 - Ethical Culture

  • A 10% -15% increase in organisations providing both statements of ethical values and a code of ethics as well as related training, provision of hotlines and incentives such as performance based rewards.
  • Corporate leadership appears to be less actively engaged in reviewing and taking responsibility for ethical performance compared to 2008. A weakened ‘tone from the top’ has potentially serious implications for the overall ethical operating culture of an organisation.

Business challenge 2 -Accounting for ethics

  • Almost 20% increase in organisations both collecting (35%) and reporting (39%) ethical information.
  • The majority of management accountants (62%) feel it is important to collect and analyse ethical information, but one in five do not believe their organisation will do so in the near future.

Business challenge 3 - Ethical dilemmas and pressures

  • Despite an increase in ethical codes and training, there is greater pressure within organisations to act unethically. Pressures are most apparent in emerging economies.
  • The majority of those who observe unethical conduct report it.

Business challenge 4 - Business Issues

  • Security of information remains the greatest issues of concern across all markets.
  • Bribery has risen from 6th to 3rd in the rankings of issues of concern, reflecting the intensifying of anti-bribery and corruption legislation.
  • Fewer now believe that business has a moral imperative to help address global issues with a decline from 84% to 77% since 2008.

Ethics Report
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Executive Summary
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