The role of the accountant under certain situations is to consider the public interest before the interest of his client or employer to protect society against some forms of financial risk. In executing this role, the accountant is required to ensure that the codes of ethics of professional accountants are complied with. Such compliance should lead to the highest levels of integrity and objectivity
The following are means by which accountants can be encouraged to act in the public interest:
- Compliance with the requirements of accounting standards to protect the public interest.
- Professional bodies clearly defining regulations to guide accountants to act in the public interest.
- Professional bodies such as the NBAA, IFAC, and ICAEW can inform the public about the actions expected from the members of the accounting bodies to act in the public interest.
- Professional bodies can have a strict process to identify breaches of the public interest.
- Breaches due to unprofessional behavior must be subjected to suitable disciplinary action.
- Accountancy firms can develop and implement codes of business conduct of professional codes of ethics. Such codes specify that is right and wrong and thereby guide accountants to act in an ethical manner in the interests of the public.