The Book-keepers Forum (BKF)

Post Info TOPIC: Site Ethics

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Site Ethics
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The site rules found here give the basic criteria for people using the site. However, as we all know in this industry rules can be circumvented where ethics which are based upon fundamental principles cannot.

For example, a rule of the road would be one must drive at 70 mph or less. That does not take into account weather conditions so following the rules someone could drive on that road when there is ice on the ground and a blizzard raging at 70 mph... Pretty stupid, yes?

A principles based rule would be that one must drive safely. The 70 mph rule still exists but there is also an underlying principle based rule that one drives safely which takes into account the weather conditions.

So it will be with the site going forwards. All of the site rules continue to apply but members need to also consider matters from an ethical perspective.

The following ethical principles are based upon the IFAC rules of professional conduct. Many members will already be signed up to this through membership of their respective professional bodies.

This will be a living document which will grow over time but for starters does anyone have strong feelings over any of the following which I intend to launch as the start point for the site ethics.

Worth mentioning here that just because something is referred to as an ethical principle does not mean that it will not be enforced as a site rule.

1) Integrity

Members should be open and honest.

Applied to the site : People should not claim to be what they are not. Be honest about professional qualifications and experience

2) Objectivity

a state of mind that is free from bias, conflicts of interest or undue influence of others

Applied to the site : Do not allow personal bias to get in the way of giving the best advice for the person asking the question. For example, in the past I have advised Sage as being the best software for someone even though that is not generally my software of choice.

3) Professional Competence and Due care

This implies a state of lifelong learning where one is always attempting to enhance one's professional skillset and knowledge base.

Applied to the site : Do not guess at answers but ensure that you can if necessary back up statements made on the site. Peoples confidence in you is based upon the answers that you give.

4) Confidentiality

Client details must never be divulged to third parties.

Applied to the site : Never, ever, divulge client details in questions or answers posed on the site. There have been cases (quickly removed) of people posting traceable client details on the site. That must never happen. When posting questions disguise names, references, account number and where possible the actual amounts involved.

5) Professional behaviour

Treat others as you would expect to be treated yourself and always act in a manner that can in no way bring discredit on yourself, the site or the profession.

This is very much the catch all ethical standard that expects site members to act in a professional manner

Applied to the site : As an example of this there are many cases where someone answers a post and then someone else answers without acknowledging the first poster at all. That lacks professional respect.

Another example is where a job ad is posted people put themselves forwards in a manner that attempts to push others out of the way. People should acknowledge the other applicants perhaps even apologise for putting themselves up as competition and then give the reason why their services should be considered.

6) Marketing professional services

Site members must not make unfounded claims of superiority of their own services or be disparaging of the services of other site members or members.

For example. One can never claim to be the best at something in their advertising such as "the best bookkeeper in the Midlands" as to claim such is claiming superiority of your services over those of others. How would you prove that?

Applied to the site : When answering job advertisements on the site keep only to the facts.



Responses are not meant as a substitute for professional advice. Answers are intended as outline only the advice of a qualified professional with access to all relevant information should be sought before acting on any response given.

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