Ethics Event

Enshrining strong morals in the bedrock of an organization is an essential objective for many leaders. Even the world’s largest and most established companies encounter ethical dilemmas and handling them poorly can create scandals that cost billions in fines while demolishing brands and reputations. In many cases, those behaving unethically at work even risk prosecution. Businesses today must navigate a minefield of evolving ethical hazards, from intrusive surveillance to cyber-security lapses, geopolitical fractures, and bias in AI-based tools. As the commercial environment develops rapidly, so do the moral questions that confront workers as they make everyday decisions.

Amid such a daunting array of pressures, ethical decision-making is a balancing act that is critical for both leaders and frontline employees to master. Fostering a culture of transparency and trust is important, at a time when consumers and the public put companies under increasing scrutiny.

Yet what does ethical leadership look like? How can business leaders, regulators and professional accountancy bodies work together to ensure ethics are upheld consistently at all levels of an organization? Who in a company is most responsible for setting the ethical tone? And how do different generations—from boomers to Gen Z—vary in their approaches to the ethical quandaries they face at work?

Against the above backdrop, the GAA sponsored a panel discussion in Brussels in May 2023 where the following questions were discussed:

  • How can workplaces create an environment of accountability?
  • How can leaders balance competing pressures and make the right decisions?
  • What frameworks, mechanisms and policies work best to hold businesses to account?
  • How can good corporate citizenship be used to attract, retain, and motivate ethical employees?
  • How far should business leaders be held responsible for the actions of their staff?
  • Do firms need to reframe ethical discussions for younger generations now entering the workforce?

Our panelists were:

Thomas Lee-Devlin

Thomas Lee-Devlin (Moderator)

Global Business Correspondent, The Economist

Barry Melancon

Barry Melancon
Chair, Global Accounting Alliance and CEO, AICPA & CIMA

Emily O'Reilly

Emily O’Reilly
European Ombudsman, European Union

Audrey Morin

Audrey Morin
Compliance Director, Schneider Electric

Elia Yi Armstong

Elia Yi Armstrong
Ethics Office Director, United Nations

 Amanda Belcher

Amanda Belcher
Senior Vice President, Edelman Global Advisory

The audience included business leaders and senior professionals working within: Business ethics; Policy; Regulatory bodies; Finance and accounting; Law; and Academia.

Read the event summary.

Watch the full panel discussion below.

Watch the recap of the discussion below.

Our Member Organizations

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
ICAEW - The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
CA Ireland
Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW)
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada
JICPA
The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
Chartered Accountants Ireland
Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ)
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)
ICAEW - The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW)
The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)
The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ)
Chartered Accountants Ireland
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)
The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA)
ICAEW - The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)
Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer in Deutschland e.V. (IDW)
The Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (JICPA)
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)

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