Under the Accountancy Act, advertising is prohibited. Members of ICPAK resolved in 1997 to permit advertising.
A member may seek to promote the services he/she offers through advertising or other means so long as this is consistent with the dignity of the profession and it does not project an image inconsistent with that of a professional person bound to high ethical and technical standards. A member should use judgement in determining whether a course of action will be inconsistent or not.
- An advertisement should not mislead through claims that are not substantial and must observe strict standards as to legality, decency, clarity, honesty and truthfulness.
- A member may advertise services subject to the general requirements that the media should not, in the opinion of the council of the institute, reflect adversely on the member, the institute or accountancy profession. The advertisement in itself should not;
- As a content or presentation bring the institute into dispute or discredit to the members, the firm or accountancy profession.
- Discredit the services offered by other members, whether by proclaiming superiority for the advertisers of the services or otherwise.
- Contain comparisons with other members or firms.
- Contain testimonies or endorsements.
- Particular care should be exercised if references to size or quality are to
- be included in the advertisement for example it is difficult to establish
- whether a claim to be the largest firm is in reference to number of partners
- or staff, or to offices or the amount of fees income.
- A claim to be the best firm is subjective and not sustainable.
- Although advertisement may refer to the bases on which fees are calculated and where they contain any statements concerning the hourly rate charged by the firm, care should be taken to avoid giving the impression that lower quality performance is provided than that expected from professional persons.
Publicity for members is accepted as long as it does not cast the institute and the accounting profession into disrepute or project the member in any way that is inconsistent with the dignity of the profession.
A member may contain or seek professional work by any direct approach to a prospective client.
Charging for professional work
Statement number 9 of ethical guidelines proves that fees for professional services should not be charged on a percentage or similar benefit unless where that source is authorised by statute or is a generally accepted practice for certain specialist’s work nor, should instructions be accepted on a contingency basis for example a bonus of 5% on profits. The explanatory not amplifying this statement states that:
The principle is that the independence of judgement of the member should not be impaired by the hope of a financial gain. Therefore any basis of fees which may influence the practising members judgement or findings or which may even subject him in the public eye to the suspicion that his judgement was improperly influenced is to be extended. Therefore, fees should be computed in reference to:
- The skill and knowledge required for the type of work involved for example if the work required an expert the fees would be higher.
- The seniority of the person necessarily engaged in the work.
- The time necessarily engaged on each person on the work.
- Nature of responsibility, which the work entails.