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Operating under the fundamental principles of trust and ethics is key to the accountancy profession’s value and impact. Ensuring that these principles are accessible to a wide range of stakeholders is essential to IFAC’s.

Following the publication of the 2018 Edition of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards), which included substantial revisions to the previous Code, there was immediate interest in translating from member organizations, governmental regulators and other third parties. IFAC’s Intellectual Property Department is focused on supporting these translations, as access to the standards in a variety of languages is fundamental to their adoption and implementation. No less important is making sure that the translations are rigorous and incorporate the feedback of a variety of regional stakeholders to ensure their quality and uniformity.

IFAC typically relies on its member organizations to translate materials, which has allowed the IP Department to consistently issue high-quality translations carried out by subject experts who understand IFAC’s translations policy. The great work of our member organizations has generated 13 completed translations of the latest Code, including translations into Spanish, Arabic, Italian and German, amongst others, with 12 translations still in progress.

Despite the great interest from our member organizations in translating the restructured Code, a significant gap in the translations was identified by our Quality and Development Department in partnership with the Fédération Internationale des Experts-Comptables Francophones (FIDEF). Without access to a French translation of the standards, a significant number of African French-speaking nations would be put at a disadvantage as they would be unable to adopt the updated Code, present ethical requirements for Ministry of Finance approval or meet the requirements of OHADA (Organisation pour l'Harmonisation en Afrique du Droit des Affaires or Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa), the major regional economic union they are members of. 

Fortunately, we soon realized that a French translation of the Code aligned with the significant efforts of the World Bank, which invested significant support into both the OHADA regulation that adopted the ethical requirements based on the Code, as well as implementation support for other regional professional accountancy organizations. The World Bank recognized the need for a French translation and kindly agreed to not only help fund the translation, but to assist in the procurement process in order to find a high-quality translator that would work to the IP Department’s translation policy requirements. Following a lengthy procurement process, a robust translation process and a quality review undertaken by the World Bank, we are happy to announce that a French translation of the Code is now available.

Not only are these translations fundamental to the adoption of the Code but their availability is also key to critical implementation activities. With the release of the eCode, an enhanced online version of the Code to assist jurisdictions with properly implementing its principles, there is now the opportunity for regulators to adopt the eCode platform and utilize the translation as the basis for their jurisdiction-specific version of the eCode.  

To learn more about IFAC’s translation policies, or to contribute to the important translations work, please visit our webpage; to request permission to reproduce the French, or any other translation of the Code, or the eCode platform please submit a request via our permissions request system online.

Michelle Korman

Senior Manager, Intellectual Property, IFAC

Michelle is the head of intellectual property at IFAC, responsible for facilitating the translation and reproduction of international standards globally. Michelle previously lived in the United Kingdom, working at a commercial intellectual property firm while completing a Scottish and English law degree. She has since passed the New York state bar.