PricewaterhouseCoopers continued its pace-setting drive with the second in a series of unprecedented public relations moves. The firm announced its adoption of what is believed to be the accounting profession's first global code of conduct. This step follows closely on the heels of the firm's release of a first-ever 'showcase' annual report earlier in the week.
Samuel A. DiPiazza, PwC's global CEO, explained that the code is a response to "today's challenging business climate" and said, "We hope it will be a model for the profession."
The principles of the code are provided on PwC's Web site. Examples:
- When speaking in a forum in which audiences would reasonably expect that we are speaking as a representative of PwC, we generally state only PwC's view and not our own.
- We offer only those services we can deliver and strive to deliver no less than our commitments.
- We meet our contractual obligations and report and charge honestly for our services.
- We try to balance work and private life and help others to do the same.
The U.S. firm has a special supplement tailored to local needs. In recent years, it has suffered the stings of a series of auditor independence violations and negative publicity associated with multiple rounds of post-merger layoffs. PwC's announcement emphasizes that the code is not a "knee-jerk" reaction to the current crisis of confidence in the financial markets and the accounting profession.
Enforcement issues are addressed on the Web site in a general sort of way. The site says that processes have been put in place to investigate reports of non-compliance, and sanctions will be imposed on those who violate the code.