Bribery Act Guidance Welcomed by ACCA

‘Hospitality is OK’, ACCA reminds the business world

Bribery Act 2010The 1 July 2011 introduction of the Bribery Act will bring a much needed direction to the important area of business law and regulation, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) today, welcoming the publication of the Ministry of Justice’s Bribery Act guidance.

While the recent delays to the Act’s introduction have been criticised by some, it has given the Government a chance to ensure that guidance is clear, and published for the real benefit of businesses large and small.

John Davies, head of technical at ACCA, and an expert in business law says:

“ACCA welcomes the stress placed on the importance of such a top level commitment to anti-bribery practices. Clarification of guidance was always the sticking point, as businesses need to know that they are tackling potential issues with certainty and clarity.”

Speaking about the Bribery Act guidance, John Davies says:

“This revised guidance is much more practical and user-friendly than the first draft and in particular provides the much needed clarity for businesses. It is interesting to see how the Ministry of Justice has made it explicit that hospitality is not prohibited by the Act. The quick view guidance answers the question: ‘Can I provide hospitality, promotional or other business expenditure under the Act?’ with an emphatic ‘Yes’. This was a concern earlier in the year, with businesses wondering whether any kind of corporate hospitality would land them in hot water.”

ACCA says that businesses – especially SMEs – will welcome the emphasis placed in the guidance on proportionality. In light of the guidance, ACCA recommends that businesses review their risk and due diligence strategies. John Davies says:

“Proportionality means that the action businesses should take in putting together anti-bribery controls should be in proportion to the risks they face.”

“However, it’s still a good idea for businesses to complete a risk audit as this is a good way of refreshing working relationships, especially if there are transactions undertaken overseas or with new suppliers. A due diligence review regarding a business’s supplier is also worthwhile, as this will help to focus on any potential problems.”

For further guidance see The Bribery Act 2010 – Quick Start Guide.

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