Even though the AICPA has an official code of professional conduct, there are still accounting professionals that fail to follow the code. A good example for this is Richard A. Causey, former chief accountant officer of Enron, who was found guilty of security fraud in 2005.
When CPAs demonstrate a lack of self-discipline, it affects businesses, clients, stakeholders and fellow accountants. So in order to avoid issues like these, what are some of the things accountants should keep in mind when it comes to ethics? According to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, here are the requirements you must consider at all times.
Accounting professionals are expected to continue the profession’s traditions by maintaining a collaborative environment with colleagues, valuing confidentiality agreements and acting in the best interest of accounting.
The Public Interest
To respect the AICPA’s ethical guidelines, CPAs must look after the public interest and honor the public trust. In other words, the well-being of the people and institution should be the accountant’s main priority.
All decisions must be made under the principle of integrity. If a rule or guideline is non-existent in a specific situation, accountants must use their best judgement to act with integrity in a way that values the standard codes.
Objectivity and Independence
Being objective is not letting any biased opinion affect a decision. Independence, on the other hand, is not letting any personal relationships affect the professionalism of the CPA. The accountant should always avoid conflicts of interest that could affect their objectivity.
Ethical professionals should constantly try to improve themselves and their profession by delivering high-quality services that satisfy the client’s needs. It is also important for accountants to keep improving in their education to keep up with the latest trends and best practices that will allow them to perform in an adequate level.
Scope and Nature of Services
Accountants should know when to refrain from providing their services to a certain client or company if the second party fails to demonstrate an ethical behavior overall. To achieve this, accountants should only work with companies that have internal quality and regulations and avoid providing services that could generate conflict of interest.
Every year, Surgent presents a variety of webinars that help accountants stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices within the profession. To attend our next webinar on Ethical Considerations for the CPA, visit our website and register.