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January 19, 2015
AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is a voluntary association of CPAs. It has members with numbers around 350,000 of 128 different countries. This association was founded in 1887 creating a strict code of conduct for CPAs to follow. The purpose of the code is to discuss ethical obligations and give guidelines and rules to it’s members in order to help them maintain professionalism with the public. It describes values that are based on common principles and virtues. The AICPA includes six principles in which the group honors and respects. “The principles include responsibilities; the public interest; integrity; objectivity and independence; due care; and scope and nature of service” (Mintz & Morris, 2011, pg. 10). The three most important are integrity, objectivity and due care.
Integrity is a solid set of moral values that a person lives by under almost any circumstance. It is much more than being honest. As stated in section 54 of the AICAP code, “Integrity is the quality for which the public’s trust derives and the benchmark against which a member ultimately must test his or her decisions.” (AICAP, 2012). While working as a CPA it is a necessity to build a good name, for your reputation is everything. It is essential that while forming relationships with clients they know confidentiality is high on the list. It is also important for the public to know that decisions will be made without the interest of personal gain or advantage.
Objectivity is closely related to integrity and is why it is the next important principle of the AICPA. “Objectivity requires that all CPAs maintain a mental attitude of impartiality and intellectual honesty and be free of conflicts in meeting professional responsibilities.” (Mintz & Morris, 2011). The public must know that as their accountant one will make the best decisions based upon the facts. Biased and unethical choices may become easier to make as an accountant forms close bonds with their clients. It is necessary for a professional to keep temptation under control when altering information or documentation can help a friend/client. An accountant must have the ability to decipher between the two and do what is right.
Due Care is the next