AICPA code of conduct, professional ethics, and other standard setting bodies
Professionals in accounting play a major role in the society. Professionals in accounting could enhance their role in the accounting profession by abiding by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ code of conduct and professional ethics. Their responsibilities goes to all those make use of their services and therefore the need to act professionally and under guidance of specific ethical behaviors is of great importance. Other than the professional code of conduct and professional ethical behavior, other bodies enhance the accounting profession in the US and across the globe. This paper analyses the AICPA code of conduct, professional ethics, and other standard setting bodies. In the paper, an instance of ethical dilemma would be established alongside ethical decision-making models.
In the accounting profession, one has to understand the constituents of the profession and working terms. A professional accountant would encounter clients, grantor, the government, employees, employers, investors, business community, the financial communities, and other participants who benefits from the accounting services (AICPA, 2010). A collaboration of all these players act as one to promote, define, and maintain an orderly functioning of commerce. Again, the interest of the public is collectively integrated with the community wellbeing.
An ethical dilemma would come in some case. An example of ethical dilemma in the accounting profession is during the discharging of professional responsibilities of accountants. In this case, members may encounter some conflicting pressure from the various groups, which benefit from the profession. A solution is however available for any conflict arising due to the cases discharging the professional responsibilities (AICPA, 2010). The solution only comes in from the side of the members in which case they should act under guidance from perspectives that whenever members make fulfillment of their responsibilities specifically to the public, employees and clients are served in the best way possible.
Relying on public accountants happens with expectations of the accounting professionals to discharge their responsibilities guided by much integrity and based on certain objectives. This happens due to the professional care that is always requires in accounting that goes hand in hand with a genuine interest of serving the public. Accountants are always expected to provide high quality accounting and auditing services (Allen, 2011). In the same profession, accountants are expected to enter into various fee arrangements while offering a range of services. While this is the requirement from the public and all those benefiting from the accounting profession, adjustments is being initiated in the profession to develop better values, codes of conduct and ethical practices of accountants.
Changes in the AICPA code involve rewriting as well as restructuring the code of conduct and ethical issues surrounding the accounting profession. Changes in this case are happening to the AICPA code just like the case of FASB in creating its own Accounting Standards Codification (Allen, 2011). This project by AICPA is however in a smaller scale and is aimed at making user access simpler through establishment of ways of reorganizing the authoritative United States GAAP into one or single code that is searchable.
The code for AICPA is considered technical due to its complex confinement. It has some of its subjects scattered about its codes thus making it too complex to its member as well as other user in terms of understanding their consideration of all its standards (Sterrett, 1997). Apart from this complexity, a substantial amount of ethnic guidance that is non-authoritative is found far outside the AICPA code. All these issues generate an aspect of ethical dilemma and interference in ethical decision-making.
In the international connections, members of International Federation of Accountants, typically abbreviated as the IFAC, and those of AICPA have an agreement in having ethical standards that are compliance with the standards set by International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, the IESBA. The AICPA code has been converging with the code of ethics established by IESBA. This trend has been happening for over a decade with the PEEC being adopted by AICPA as its authoritative conceptual framework on ethical standards (Allen, 2011).
The adopted conceptual framework by AICPA was done to help its member in complying with ethical requirement in decision-making such as the definition of several concepts as well as terms by the AICPA. This organization also provides its members with instances of threats and the actions towards safeguarding the effects of these threats (Allen, 2011). Ethical aspect in decision-making involves instances of threat detection by members within their compliance in which case the member would make use of the framework, make evaluations based on the threat significance, and then proceed by establishing whether to apply safeguards in eliminating the threat, he, or she would act in a way that would eliminate it. The issue behind this is whether the system of relying on members’ judgments is effective or not.
There is however little or no doubt that the designed conceptual framework is effective and adequate in providing basis for achieving stronger codes. In this case, the proof lies because a good conceptual framework lays a foundation for various rules as well as adding consistency beside discipline to the members’ analysis especially in situations whereby no rules are used in addressing a situation. The conceptual framework is therefore great and worth adopting to promote stronger AICPA code and ethical practices within the accounting profession (Sterrett, 1997). The framework is great but one should note that its usability is limited to overcoming existing prohibitions or even requirements that are contained within the AICPA code of conduct and ethical practices by public accountants.
AICPA. (2010). CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT. Article II—The Public Interest Vol.54, No.04 , 1963-2068.
Allen, C. (2011, June ). Improving the Code of Professional Conduct: Revised structure, wording will make ethics standards more consistent. Retrieved February 26, 2013, from ETHICS / PROFESSIONAL ISSUES: http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/Issues/2011/Jun/20113740.htm
Sterrett, J. E. (1997). Professional Ethics. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting at St. Paul, Minn., October Fourteenth–Seventeenth. American Association of Public Accountants , 108-133.