The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is an organization that provides voluntary membership to more than 350,000 certified public accountants (CPAs) from 128 countries. With so many CPAs belonging to the association, the code of professional conduct is typically used to discuss the ethical obligations of the CPAs. The principles of the code of professional conduct are responsibility, public interest, objectivity and independence, due care, and scope and nature of services. The three most important purposes are integrity, public interest, and due care.
The code of professional conduct defines the public interest to include clients, credit grantors, governments, employers, and investors. These entities rely on the CPA for their objectivity and integrity to maintain the function of commerce. The CPAs are also called upon to resolve conflicts between stakeholders by recognizing the primary responsibility of the CPA to the public (Mintz, 2011).
Integrity is “the element of character fundamental to professional recognition” (Brown, 2007). Integrity gains the trust of the public and is served honestly and candidly within the constraints of confidentiality; not subordinating trust of the public to personal gain or advantage; observing the form and spirit of technical and ethical standards; and observing the principles of objectivity and independence and of due care (Mintz, 2011). Integrity is also the benchmark against a member of the AICPA to test the decisions made by any CPA.
Due care calls for the improvement in the level of competency and quality of services. This is done by the CPA performing their services professionally and to the best of their ability. The CPAs must carry out responsibilities with concern for the best interests of the persons receiving the services. The code of conduct states: “CPAs must carry out responsibilities in accordance with the public interest” (AICPA: American Institute of CPAs, 2004). It is the due...
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