Founded in 1887, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), a voluntary association of CPAs, created a strict code of professional conduct (AICPA, 2012, pg. 1). The purpose of the code of conduct is to discuss the ethical obligations of CPAs and to provide guidance and rules to the members. The AICPA code consists of six principles or purposes for which the members abide, honor, and respect. “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 principles are integrity, objectivity, and due care.
Integrity is a key element in the AICPA Code. Integrity requires every member to remain honest and true to the need of client confidentiality. The integrity principle forces each member to look at his or herself and determine if his or her actions and decisions are right or wrong and portray the spirit of technical and ethical standards. As stated in section 54 of the AICPA 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” (AICPA, 2012, pg. 1).
Objectivity is in close relation to integrity and therefore the next key purpose of the AICPA Code. “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, pg. 10). When CPAs develop a close and personal relationship with clients; their thoughts and decisions may become biased and unethical. They may become tempted to alter or hide facts and documents to help out the client, rather than remaining professional and doing what is right. It is highly important for CPAs to remain independent from their clients and maintain the ability to