Standard Issues: AICPA
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has created a code of professional conduct that all certified public accountants must follow. This code of conduct lists the responsibilities CPAs have when working with a company's financial information. The AICPA also includes information regarding the integrity, objectivity, independence and due care that CPAs must use when working in the accounting industry. The AICPA offers an ethics course for accountants to refresh their understanding of accounting ethics. The AICPA professional code of conduct is designed to protect the individual and users of the company’s financial information. The accounting scandals of Enron, WorldCom and Sunbeam during the early 2000s highlighted some significant deficiencies regarding individual accounting ethics. In order to combat the negative perceptions of the accounting industry arising from these scandals, the AICPA began focusing more attention on developing the ethical standards of individual accountants. The professional code of conduct requires CPAs to exhibit unwavering ethical behavior in the business environment.
Although the AICPA code of professional conduct is an ethical standard governing the public accounting industry, private companies may also choose to develop an accounting ethics manual. Companies can choose to use the AICPA code of conduct as the basic framework for their internal accounting ethics manual. They may also choose to create or develop specific standards for their employees to follow when handling sensitive financial information. This manual can help companies prevent significant legal liabilities from employee actions.
A written ethical code of conduct for accountants benefits more than just the individual company or public accounting firm. Companies operating under strict accounting ethical standards may be able to increase their relevance or economic footprint in the business environment through the...
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