Characteristics distinguishing a profession:
- Mastery of a particular intellectual skill, acquired by training and education;
- Adherence by its members to a common code of values and conduct established by its administering body, including maintaining an outlook which is essentially objective; and
- Acceptance of a duty to society as a whole.
The code mentions the accountants' responsibility to the public, as follows:
- Independent auditors should help maintain the integrity and efficiency of financial statements.
- Financial executives contribute to the efficient and effective use of the organization’s resources.
- Internal auditors provide assurance about sound internal control system which enhances the reliability of the external financial information of the employer.
- Tax experts help to establish confidence and efficiency, and the fair application of the tax system.
- Management consultants have a responsibility toward the public interest in advocating sound management decision-making.
According to the code, a professional accountant shall comply with the following fundamental
(a) Integrity – to be straightforward and honest in all professional and business relationships.
(b) Objectivity – to not allow bias, conflict of interest or undue influence of others to override professional or business judgments.
(c) Professional Competence and Due Care – to maintain professional knowledge and skill at the level required to ensure that a client or employer receives competent professional services based on current developments in practice, legislation and techniques and act diligently and in accordance with applicable technical and professional standards.
(d) Confidentiality – to respect the confidentiality of information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships and, therefore, not disclose any such information to third parties without proper and specific authority, unless there is a legal or professional right or duty to disclose, nor use the information for the personal advantage of the professional accountant or third parties.
(e) Professional Behavior – to comply with relevant laws and regulations and avoid any action that discredits the profession.
Note: Click the links for detailed discussion.
PICPA New Code of Ethics for CPAs