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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Basic Professional Values and Ethics

Accounting is not just a course but a profession.

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.
To ensure the highest quality of performance and to maintain public confidence in the profession, PICPA has adopted the IFAC Code of Ethics(with certain modifications).

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.

References :
PICPA New Code of Ethics for CPAs

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