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Renew your pledge: CPAs can respond to turmoil with a renewed commitment to ethical standards.

The past two years have been tumultuous for the accounting profession. To move forward in a way that is viable and credible,everyone in the profession must recommit themselves to our principles of professional conduct and communicate these values to the public.


As a CPA in California and CalCPA member, you have agreed to abide by CalCPA's Code of Professional Conduct, which conforms to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and the regulations set forth by the California Board of Accountancy. These rules and regulations are not just for auditors: the code applies to all CPAs.

Additionally, California CPAs are required every six years to take a course hi professional conduct and ethics to review principles and discuss how they impact CPAs.

The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct states the principles by which we should act and the responsibilities we have to our clients, colleagues and the public. According to the code, these principles "guide members in the performance of their professional responsibilities and express the basic tenets of ethical and professional conduct. The principles call fur an unswerving commitment to honorable behavior, even at the sacrifice of personal advantage."

So, regardless el the personal costs, the code must be upheld. It may mean a loss of a job or client, but if the profession is to move forward, then we must bear that cost.


Don't wait six years to review your practices, in the past year at the regulatory level there have been many changes that affect all of us, not just a few large firms. With the demise of Authur Andersen and numerous business failures over the past year, it's time that we review the policies and procedures within our offices as they relate to communicating the Principles of Professional Conduct to our staff and to our clients. Do we train those around us to know and carry out the principles in their daily activities?

A CPA is charged with considering the public interest first, along with objectivity, independence and integrity. While we are not always required to be independent, we are always required to maintain integrity--with our clients and staff--in all things that we do. How do you teach your firm or business to uphold these principles of professional conduct?

In addition, I challenge committee chairs, as well as the CalCPA leadership to continually review what their committees do to uphold the principles of professional conduct.

How are you protecting the public interest? When you examine accounting principles or government accounting principles, do you consider how it will affect the public interest and the public trust? Or do you review those principles in terms of how much they going to cost you as CPAs or how much they are going to be a burden upon you and your clients?

I challenge each of you to take a few minutes to download the Principles of Professional Conduct from the AICPA then periodically review them so you have an understanding of them, can communicate them to those around you and integrate them into your practice as a CPA.

Promises, Promises ...

The following are experpts from the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct:


.01 Membership in the American Institute 0t Certified Public Accountants is voluntary. By accepting membership, a certified public accountant assumes an obligation of self discipline above and beyond the requirements of laws and regulations.

.02 These Principles ... guide members in the performance of their professional responsibilities and express the basic tenets of ethical and professional conduct. The Principles call for an unswerving commitment to honorable behavior, even at the sacrifice of personal advantage.

SECTION 52-ARTICLE I: Responsibilities

In carrying out their responsibilities as professionals, members should exercise sensitive professional and moral judgments in all their activities.

.01 As professionals, certified public accountants perform an essential role in society. Consistent with that role, members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants have responsibilities to all those who use their professional services.

SECTION 53-ARTICLE II: The Public Interest

Members should accept the obligation to act in a way that will serve the public interest, honor the public trust and demonstrate commitment to professionalism.

.01 The accounting profession's public consists of clients, credit grantors, governments, employers, investors, e business and financial community, and others who rely n the objectivity and integrity of certified public accountants to maintain the orderly functioning of commerce.... The public interest is defined as the collective well-being of the community of people and institutions the profession serves.

.02 In discharging their professional responsibilities, members may encounter conflicting pressures from among each of those groups. In resolving those conflicts, members should act with integrity, guided by the precept that when members fulfill their responsibility to the public, clients' and employers' interests are best served.

.03 Those who rely on certified public accountants expect them to discharge their responsibilities with integrity, objectivity, due professional care, and a genuine interest in serving the public.

Curt Eakin, CPA, of Curt R. Eakin, CPA, P/C, is chair of CalCPA's Committee on Professional Conduct. You can reach him at crecpaapc@aoL com.
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Title Annotation:Professional Ethics
Author:Eakin, Curt
Publication:California CPA
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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Next Article:California dreamin': CalCPA chair shares his vision for rebuilding the public's trust.

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