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Ethics and Independence

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1. Independence is in the eye of the beholder  

BY Sarah Beckett Ference, CPA
The independence of CPAs is the hallmark of the profession. As such, accountants put forth significant focus and effort to comply with independence requirements related to everything from investments to business and employment relationships to services delivered to clients. But being what accountants call independent in “fact” isn’t enough.

2. User-friendly AICPA Code of Ethics on horizon  

BY Ellen Goria, CPA
Ethical decisions often need to be reached quickly, but the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct (ethics code) is not structured for quick and easy navigation. A proposed reformatted ethics code is meant to change that. AICPA members are invited to comment on the proposal until Aug. 15. The current ethics code started as eight rules that fit on one sheet of paper and was adopted April 9, 1917, by the American Institute of Accountants, predecessor of the AICPA.

3. User-friendly AICPA ethics code on horizon   WebExclusive

BY Ellen Goria, CPA
Ethical decisions often need to be reached quickly, but the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct (ethics code) is not structured for quick and easy navigation. A proposed reformatted ethics code is meant to change that. AICPA members are invited to comment on the proposal until Aug. 15. The current ethics code started as eight rules that fit on one sheet of paper and was adopted April 9, 1917, by the American Institute of Accountants, predecessor of the AICPA.

4. Struggling European nations seen as more corrupt, report shows   WebExclusive

BY Neil Amato
In most parts of the world, perceived corruption of countries has remained the same during the past year. That’s good news in New Zealand, Denmark, and Finland, viewed in general as the most transparent. It’s more of the same for Somalia, North Korea, and Afghanistan, viewed as having the highest perceived corruption in the public sector.

5. Obstacles make PCAOB’s Hanson skeptical about mandatory audit firm rotation   WebExclusive

BY Ken Tysiac
PCAOB member Jay Hanson said Tuesday that he struggles to see how the board would ever be able to create a mandatory audit firm rotation requirement for the U.S. public company auditors it regulates. During a question and answer session at the AICPA Conference on SEC and PCAOB Developments in Washington, Hanson said that many obstacles to mandatory audit firm rotation make its implementation unlikely.

6. Ethics / Compilation & review  

Two AICPA committees extended comment deadlines to Nov. 30 on recently proposed revisions to professional standards. The proposed change to the ethics rules would require CPAs who prepare financial statements for attest clients to apply the general requirements of Interpretation No. 101-3, Nonattest Services, to maintain their independence.

7. Ethics IQ quiz   CPEDirect

BY Shannon Ziemba, CPA
The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (AICPA Professional Standards) is an ever-evolving document. Periodically, the JofA publishes answers from AICPA Professional Ethics Division staff to questions asked by AICPA members via the Institute’s Ethics Hotline or on topics related to revisions to the code. This set of questions and answers deals with application of the code both to members in business and to members in public practice.

8. Comment deadlines extended on proposed professional standard revisions   WebExclusive

Two AICPA committees are extending comment deadlines to Nov. 30 on recently proposed revisions to professional standards. The proposed change to the ethics rules would require CPAs who prepare financial statements for attest clients to apply the general requirements of Interpretation No. 101-3, Nonattest Services, to maintain their independence.

9. Proposed revisions clarify responsibilities for preparers   CPEDirect

BY Mike Glynn, CPA and Ellen Goria, CPA
In accordance with recently proposed revisions to professional standards, CPAs who prepare financial statements for clients would consider that a nonattest bookkeeping service and would no longer be required to perform a compilation service with respect to those financial statements unless engaged to do so. The changes, proposed in June by two AICPA committees, would require CPAs who prepare financial statements, but are not engaged to perform a compilation, review, or audit, to request that management include a label or notation that makes clear that the financial statements were not compiled, reviewed, or audited.

10. Bridging the ethical divide: Survey finds firms lagging  

BY Jack Hagel
More organizations are voicing a commitment to ethical performance, but their proclamations do not appear to be matched by action—a disconnect that is emerging as financial professionals are facing more pressure to act unethically. That ethical divide was among the key findings of Managing Responsible Business: A Global Survey on Business Ethics, which was released by the AICPA and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in May.
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