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Ethics and Independence

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1. All in a dishonest day’s work  

BY Deborah K. Rood, CPA and Gretchen McCole
It’s difficult to believe, but sometimes CPA firm employees, and even partners, steal from clients. While a CPA firm’s leaders may believe this would never happen to them, claim experience in the AICPA Professional Liability Insurance Program demonstrates this does occur. Consider these claim scenarios:SCENARIO 1A CPA firm provided bookkeeping and bill-paying services to several clients.

2. Ethics made easier: How to use the revised AICPA Code of Professional Conduct   CPEDirect

BY Ellen Goria, CPA, CGMA
Six months ago the managing partner of your firm retired, and the remaining partners divided up his responsibilities. One of his responsibilities was handling consultations on independence and ethics matters. For some reason, none of your partners wanted that responsibility, so you grabbed it, since researching these issues is now much easier using the online version of the revised AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (the code) (

3. Highlights of ethics research  

BY Cynthia E. Bolt-Lee, CPA, Yi- Jing Wu, CPA, Ph.D. and Aleksandra B. Zimmerman, CPA/ABV
Corporate ethics and auditor ethical decision-making have garnered considerable attention in academic research following the corporate scandals of the early 2000s, the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002, and the financial crisis of 2008–2009. This article summarizes the findings and observations from recently published research in prominent accounting, auditing, and business academic journals.CORPORATE ETHICS AND COMPLIANCE PROGRAMSWhat is the state of corporate ethics today? What is the future of corporate ethics programs? James Weber and David Wasieleski attempted to answer these questions in their article, “Corporate Ethics and Compliance Programs: A Report, Analysis and Critique,”

4. Revised AICPA code of ethics … What’s the fuss?  

BY Ellen Goria, CPA, CGMA
Imagine you are the director of finance for a manufacturing company based in New York. Your company’s major customer stops by one morning and drops off two tickets to Friday night’s Rangers game in Madison Square Garden. You are excited but have a nagging feeling that is unrelated to the fact that you have to break it to your wife that instead of taking her, you plan to take your friend who is a “real hockey fan.” Later that afternoon you realize what that nagging feeling was.

5. Lessons learned: Practical tips to help avoid common EBP audit and reporting errors  

BY The AICPA Professional Ethics Division
Some of the most common deficiencies in employee benefit plan (EBP) audits are inappropriate scope limitations due to an improper certification from the trustee or custodian and overreliance on the certification.Under certain circumstances, plan management is allowed to instruct the auditor to limit the scope of auditing procedures on investment information that has been certified by qualified institutions as complete and accurate.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.
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