Professional ethics

Comment deadlines extended on proposed professional standard revisions

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. The

Proposed revisions clarify responsibilities for preparers

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

Bridging the ethical divide: Survey finds firms lagging

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

PCAOB invites additional comments on audit firm rotation

The PCAOB is soliciting further public comment on its concept release on auditor independence and mandatory audit firm rotation in anticipation of a public meeting on the issue Thursday in San Francisco. The comment period for the concept release was reopened Monday and will be extended through July 28. The

Audit rotation debated in House subcommittee hearing

Members of Congress asked pointed questions of PCAOB Chairman James Doty on Wednesday as the hot topic of mandatory audit firm rotation was debated during a wide-ranging discussion of accounting and auditing issues in front of a House subcommittee. Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., the chairman of the House Subcommittee on

PCAOB panelists say mandatory firm rotation could be harmful, helpful

Panelists voiced opposing views of mandatory audit firm rotation Wednesday during the first of two days of PCAOB hearings on the concept. Critics of mandatory rotation said it would be costly with questionable benefits, while proponents said rotation would increase auditors’ objectivity. Many panelists proposed strategies other than rotation that

PCAOB reopens comment period on audit firm rotation concept release

The PCAOB has reopened its comment period regarding a debated concept release on auditor independence and audit firm rotation. The original comment period closed Dec. 14. The new deadline is April 22, the PCAOB said Wednesday. The board extended the deadline to incorporate comments following a March 21–22 public meeting

European Commission Proposes Regulatory Changes for Audits

The European Commission today proposed sweeping regulations that would, if approved, trigger major changes in the relationships between European public companies and their auditors. The changes include: Limiting to six years the period that an outside auditing firm can perform audits for a company. A cooling-off period of four years

PCAOB Opens Discussion on Audit Firm Rotation

The PCAOB on Tuesday launched a new phase of its examination of potential limits on audit firm tenure with public companies. The board voted to issue a concept release on the topic. It plans to gather feedback by mid-December and hold a public forum on the issue in March 2012.

Improving the Code of Professional Conduct

The AICPA’s Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) is undertaking a project to recodify the Institute’s ethics standards. The Ethics Codification Project’s primary focus is to improve the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct so that members and others can apply the rules and reach correct conclusions more easily. To achieve this,

Proposed Changes to GAO's Yellow Book Promote Harmonization of Auditing Standards

In August, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued proposed standards revising Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), commonly known as the “Yellow Book.” The update revises the July 2007 Yellow Book and is expected to be effective for audits beginning after Dec. 15, 2011, with the exception of the financial

Ethics Story Wins Best Article Award

Martin A. Leibowitz and Alan Reinstein received the JofA’s Lawler Award for the best article of 2009. Their article, “Help for Solving CPAs’ Ethical Dilemmas” (April 2009, page 30), discussed the AICPA’s guide to help CPAs comply with rules 102–505 of its Code of Professional Conduct. Leibowitz is a faculty

Highlights of Finance and Accounting Ethics Research

Ethical behavior is difficult for any researcher to measure and analyze, especially in real-life situations. Results are often imprecise due to the challenges inherent in quantifying what is ethical and what is not. Much of the work done is theoretical, and involves either creating or applying ethics models. To draw

Test Your Knowledge of Professional Ethics

Many AICPA members have expressed confusion about provisions covered under Interpretation 101-3, Performance of Nonattest Services, of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. For example, what nonattest services can a CPA perform for an attest client? What are the requirements involving management responsibilities to oversee the project? This quiz is

Comparing the Ethics Codes: AICPA and IFAC

Sharp increases in the number of multinational audits being performed by U.S. accounting firms means that more CPAs are performing services under the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) audit and attest standards. Although auditors must comply with the specific standards adopted in each jurisdiction, familiarity with IFAC’s International Ethics Standards

Test Your Knowledge of Professional Ethics

Periodically the JofA publishes questions on ethics topics that have been raised by AICPA members via the Institute’s Ethics Hotline. This set of questions and staff answers deals with the application of the Code of Professional Conduct (AICPA Professional Standards). 1. A CPA firm has a partner who is “semiretired.”


The AICPA Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) released exposure drafts of revisions to guidance regarding the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (the Code). The EDs make clarifying revisions to an ethics ruling under Rule 301, Confidential Client Information, and to two interpretations and one ethics ruling under Rule 101, Independence.

Understanding Internal Control and Internal Control Services

This white paper written by Thomas A. Ratcliffe and Charles E. Landes and prepared by the AICPA Audit and Attestation Standards and Professional Publications teams seeks to clear up confusion among practitioners relating to the concept of internal control over financial reporting. It describes the concepts of internal control (specifically

AICPA to Release Proposed Revisions to Ethics Rules

The AICPA Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) voted on Thursday to release exposure drafts of revisions to guidance regarding the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (the Code). The EDs, which will be released this month for a 60-day comment period, make clarifying revisions to an ethics ruling under Rule 301,

International Board Releases Revised Ethics Code

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) on Friday issued a revised version of its Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants that strengthens auditor independence requirements. The IESBA is an independent standard-setting board of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). The revised code, which is effective Jan. 1, 2011:


Building client loyalty with payroll services

In this report, CPA experts detail their tactics for performing successful payroll services, how to mitigate risk in the process, and the impact payroll can have as a value-added service.


Using drones to enhance audits

Hermann Sidhu, CPA, global assurance digital leader at EY, walks us through EY’s exciting new project to use drones to help audit large warehouses and outdoor inventories.