The AICPA professional code of conduct is a collection of codified statements that outline accountants’ ethical and professional activities. The code establishes general standards that determine how auditors are expected to undertake their responsibilities in relation to the accounting profession. The general standards outlined by the AICPA professional code of conduct include the need to exercise due care in rendering professional services, the need of auditors to render professional services with professional competence, the need to obtain relevant and sufficient data related to professional services before making any decision, and adequately planning and supervising the performance of the professional services rendered by a given entity.
Professional competence implies that an accountant has the necessary competence to provide or deliver effective professional services concerning general standards. The concept implies the level of understanding and knowledge that an auditor may have gained to help him or her ineffective decision making. The concept also establishes responsibilities limits for auditors. Exercising due care requires accountants to continually strive to improve the quality and competence of the professional services rendered (Avdeev, Nassiripour, & Wong, 2019). The main objective of due care is for accountants to render quality professional services. As such, the concept implies that the code of conduct requires auditors to always render professional services to their best ability, and in relation to the entity’s objectives.
Accountants and auditors are obliged to plan and supervise the performance of professional services rendered. The main objective of this standard is to ensure that accountants render professional services in honesty and within the constraints of the customers’ confidentiality. The standard requires accountants or auditors not to subordinate the customers’ trust for their benefits and advantage; rather, they should render improved and quality professional services to sustain the customers’ trust. Moreover, the standard requires individuals to observe ethical and technical standards in the accounting profession (Avdeev, Nassiripour, & Wong, 2019). Moreover, obtaining sufficient and relevant data concerning professional services rendered enable individuals in the accounting profession to maintain objectivity. Despite accountants and auditors serving multiple interests at different capacities, the general standard requires them to maintain objectivity in every circumstance encountered in rendering professional services.
The general standards of the AICPA professional code of conduct are referenced in the four ethical guidelines for accountants, including integrity, objectivity, confidentiality, and competency. Integrity ensures that auditors render professional services to the customers with responsibility, diligence, and honesty and that they observe the laws as stated by the accounting profession’s general standards. Additionally, integrity ensures that auditors contribute to the ethical objectives of an organization. Moreover, objectivity ensures that auditors do not participate in illegal activities that may impair their professional judgment, or that may be presumed to be biased according to an organization’s objectives (Mintz, 2018). Besides, confidentiality ensures that auditors protect the information gained about a service rendered, and does not use it for personal gain. Competency also ensures that auditors engage in rendering professional services they have the necessary understanding and knowledge about, and continue to improve on the quality and effectiveness of services rendered.
Auditors are also required to render professional services with independence. They are not required to develop relationships or engage in illegal activities that may impair their judgments. This certainly would ensure that auditors contribute to the legitimate and ethical objectives of an organization.
Avdeev, V., Nassiripour, S., & Wong, H. (2019). Case Study: Ethical Considerations of an Accounting Professional. Journal of Leadership, Accountability, and Ethics, 16(2). Retrieved from https://articlegateway.com/index.php/JLAE/article/view/2017
Mintz, S. (2018). Accounting in the Public Interest: An Historical Perspective on Professional Ethics. The CPA Journal, 88(3), 22-29. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/b20ddaac7a00be2af2b7667201ce7ad2/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=41798