Accountants are often faced with situations that challenge their ethical principles and standards. Failure to respond to these situations appropriately can lead to severe consequences, such as legal and reputational damage.
Public accountants are expected to uphold their professional skills, honesty, and integrity at all times. They must adhere to the fundamental ethical principles set forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Code of Professional Conduct. However, a myriad of factors such as their nature of work may sometimes put them ethically at risk and become vulnerable to sanctions. Keeping themselves free from conflicts and ensuring transparent business relationships can also be challenging.
Today’s workplace can be a minefield for professional accountants because of the many behavioral expectations and higher ethical standards. To help CPAs overcome current and new ethical dilemmas, codes of professional conduct promulgated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and other major organizations are continuously enhanced. This underscores the importance of ethical conduct to ensure that public trust is protected and strengthened across various accounting roles and activities. Thus, accountants should be well-versed with updated ethical guidelines and principles and be able to apply them in everyday situations.