The American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA) Code of Professional Conduct is a body of principals that has a goal to guide Certified Public Accountants (CPA’s) in the “performance of it professional responsibilities” (Mintz, 2011). The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct has six essential principles and they are: Responsibilities, the Public Interest, Integrity, Objectivity and Independence, Due Care, and Scope and Nature of Services. Each of these principles is meant to be followed by the members of the AICPA.
These articles are used to explain the responsibilities that CPA’s have to clients, colleagues and to the public. The first principle, Responsibilities, protects the public of irresponsible and immoral behavior. The Public Interest makes sure the public’s best interest is protected. The third and fourth principles guarantee that the trust of the public is greatest served; integrity, honesty and confidentiality are of highest importance, as well as objectivity and impartiality.
The fifth principle deals with the level of quality service and competence that the public receives and deserves. The sixth principle ensures that CPA’s have good internal controls put into place, and makes sure that CPA’s are unbiased and free of conflict when performing an audit for a client. These principles are put into place to protect the public and also to protect CPA’s, because as they follow them they will ensure that their practice is honest, responsible, and ethical, allowing no leeway for unethical behavior.
The most important purposes of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct are to honor the public’s trust, to enforce the ethical obligations of the CPA’s and to provide guidance in the performance of the professional responsibilities. Although it appears seemingly simple, honoring the public’s trust is not always a first priority for many within an organization.
The AICPA principles places the public’s trust first, as one must for all CPA’s, and makes it important that CPA’s act in the best interest of the public, even if it does not serve in best interest of the CPA. By behaving ethically, CPA’s show respect for the public and its interest, and they are able to carry out their duties and commitments to the public. Finally, CPA’s have the obligation to perform their responsibilities to the public to the best of their ability, putting always first the best interest of the public.