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daily there are new stories about businesses and their professional advisors being accused or investigated for unethical behavior. These events around the country have heightened the public’s awareness of the need for increased attention to all ethical business practices by professionals.
While, investigations of alleged unethical conduct of these high-profile firms show that most have established ethical policies or guidelines in place, they failed to follow their own written policies. Ethical responsibilities start at the top of every organization and must be adhered to on a daily basis. Doing ‘the right’ thing is not just a slogan but a behavior to which every professional within the organization must adhere.
A key point to remember about business ethics is that in spite of having a detailed written Code of Professional Conduct, ethics programs and manuals do not make ethical decisions.Individuals make the ethical choices. As professionals we should provide the ‘environment’ and the ‘culture’ within our firms to reward individuals for acting ethically at all times. We should also be seen as taking a leadership role within the business community that signals unethical practices will not be tolerated.
As leaders in the financial world, CPAs have created an even higher level of assurance as it pertains to our professional conduct. The interpretation of financial data and its application to complicated regulatory statutes has added a new level of transparency to our conduct. As such our governing body, the AmericanInstitute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has structured and instituted professional standards for all CPAs to follow in their professional life
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