AICPA proposes revised ethical standards for CPAs in business
The AICPA has proposed revisions to ethical rules applicable to AICPA members employed outside of public accounting who are responsible for recording, maintaining, or approving financial and other information.
As proposed, members employed in business must prepare information that:
- Complies with accounting principles and reporting frameworks, if applicable.
- Does not intentionally mislead or inappropriately influence contractual or regulatory outcomes.
- Accurately represents the true nature of the business transactions and activities presented.
This standard would be applied to both financial and non-financial information that the member is associated with, including financial statements, risk analysis, budgets and forecasts, information provided to internal and external auditors, and tax returns. Failure to follow the above standards — such as knowingly including misleading information, or pressuring or directing others to do the same — would violate the ethical standard.
These safeguards include communication with management or governance, consultation with auditors or legal counsel, and “disassociating” from the information.
While current ethical standards already require members in business to exercise due care and competence and exhibit objectivity and integrity when performing their duties, the proposal expands and clarifies those responsibilities. It also includes specific safeguards to be taken if a member believes information associated with him/her does not meet the standard. These safeguards include communication with management or governance, consultation with auditors or legal counsel, and “disassociating” from the information.
The proposed rules would apply to all members employed outside of public accounting, including those employed by or serving in governance roles for businesses, not-for-profit entities, and municipalities and will be effective when published. The exposure draft is accessible on the AICPA website and the Professional Ethics Executive Committee is accepting comments on the proposal through April 17.