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Home > Ethics > Ethics Standards for Virginia CPA
Prerequisite
None
Knowledge Level
Basic
Copyright 2014

Publication Date
March, 2014
Ethics Standards for Virginia CPA
Introduction Organization Learning Objectives Author Bios
Title: Ethics Standards for Virginia CPAs
Prerequisite: None
Advance Preparation: None
Knowledge Level: Basic
Subject Matter Area: Behavioral Ethics, Regulatory Ethics
Date of Publication: March 2014
Copyright © 2014 by Thompson Reuters/Tax & Accounting. All rights reserved.
     Textbook & Video Online: 2 QAS/Registry (based on 50-minute hour)
     Textbook Only 2 QAS/Registry (based on 50-minute hour)
Expiration Date: One year from date of receipt to complete program and submit quizzer to obtain credit
Passing Grade for Quizzer: 70 percent or higher


With the number of negative, but high-profile cases gaining attention in recent years, it is imperative that practitioners be well-versed and clear as to the ethical responsibilities to the public that they serve. This program opens with a discussion of ethical behavior and the moral development model. The course continues with a look at the various rules and requirements that CPAs need to be in compliance with, including the requirements of the Virginia State Board of Accountancy and the AICPA Principles and Rules of Conduct. We close the program with a discussion of the AICPA Statements on Standards for Tax Services and the PCOAB Independence rules.

Use of Materials

DVD
The user should begin by watching the DVD segment, if any, for the chapter before reading the text. The user may wish to make notes of the most important concepts and any terms that are new. Next, the user should review the learning objectives at the beginning of the chapter and read the chapter. The user should work through each of the examples. It may be helpful to highlight important material and/or to make additional notes. Next, the user should complete the study questions at the end of the chapter and review the answers. If the user answers a study question incorrectly, s/he should review the section of the text that is indicated at the end of the explanation to the study question to assure comprehension of the material. The user should review the learning objectives once more to consider achievement of the objectives. After the user has finished watching the DVD and reading the text and working through the study questions, s/he may wish to review her/his notes and any sections of the text or DVD that were difficult. When the user is ready, s/he should complete the quizzer. Reviewing notes periodically will increase retention of the material.

Online
The user should begin by watching the streamed video segment, if any, or listening to the streamed audio segment, if any, for the chapter before reading the text. The user may wish to make notes of the most important concepts and any terms that are new. Next, the user should review the learning objectives at the beginning of the chapter and read the chapter. The user should work through each of the examples. After the user has studied each chapter, s/he should click on the link at the left to complete the interactive study questions. If the user answers a study question incorrectly, s/he should review the section of the text that is indicated at the end of the explanation to the study question to assure comprehension of the material. The user should review the learning objectives once more to consider achievement of the objectives. After the user has finished watching the streamed video, if any, or listening to the streamed audio, if any, and reading the text and working through the study questions, s/he may wish to review her/his notes and any sections of the text or video/audio, if any, that were difficult. When the user is ready, s/he should click on the link to the left to complete the quizzer. The user's CPE certificate will be provided immediately upon successful completion of the quizzer.



This program is divided into five (5) chapters and two appendices.

Chapter 1 focuses on the definition of, and influences on, ethical behavior and the moral stages of reasoning.

Chapter 2 provides a VBOA update on issues such as use of the CPA title, and new VBOA statutes, regulations, and policies.

Chapter 3 examines the enforcement cases processed by the VBOA.

Chapter 4 takes a look at Virginia's top 10 issues for 2014, as well as a CPA's responsibilities to the public as described in the AICPA Principles of Professional Conduct, and the PCAOB Rules.

Chapter 5 contains a glossary that defines frequently used key terms.

Appendix A covers Title 54.1, Chapter 44 of the Virginia Code of Conduct.

Appendix B discusses VBOA Regulation 18VAC-22.

Helpful Guidance

Throughout this program, the user will find explanations and discussions regarding some of the issues that often face practitioners. In order to enhance the user's comprehension of the material and highlight important practical considerations, this program includes the following designation:

A Biskpoint presents analysis or commentary that attempts to explain or clarify authoritative guidance.

Upon successful completion of this program, the user should be able to:

  • Identify the ten myths and common misconceptions about ethical behavior

  • Explain the Principles of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and how they guide licensed CPAs in the performance of professional services

  • Discuss the moral stages of reasoning in Kohlberg's Model of Moral Development

  • Discuss the requirements for licensing and substantial equivalency in Virginia

  • Describe when it is appropriate to use the CPA title

  • Describe the types of complaints investigated by the Virginia BOA

  • Discuss some current violations and the resulting VBOA actions

  • Discuss VBOA complaints received related to confidential client information

  • Explain specific actions that can violate the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct

  • Discuss the specific PCAOB Rules and how they prescribe ethical behavior for CPAs



Virginia-Specific Ethics Course 2014 Outline

  1. General Ethics – Required discussion and handouts.

    • Myths/Common misconceptions (see handout)
    • Behavioral Ethics (hierarchy)
      • Legal aspects
      • AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
      • Moral Stages of Reasoning
      • Social good

  2. VBOA Update – Required discussion and handouts.

    • Licensing and CPE
      • Use of CPA Title in Virginia
        What is the substantial use of accounting? (see handout)

    • New VBOA Statutes
      • 54.1–4424. Certain information not to be made public.
      • 54.1–4425. Time for filing complaints against CPAs or CPA firms.

    • Board Policies

    • Statutes vs. Regulations vs. Policies

  3. Enforcement Cases – Required discussion and handout.

  4. Virginia's Top 10 Issues for 2014**

    1. AICPA Financial Reporting Framework for SME's (Decision Model)

    2. Confidential Client Information
      • Email etiquette/encryption (see relevant Enforcement Cases)

    3. Industry Issues
      • Enforcement
      • Non-profits (see optional handout)

    4. SOX Redux
      • Industry
      • Public
      • Auditor Independence

    5. Tax Transparency (see optional handouts)

    6. AICPA Comfort Letters

    7. AICPA Professional Code of Conduct Update
      • Independence – ET Section 100, Rule 101 of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
      • Planning and Supervision – ET Section 201, Rule 201.01 (C) of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct

    8. Conflict of Interest (see optional handouts)
      • Federal Acquisition Rules

    9. AICPA – SSARS – Preparation vs. Compilation

    10. SEC Whistleblower Rules
      • AICPA Ethics Hotline – 1-888-777-7077

    For Participants:

    If the participant is not satisfied with the content of this course, the instructor, or does not believe that the course satisfies the requirements of this outline, the participant is encouraged to contact the VBOA at boa@boa.virginia.gov, or by calling (804) 367-0728.

    For CPE Providers/Course Instructors:

    Notes: CPE providers must provide a copy of this outline to each participant. It is recommended that CPE providers make cases and other materials available to participants in advance, e.g., by posting them on provider websites.

    Important: CPE providers should urge participants to monitor the VBOA website for updates and information regarding the VBOA. CPE providers should also urge licensees to register with the Virginia Town Hall to receive automated VBOA regulatory updates (www.townhall.virginia.gov).

    * Providers must check the Board's website periodically for changes to the Virginia-specific outline. The Board is currently discussing potential changes to licensee statuses, to include the CPE exemption.

    ** Virginia's Top 10 Issues for 2014 – Awareness of Regulatory Issues Relative to Virginia CPAs. Provider/Instructor may use discretion as to topic selection from the provided list. Practical situations, potential solutions and examples must be included and illustrated with short scenarios or simulations. Course content (topic selections) should be tailored to best suit the audience (private and/or public practice).

Steven M. Mintz, PhD, is a professor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. His expertise is in ethics and he teaches a course in accounting ethics at Cal Poly. Dr. Mintz is the holder of a PhD in Accounting and International Business from George Washington University, an MBA in Management Sciences from Syracuse University, and a BS in Accounting from Long Island University. He was certified in New York State but no longer practices as a licensed CPA. Dr. Mintz writes a popular ethics blog under the name, Ethics Sage. The website is: http://www.ethicssage.com. He has been interviewed by publications such as The New York Times because of his expertise in ethics. He has published about 30 papers in business and accounting ethics and made dozens of presentations on ethics topics to academic and professional groups. His textbook, co-authored with Roselyn Morris, Ethical Obligations and Decision-Making in Accounting: Text and Cases (2nd edition), was published by McGraw-Hill Irwin in 2011. The book is used in about 40 colleges and universities in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Mintz serves on the Ethics Curriculum Committee of the California Board of Accountancy that is charged with identifying 10-units of ethics education to be part of the state's 150-hour educational requirement. (Author/Speaker)

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