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Home > Ethics > Ethics Standards for DC CPAs
Prerequisite
None
Knowledge Level
Basic
Copyright 2013

Publication Date
January, 2013
Ethics Standards for DC CPAs
Introduction Organization Learning Objectives Author Bios
Title: Ethics Standards for DC CPAs
Prerequisite: None
Advance Preparation: None
Knowledge Level: Basic
Subject Matter Area: Behavioral Ethics, Regulatory Ethics
Date of Publication: January 2013
Copyright © 2013 by Bisk Education, Inc. All rights reserved.
Recommended CPE Credits: 4 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 their ethical responsibilities to the public that they serve. This program opens with the discussion the specific continuing education requirements CPAs in Virginia must be in compliance with. We then take a look at how the VBOA is responsible for investigating complaints against licensed Virginia CPAs and CPA firms and the process of investigation and resolution. Next, the program discusses Kohlberg's views on ethical development. The course also covers international ethics convergence issues, comparison of the AICPA and IFAC ethics codes, fiduciary responsibilities in terms of some specific AICPA literature, and the AICPA's framework for small and medium-sized entities.

Biskalert
The AICPA Professional Ethics Division issued Proposed Revised and New Interpretations and Proposed Deletion of Ethics Rulings on June 29, 2012. Comments to the exposure draft will be considered by PEEC at its October 25-26, 2012, open meeting and final changes to Interpretation 101-3 under Rule 101 are expected to take effect subsequent to that meeting. Additional changes pending affect Rules 501 and 502 and ethics rulings under Rule 102, 501, and 502. The exposure draft can be reviewed at:

http://www.aicpa.org/interestareas/professionalethics/community/exposuredrafts/downloadable documents/2012juneomnibusproposalaicpaprofessionalethicsdivision.pdf

This course, which outlines the requirements and responsibilities of Virginia CPAs, meets the DC Board of Accountancy's requirement for licensees in DC to have four hours of ethics in continuing education as a condition of relicensing.

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 seven (7) chapters.

Chapter 1 takes a look at the specific continuing education requirements for CPAs in Virginia, as well as enforcement cases for noncompliance and some specific AICPA updates and exposure drafts.

Chapter 2 examines Kohlberg's stages of moral development, additional enforcement FAQs for Virginia CPAs, VBOA policies, and some international ethics convergence issues.

Chapter 3 compares the ethics codes of the AICPA and IFAC, and also takes a look at some AICPA literature on fiduciary duties and small and medium-sized entities.

Chapter 4 discusses some private company financial reporting issues and provides some additional information on the AICPA's framework for small and medium-sized entities.

Chapter 5 explains independence, integrity, and objectivity as it relates to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct.

Chapter 6 covers other AICPA ethics rules.

Chapter 7 examines the various Statements on Standards for Tax Services and discusses the PCAOB ethics and independence rules.

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 designations:

A Biskalert is intended to warn the practitioner of a particular situation that may require action or other consideration by the client or the practitioner on behalf of the client.

A Biskplan offers a strategy/discussion point when a practitioner is faced with a particular issue or situation.

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

A Bisktip provides practical advice that may be used to help improve client service or service to the practitioner's organization.

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

  • Describe the continuing education requirements of Virginia CPAs

  • Explain some of the trends in enforcement and enforcement actions taken against recent regulatory violations

  • Discuss the proposed guidance in some new AICPA exposure draft documents

  • Explain how the guidance in the IRS Circular 230 governs a CPA's practice before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

  • Explain how the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board address audit standards for documentation with respect to organization, workflow, and retention

  • Discuss Virginia's Top 10 Issues for 2013

  • Describe Kohlberg's views on ethical development and how they are helpful in understanding how individuals may internalize moral standards and apply them more critically to resolve ethical conflicts

  • Discuss the rules regarding the use of the CPA title in Virginia

  • Explain the VBOA's policies on social media

  • Discuss international ethics convergence and how the New Code of Ethics will facilitate global convergence

  • Compare the ethics codes of the AICPA and IFAC

  • Discuss the fiduciary responsibilities of CPAs in practice

  • Describe the guidance available for small and medium-sized entities

  • Discuss some frequently asked questions in the area of private company financial reporting

  • Discuss some specific case simulations used to illustrate the application of the Virginia statutes and rules and how they affect licensed CPAs in the state

  • Discuss the components of independence, the risk-based approach to analyzing independence, and the independence rules of the AICPA

  • Identify the restrictions on providing nonattest services to audit and attest clients

  • Describe the circumstances when independence may be impaired because of relationships between an attest client and its affiliates

  • Explain the ethical responsibilities and obligations for CPAs to avoid subordinating professional judgment to that of a supervisor

  • Explain a CPA's ethical obligations to perform professional services with competence and to follow required standards of practice including GAAP

  • Discuss the confidentiality obligation of CPAs including when using a third-party service provider

  • Describe when client provided records, member-prepared records, member work products, and member working papers should be provided to the client

  • Explain the application of other rules of conduct including when contingent fees and commissions can be accepted; advertising and solicitation requirements; and restrictions on the form and name of an organization practicing public accounting

  • Explain the "realistic possibility of success" standard for return positions

  • Describe the standards for issuing an opinion to reflect the results of a tax planning services

  • Discuss when the provision of tax services impairs auditor independence under PCAOB rules

  • Explain when the provision of services related to marketing, planning, or opining on tax transactions violates independence standards

  • Discuss when audit committee pre-approval is required before providing professional services to an audit client


Virginia-Specific Ethics Course 2013 Outline

  1. VBOA Fee Changes – Required discussion and handouts.

    • New Fee Schedule – Effective January 1, 2013
    • Q&A with the VSCPA

  2. Enforcement Cases – Required discussion and handout.

    • Trends
    • Disciplinary actions

  3. AICPA Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC) Update
    • Proposed Revised and New Interpretations and Proposed Deletions of Ethics Rulings
    AICPA Accounting & Review Services Committee (ARSC) Update
    • Proposed Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services

  4. Documentation
    • To include organization, workflow, retention (electronic)
    • AU-C Section 230
    • PRP Sections 4300 & 4400 Quality Control Policies & Procedures
    • SSARS No. 19
    • SSAE No. 11
    • IRS Circular 230
    • Sample links:
      • Auditing Standard No. 3
      • PCAOB Case Study

  5. Virginia's Top 10 Issues for 2013 *

    1. Ownership of Information** – Who owns the information involved in a professional service affects the rights and responsibilities of those involved. It affects confidentiality issues, workpaper ownership and availability, the use of data for research and statistical analysis, oral assurance, and other issues. This affects CPAs in practice, industry, government and academe.
      • Code of Professional Conduct – 501-1 – Records
      • Tax Advisor Articles – Textron case, etc – April 2009, October 2009, May 2010 – Supreme Court Declines to Hear Textron Work Product Privilege Case

    2. VBOA Requirements for Licensure/Renewal
      • Initial License – Individual
      • Initial License – Firm
      • Renew License – Individual
      • Renew License – Firm

    3. CPE Reporting Requirements
      • Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-40
      • Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-90
      • Board Regulation 18VAC5-22-140
      • Summary

    4. Behavioral Ethics
      • Example: Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development

    5. Enforcement FAQs
      • Use of CPA Title in Virginia
      • General FAQs

    6. VBOA Social Media
      • Access/sign up from home page
      • Twitter
      • LinkedIn
      • Facebook

    7. Board Policies

    8. International Ethics Convergence
      • Accounting WEB article – 8/28/09
      • AICPA article – 5/08
      • Journal of Accountancy article – 10/10

    9. Fiduciary Responsibilities
      • AICPA Practice Guide (attached)
      • AICPA/fi360 Publishes Handbook for Investment Advisors
      • AICPA Fiduciary Responsibility Fact Sheet (Available to AICPA members only)
      • AICPA Fiduciary Standard of Care
      • Fiduciary Responsibilities for CPAs in Industry (Available to AICPA members only)

    10. AICPA vs. Private Company Council – "Method of Accounting"
      • AICPA's Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-sized Entities – FAQs
      • AICPA's Exposure Draft – Proposed Financial Reporting for Small- and Medium-sized Entities
      • Private Company Financial Reporting – FAQs

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.

* Virginia's Top 10 Issues for 2013 – 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).

**Ownership of Information – Discussion of this topic should also include confidentiality issues, rule 301 of the Code of Conduct.

    Discussion Topics/Examples:

    • A CPA is asked to provide client data (without identification of the client) for academic or other third-party research or analysis – can he?
    • A CPA in industry moves to another employer. What information can he take with him for use there (i.e., client lists, accounting methods, calculations, or records)?
    • An auditor applying analytical procedures on a client would like to compare ratios to those of another client in the same industry, can he?
    • A CPA is the auditor for two companies that do business with each other. Can he/should he look at the records of one to provide evidence on the audit of the other?
    • A banker calls the CPA and asks questions regarding the financial statement he compiled. Can he provide assurance to its accuracy?

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).

http://www.boa.virginia.gov/Docs/2013EthicsCte_EnforcementCases.pdf

http://www.boa.virginia.gov/Docs/FeeQAwiththeVSCPA.pdf

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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