AICPA Based Ethics CPE For CPAs
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Whether you work for an organization, run your own firm, or work independently as a CPA, you must adhere to a set of ethical standards. And to maintain good conformance to these standards, you need to have a clear, to the point understanding of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct.
Since the code is nearly two hundred pages long, internalizing the key points is quite a difficult task. And that’s where the AICPA based CPA ethics programs come in handy. These AICPA ethics courses typically summarize the rules, standards, and principles of ethical accounting, helping to make your actions and decisions ethically sound.
In this post, we’re going to thoroughly review all the key aspects of AICPA based CPA ethics to help you gain a detailed insight into the importance of the code.
So, let’s get started.
The purpose of taking offline or online AICPA ethics courses can be divided into two segments. The first one is related to maintaining your CPA license, and the second one is related to the accounting profession as a whole.
All the U.S. states and territories require their CPAs to earn a certain number of CPE credits in ethics during their licensing renewal period. While some of the states only acknowledge state-specific ethics courses, other states and territories require their CPAs to take AICPA based CPA ethics courses. Therefore, if you’re licensed in the latter group, it becomes mandatory for you to take in-person or online AICPA based CPA ethics programs.
Moreover, adherence to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct is a must for all AICPA members. And as you perhaps already know, many accounting firms and large organizations place a high degree of importance on this membership when recruiting CPAs and promoting employees to senior positions. So, in many instances, AICPA based CPA ethics programs can improve your employability to a good extent.
CPAs frequently deal with the financial details of organizations and individuals. Some assist their clients with tax planning, while others deal with million-dollar transactions. By taking AICPA based CPA ethics online or offline courses, accountants strengthen their knowledge of the fundamental ethical principles. This helps them maintain public trust and exhibit fairness and honesty, both of which together help to improve the overall quality of the accounting profession.
By taking AICPA based CPA ethics courses, you should typically be able to perform the following things efficiently:
· Applying the latest AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
· Recognizing the importance of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
· Applying AICPA rule interpretations related to confidentiality, objectivity, integrity, and advertising
Whether you plan to take an AICPA ethics course online or offline, it’ll encompass the key principles outlined in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct.
Here’re the brief overviews of the principles.
· Public interest
According to this principle, accountants need to deliver their responsibilities while prioritizing the public interest in their decisions. They should also exhibit their commitment to professionalism while honoring the public trust. Note that the term “the public” comprises governments, investors, employers, credit grantors, the business and financial community, clients, and other people who depend on accountants’ objectivity and integrity to facilitate the smooth functioning of commerce. The public interest principle also gives insights into the pressures that may arise from the public and emphasizes the fact that accountants have to maintain due professional care, integrity, objectivity, and a true interest in fulfilling the needs of the public.
This principle mentions that accountants need to exercise thoughtful moral and professional judgments in each of their activities when delivering their responsibilities. They’ve to act in a way that helps the public maintain confidence in the industry, continuously try to improve the profession, and comprehend the responsibilities of self-governance. Accountants should always remember that their actions impact many people within the industry and beyond it.
· Objectivity and independence
Accountants always need to follow objectivity and independence and stay away from any conflicts of interest when delivering professional services. Being objective means acting impartially when carrying out professional responsibilities and using professional judgment when engaging with the client.
Being independent means precluding relationships that may obstruct an accountant’s objectivity when offering professional services.
To maintain integrity, accountants have to be honest and straightforward in all their professional and business relationships. They should never associate themselves with any information that they think can be misleading or materially false. If no specific standards or rules are available, they must maintain their integrity through their decisions.
· Due care
According to this principle, accountants should always observe the technical and ethical standards of the accounting profession while continually trying to improve their competence and the quality of their services. They should also act responsibly when offering professional services, as much as they can. Practicing due care means keeping the client’s best interest in mind while carrying out responsibilities with competence and diligence.
· Professional competence
The ever-evolving field of accounting requires that accountants build new skills to improve their competence in professional responsibilities. With the modification in technologies, best practices of the industry, and information security considerations, it has become essential for accountants to stay up-to-date. They should always be aware of the developments in the field that may influence a decision’s outcome. This is the reason accountants must prioritize pursuing CPE (Continuing Professional Education).
As CPAs need to earn a significant number of CPE credits each year, it’s quite understandable if you find it difficult to take care of every minute detail regarding ethics courses. However, earning CPE credits in AICPA based CPA ethics will be easier than you think if you remember the following things.
· Approval from your state accountancy board
As mentioned earlier, you must ensure that the offline or online AICPA based CPA ethics course you want to take is approved by your state board. Although many states recognize an AICPA based CPA ethics course, some states only accept courses that are approved by their own accountancy boards.
If you aren’t sure, you can always visit the official website of your state accountancy board or email them to know which ethics course it accepts.
· Proper documentation of the records
You must obtain a certificate of completion from your provider of the in-person or online AICPA ethics course after completing the program successfully. Also, your state board of accountancy may request this certificate to verify that you’re complying with the requirements. Since these requests can generate anytime, be sure to document all your records properly.
According to the NASBA, CPAs should keep all their certificates for a minimum of five years. You should ensure that your certificate of completion contains these pieces of information.
o Your name
o Date/duration of the program
o Name of program
o Total hours of attendance
o Field of study covered
o CPE credits/hours
o Proper reporting of credits
Just as you’re responsible for maintaining proper documentation of your AICPA ethics courses, you’re also responsible for reporting this activity accurately. This means you must report the credits earned from the courses to your state board.
It’s important to note that your state board will only count the CPE credits earned from an authorized CPE sponsor. Therefore, you’ve to be very sure about the credibility of a CPE sponsor before joining it.
The first step to earning your CPE credits in AICPA based CPA ethics is to find the right sponsor. However, with thousands of them operating in the market, it becomes difficult to understand which sponsor you should choose.
While searching for the best platform for taking an online AICPA ethics course, consider verifying the following things.
· Proper approvals from governing bodies
Taking an online AICPA based CPA ethics course or attending a webinar on the subject will be simply useless if it isn’t approved for CPE. So, the first thing you need to do is ensuring that your chosen sponsor has the required approvals from governing bodies such as NASBA for providing continuing professional education.
· Number of available courses
Needless to say, you’ll have to earn a significant number of CPE credits in many other subjects other than AICPA based CPA ethics. Therefore, it’s always a smart idea to choose a sponsor that has a large course library. It’s also important to see if the content library is updated regularly and if the courses cover the latest topics in the industry. In other words, you should choose a CPE provider that can help you fulfill all your CPE requirements from one place.
· Number of authors and presenters
Expert and experienced CPE authors and presenters are central to great learning. Without these kinds of authors, course materials often become hard to internalize. Typically, if a CPA sponsor has a significant number of expert authors experienced in different fields, then you can have different choices when it comes to choosing the courses you want to take.
For instance, at CPEThink.com, we have a large team of more than thirty authors who come with years of professional experience in many different fields. As a result, we have an extensive course library covering almost every aspect of the accounting field.
· Different modes of learning
Thanks to technological advancements, today, you have different modes of learning to pursue AICPA based CPA ethics. From self-study courses and live webinars to in-person programs and virtual conferences, you can choose a mode of learning that suits you better.
When it comes to earning CPE credits, different state accountancy boards may have different requirements. With some boards, CPAs can earn all their required CPE credits from self-study courses, while some may limit the number of CPE credits/hours their CPAs can earn using this mode of learning.
A large number of CPE sponsors only offer self-study courses. That’s good enough as long as it helps you meet all your requirements. But if your state board requires you to also use another mode of learning, live webinars, for example, you’ll have to search for other sponsors that offer live webinars. So, try to choose a sponsor that offers different modes of learning.
· Ease of use of the platform
When it comes to pursuing AICPA based CPA ethics online, the ease of use of the platform plays an extremely important role. No matter how large the course library or how exceptional the quality of the content is, it’ll be impossible to have a good learning experience if the platform is hard to navigate.
Even on the websites with a large number of courses, you should be able to find a course with great ease. There should be an explainer video, self-help filter, or search option to help you find the required courses quickly rather than browsing many pages just to find a couple of courses. You should also be able to view a short description of each course to see what it covers.
One way to verify this is to check the user reviews of the sponsor. From there, you’ll obtain a clear understanding of whether or not the platform offers a good user experience.
· Fair pricing
AICPA based CPA ethics courses are expensive. Therefore, it’s strongly advisable to compare multiple sponsors before paying a too high price instantly. There are several providers, including CPEThink.com, that offer CPE subscriptions that will help you take online AICPA ethics courses at prices much lower than their individual ones.
As you can see, AICPA based CPA ethics courses aren’t only sometimes mandatory for you to keep your license active, but they’re also extremely relevant to your employment/practice and profession as a whole. When choosing an AICPA ethics course, just try to remember the things we discussed in this article, and you should be able to find the right one quickly and easily.
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