Reviewing the True Importance of CPA Ethics Courses in Accounting
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One of the most important traits of any successful CPA is maintaining compliance with a broad set of ethical guidelines.
In the accounting world, ethics act as a framework of values that help accountants improve trustworthiness, make ethical decisions, and maintain the overall quality of the profession. These are the main reasons why all state accountancy boards have made it mandatory to pursue CPA ethics courses when it comes to meeting CPE requirements.
While CPAs are essentially required to take and successfully pass CPE ethics courses to keep their license active, there’re accounting professionals who sometimes overlook the importance of following the principles outlined in these courses.
And when a CPA fails to adhere to the ethical guidelines, it affects everyone – from the company he/she is working for and fellow accountants to the company’s clients and stakeholders. Therefore, to avoid these kinds of issues, CPAs must follow ethical standards at all times.
In this post, we’re going to discuss all the essential things related to CPE CPA ethics courses. It’ll help you understand why you should consider these courses as methods to improve your professional competence rather than just means to meet your CPE requirements.
CPAs frequently deal with sensitive information and provide crucial financial services. Therefore, their professional work is heavily reliant on ethics and integrity. If a CPA cannot be considered to be ethical, the value of his/her services is very little. CPAs not only need to fulfill their ethics requirements but should also remain updated on ethical rules and regulations to maintain the profession’s integrity.
By taking offline or online CPE ethics courses, CPAs become knowledgeable enough to apply new state/federal ethical standards and follow the best practices.
When it comes to meeting your ethics CPE requirements, you’ll find that different state boards of accountancy have established different requirements. For example, some boards only recognize their state-specific CPA ethics courses.
However, these states utilize the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct as the backbone of their ethics CPE requirements. The majority of CPE ethics courses encompass the principles established by the Code of Professional Conduct.
Here’s an overview of the key principles that you can expect to learn by taking CPE ethics courses online or offline.
This principle states that all accountants should always exercise professional and moral judgment throughout their work and career. They’re expected to uphold the standards of the accounting profession by valuing confidentiality agreements, acting in the best interest of the profession, and developing a collaborative environment with colleagues.
This principle states that accountants should always maintain public trust and work toward catering to the public interest. In this case, “the public” refers to anyone an accountant serves. This can include governments, clients, credit grantors, the business and financial community, investors, employers, and any other entities that rely on the integrity and objectivity of accountants to maintain the appropriate functioning of commerce. They should always perform what’s right to benefit all interested parties.
In the accounting profession, there remains the opportunity for financial gain originating from client relationships, and hence, CPAs must maintain objectivity and independence. Being objective means accountants should handle all their professional responsibilities without letting any biased opinion impact a decision.
They should also maintain independence in terms of fact and appearance when offering professional services to the clients without letting any personal relationships impact their professionalism. Accountants should be assessing their responsibilities and relationships regularly to maintain the highest levels of objectivity and independence.
This principle requires CPAs to be candid, honest, and maintain the confidentiality of their clients’ financial information. They should refrain from obtaining any personal advantage or gain utilizing the confidential information.
While there’re differences in opinion or errors concerning the applicability of accounting laws, CPAs should keep away from the intentional opportunity to manipulate or deceive financial information. They should carry out professional responsibilities with the highest level of integrity and strive to make the appropriate decision.
This principle notes that accountants should always try to better their ethical competence and perform professional responsibilities to the best of their abilities. They should utilize continuing education, sufficient planning and supervision, performance evaluations, etc., to ensure responsibilities are performed in an ethical manner.
In the NASBA fields of study, the learning activities are divided in two categories – technical fields of study and non-technical fields of study. Technical fields include regulatory ethics, while the non-technical fields include behavioral ethics.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these two types of CPA ethics courses to understand the differences between them.
Regulatory CPE ethics courses focus on the regulatory ethical dilemmas frequently faced by accountants. By taking regulatory ethics courses, you’ll be able to obtain a detailed understanding of the Code of Professional Conduct, as well as its regulations and errors that most frequently impact the CPAs.
You’ll also be able to remain updated on the federal and state-specific guidelines that impact CPAs in public accounting firms and employed in government, industry, and education.
These online CPA ethics courses provide guidance for proceeding through complicated situations where decision-making involves ethical considerations. Behavioral ethics courses will help you learn how to deal with ethical dilemmas and about issues that can affect the decisions. These CPE CPA ethics courses also cover topics such as fraud triangle, whistleblowing, and other similar ones.
These days, the option to attend in-person CPE programs has almost disappeared, making the online option the most sought-after method to meet CPE requirements. Now, if you do a quick online search using a phrase like “CPE ethics courses online,” you’ll see a huge number of sponsors offering these courses.
While there’re websites that compare several CPE sponsors based on their overall features, you’ll hardly find one that compares CPA ethics courses offered by them.
But we don’t want you to invest hours in checking every popular CPE sponsor’s website to learn about these courses. So, we’ve done the hard work, compared the four most popular sponsors’ online CPA ethics courses, and jotted down the results.
Just go through these details, and you’ll get a clear idea of the essential aspects of their ethics courses.
Becker offers a total of 69 CPE ethics courses with prices starting from $29. You’ll be able to earn 1 to 4 credits depending on your chosen course. As per its refund policy, Becker doesn’t accept refund requests past the first 10 days of purchase. You can reach its customer support through phone and a contact form.
Illumeo currently offers 43 CPA ethics courses. The prices start from $24, and you can earn 1 to 4 credits depending on the course. It offers a 30-day refund policy. You can contact its customer support through phone, email, and a contact form.
It presently offers 65 ethics courses with prices starting from 19.99. You can earn 2 to 6 CPE credits depending on the course. It offers a 100% money-back guarantee on self-study courses. You’ll need to contact the team before completing the exam to get the refund. It offers only two options – email and phone – to contact the customer support team.
We, at CPEthink.com, have created a large collection of 113 online CPE ethics courses with prices starting from $12.95. You’ll be able to earn 1 to 20 CPE credits depending on your chosen course. You can contact our customer support team through phone, email, and the live chat feature available on our website. We offer a 100-day, 100% money-back guarantee.
With a huge number of sponsors offering CPA ethics courses, it has become an uphill task to identify the right one. Here, we’ve created a checklist to help you out.
CPE sponsors that don’t want to reveal the physical address of their business may lack credibility. Therefore, ensure that there’s a physical address clearly mentioned on your chosen provider’s website.
You should also see if there’s a phone number and verify it. If the phone is generally answered by an answering machine, it may indicate that the sponsor is a part-time business or only a “storefront” for CPE courses created somewhere else.
Sponsors of CPE CPA ethics courses can either join the NASBA or register with individual state accountancy boards (or both). Make sure that your chosen sponsor has proper accreditations so that your CPE credits will get counted toward meeting your CPE requirements.
Online CPE ethics courses should be reviewed periodically and updated as and when required. See if your preferred sponsor’s courses display a revision date or the date when it was last updated.
Most CPE sponsors offer a 30-day money-back guarantee but having a longer guarantee period is always better. For instance, we offer a 100-day, 100% money-back guarantee to help our customers get enough time to thoroughly review our CPE ethics courses and get their money back if they aren’t fully satisfied. A longer guarantee period will also be helpful if you cannot take a course immediately after purchasing it.
It’s very difficult to predict whether or not a CPE sponsor will go out of business. However, it’s strongly suggested to join a provider that has been in this business for many years. You can always join a new sponsor, but then the risk of it going out of business will be high.
Customer reviews of a CPE sponsor can act as one of the key deciding factors if you can properly analyze them. First of all, you should clearly avoid sponsors that don’t display any customer reviews at all on their websites.
Secondly, see if the reviews appear with the last names of the customers and/or their locations. If the reviews only mention the first names and follow some kind of a pattern when talking about the sponsor or its courses, it’s better to avoid it. These may be some system-generated reviews that will never be able to give you the real picture.
When it comes to pursuing CPE by taking CPE ethics courses online, the process of earning credits becomes different than that of in-person programs. Here, we’ve listed some essential information about self-study CPA ethics courses and live webinars to help you earn credits in a hassle-free manner.
All self-study CPE ethics courses require students to clear the final exam at the end of each course with a particular passing score. If you don’t pass the exam, you won’t receive any credit. While some reputable sponsors offer unlimited attempts to clear the exam, you should try to do it as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary stress later on.
If you attend live webinars, there’ll be no final exam. However, you must fulfill some requirements, such as being present for at least 50 minutes in a 60-minute webinar and answering a certain number of questions to earn credits.
As attending a webinar involves several technical aspects that may hamper your learning and ability to earn credits, it’ll be wise to attend ones offered by reputable sponsors.
Having a robust understanding of the ethical standards, guidelines, and responsibilities is simply non-negotiable for licensed CPAs. By completing CPA ethics courses diligently, not only you’ll be able to strengthen your position in the industry but also maintain the standard of the accounting profession.
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