Florida Ethics CPE For CPAs
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Ethics plays an important role in ensuring people trust accountants for whatever responsibilities they carry out. There’s no shortage of incidents where we can see how unethical behavior has ruined the careers of CPAs and brought huge fines and expenses to the organization they worked for.
As with all other U.S. states and jurisdictions, CPAs licensed in Florida are also required to meet Florida CPA ethics requirements to maintain the active status of their license. However, when it comes to pursuing Florida CPA ethics, you must keep some vital things in mind.
But you don’t have to search for and read multiple articles to learn about them, as we’ve created this piece covering all the important elements of Florida CPE ethics. Just continue reading, and you’ll have a clear comprehension of ethics for Florida CPAs.
Here’re the key reasons why every Florida CPA must focus on doing ethical accounting.
· Governing bodies in the accounting field have outlined various ethical rules and guidelines that govern CPAs’ professional activities. By adhering to these rules and guidelines, CPAs can prevent the misuse of sensitive information of their clients.
· With the help of CPAs, who perform ethical accounting, businesses and organizations in Florida can build the right image in the industry. This typically leads to better performance and expansion of business.
· For the accounting field itself, ethical accounting helps to build a better professional environment. This is because by pursuing Florida CPA ethics, every accountant develops a proper mindset to maintain ethical standards whenever they carry out professional responsibilities.
· For accountants in the state, fulfilling Florida CPA ethics requirements diligently and on time demonstrates their dedication to maintaining the standard of the field. This essentially helps them get more respect and experience faster professional growth than accountants who fail to follow the principles of ethical accounting.
Florida has a biennial reporting period, meaning you need to earn 80 CPE credits every two years. Here’re the guidelines for Florida CPA ethics CPE.
· You need to earn four CPE credits in Florida CPA ethics every two-year reporting period. These credits get counted toward meeting your total Florida CPE requirement.
· To meet your Florida CPA ethics requirement, you must take Florida CPA ethics-approved courses. This means the Florida CPA ethics courses you take have to be approved by the Florida Board of Accountancy.
· The Florida CPA-approved ethics courses need to include a review of Florida Statutes, Chapters 455 and 473, and associated administrative rules.
· If you take two Florida CPE ethics courses to meet your Florida CPA ethics requirements, you must take them from the same CPE sponsor.
· You can pursue Florida ethics CPE online by taking self-study courses, provided the sponsor is approved by NASBA’s QAS. And as with all self-study courses, you need to pass the Florida CPA ethics exam at the end of each course to earn credits.
· CPE reciprocity is granted by the Florida Board of Accountancy to nonresident licensees trying to get their license renewed. If you belong to this league, you must fulfill these requirements:
o You’ve fulfilled the CPE requirements in your last completed reporting cycle in the state where your office is located.
o If the state of your principal place of business doesn’t have any CPE requirements, you must adhere to all Florida CPE requirements. You’ve to meet Florida CPA CPE ethics requirements in the same way Florida CPAs do.
· You can take Florida CPA ethics courses online, and attend webinars and on-site seminars and conferences to earn Florida CPE ethics credits. But you cannot meet your Florida CPA ethics requirements by publishing materials.
· If you don’t meet your CPE requirements, including the Florida CPA ethics requirement, by 30th June, the Florida Board of Accountancy automatically grants you an extension until 15th September, provided you earn additional 8 CPE credits in A&A subjects. It also automatically grants you an extension until 31st December, provided you earn additional 16 CPE credits in A&A subjects.
· You should report Florida CPA ethics to DBPR online together with your other CPE details.
Now that you’ve got a fair idea of Florida CPA ethics rules, let’s see what you can expect to learn by taking Florida CPA ethics-approved courses.
· Different principles outlined in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
· Types of discreditable acts mentioned in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
· Obligations of an accountant associated with disclosing confidential information
· Policies that may be applicable to the disclosure of confidential information
· The characteristics of misleading or false promotional activities
· An accountant’s obligations regarding the delivery of financial records to a client
· An accountant’s obligations regarding conflicts of interest
· Different kinds of threats to the ability of an accountant to adhere to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
· Restrictions of the Florida Board of Accountancy on who may share an opinion on financial statements
· Fines associated with different types of breaches of the rules of the Florida Board of Accountancy
· Various general standards that Florida CPAs must adhere to
The AICPA is one of the governing bodies of the CPA profession. No matter whether you hold the AICPA membership or not, it’s important to have a clear concept of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct.
It has six key principles that help accountants maintain high ethical standards. Here’re brief overviews of each of them. You can learn about these in detail when taking Florida CPA ethics courses.
· Professional responsibilities
According to this principle, accountants always need to exercise professional and moral judgment when carrying out professional responsibilities. They have an obligation to all the people who receive professional services from them. They also have an obligation to maintain the standards of the accounting profession.
This principle also directs accountants to collaborate with other accountants to improve the practices and image of the profession. The responsibilities also include public education, helping both the general public and clients comprehend the standards, limitations, and roles of accountants.
· Objectivity and independence
Objectivity signifies that accountants should carry out their every professional responsibility free of conflicts. They also need to maintain independence in terms of appearance and fact when discharging professional responsibilities.
Objectivity and independence are inter-connected. Objectivity is handling situations with a free of conflicts state of mind, while independence signifies being able to carry out professional responsibilities with an objective mindset.
Although an accountant may exhibit independence in their appearance, acting independently requires them to remain free of potential conflicts, both in mental attitude and in action. Accountants should constantly evaluate their professional relationships and responsibilities to ensure they’re maintaining the highest levels of objectivity and independence.
This principle notes that accountants need to be honest while maintaining client confidentiality at the same time. They need to carry out all professional responsibilities with the maximum sense of integrity in order to maintain public trust.
Integrity should always be used as a benchmark when accountants make decisions. They should always do their best to make the appropriate decision, even when there are conflicts of interest. Accountants should also stay away from any kind of misrepresentations, including misstatements by overlooking obtainable information or by omission when delivering professional duties.
· The public interest
This principle mentions that accountants should perform activities in manners that’ll serve the public interest while maintaining public trust. In the accounting field, the “public” stands for governments, investors, creditors, employers, clients, as well as the business and financial community as a whole. Accountants have to strive to maintain the collective well-being of all these parties.
When accountants strive to maintain public interest by following the guidelines, everyone gets benefitted.
· Due care
According to this principle, accountants should constantly observe the ethical and technical standards of the accounting profession and strive to improve the quality of services and their competence. They should also carry out professional responsibilities to the best of their abilities.
This principle emphasizes that accountants should constantly pursue continuing education, particularly regarding the profession’s generally accepted practices. It also mentions that accountants should offer professional services within their level of competence and area of expertise.
· Scope and nature of services
This principle notes that when accountants discharge professional duties to their clients, they need to review whether or not those services can be provided while complying with the professional standards we mentioned above.
If they cannot, the scope of work shouldn’t contain those services. Basically, accountants should only accept jobs from clients who are willing to work within the professional, ethical, and technical standards outlined in the guiding principles.
A large part of Florida CPA ethics is governed by the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. And the “Code” covers all types of roles that a CPA may carry out in their profession. When adhering to Florida CPA ethics rules, you need to see which particular category you fall into and act accordingly.
Here’re the three main categories pertaining to the roles of CPAs.
· Members in business
Members in business refer to the accountants who work on a volunteer or contractual basis as staff or executives. This group also includes accountants who work in advisory, governance, and administrative roles in the public sector, industry, not-for-profit, education, professional, or regulatory bodies.
You should note that this isn’t the same as the members in public practice that we’ll discuss next. If an accountant is in public practice as well as in business, they need to consult the Code’s section related to “members in public practice.” This section specifies the ethical considerations that accountants working as members in business need to make.
· Members in public practice
Public practice refers to the act of carrying out professional services by an accountant or an accountant’s firm for a client. This group also includes government auditors, as long as they fulfill the particular criteria outlined in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct.
This section notes the ethical considerations that accountants working in public practice need to make.
· Other members
This category includes accountants who are neither in business nor in public practice. This section specifies the ethical considerations that need to be made by those CPAs.
Doing an online search using something like “Florida CPA ethics” will help you get the names of many CPE sponsors who offer Florida CPA ethics courses. But as Florida CPA ethics requirements are slightly different than those of many other states, you should carefully consider the details of a course before taking it.
Here’re two important factors that you should consider.
· Approval from the Florida State Board of Accountancy
We’ve already mentioned that to meet your Florida CPA ethics requirements, it’s a must to take Florida CPA ethics-approved courses. Therefore, no matter if you want to pursue Florida ethics CPE online or offline, the course has to be approved by the Florida Board of Accountancy.
While the majority of Florida CPE ethics course sponsors clearly mention on the product page that the course has proper approval, some may not disclose this information. When in doubt, you should contact the Florida Board of Accountancy to learn the actual status of a course.
· Approval from NASBA (for self-study courses)
If you plan to pursue Florida CPE ethics by taking self-study courses, make sure the sponsor has approval from NASBA’s QAS. You can check out NASBA’s National Registry of CPE Sponsors to see whether or not your preferred sponsor’s name is listed there.
If it isn’t there, you need to search for another sponsor. This is because when it comes to pursuing Florida CPA ethics through self-study courses, the provider must have QAS approval.
As you can see, the key objective of pursuing Florida CPA ethics is to build confidence to steer clear of all kinds of ethical dilemmas when carrying out professional responsibilities. Florida CPE ethics programs are designed to equip you with all the information required to maintain the ethical standards of the accounting profession.
If you have any more questions related to ethics for Florida CPAs or our online Florida CPA ethics courses, contact us now, and we’ll be happy to answer your queries.
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