accountants and business advisers
Chief Executive Officer
05 Jan 2018
It may be difficult to imagine professional accountants and auditors regularly facing ethical problems in their daily routines, as they seem to have relatively straightforward jobs with clear guidelines. But the truth is many individuals - such as business owners and government officials - rely on the work of accountants and auditors, which places priority on their accuracy and reliability. Therefore, accountants and auditors can face several ethical problems when the credibility of their work is at stake.
Professional accountants must conduct themselves to comply with the standards associated with their profession. They must understand their client’s business, report any discrepancies, and complete their work on time to the typical high standards. Accountants also have a professional obligation to their clients to do their job so that it reflects the complete financial truth. They must use physical documents from the company, and keep detailed records of what calculations they used, what account updates were made, and so forth. If they use an assistant, the accountant must verify that he/she oversaw and checked everything the assistant did, or this may reduce the reliability of the overall accounting work and financial statements. Indeed, it may be easier to disregard these procedures, but doing so goes against the ethical responsibilities accountants have to their profession. Failing to do so can result in the loss of reputation, time, and revenue for the client, who may incur further costs associated with the lack of responsibility and work ethic of the accountant.
Auditors produce reports and opinions that are critical to a multitude of business decisions, which means they potentially face ethical issues that could prevent them from producing trustworthy work. It is essential for auditors to have complete information about the business, which may require them to physically visit the business establishment, and use methods that are suited to the type of business they are dealing with; for example, a sales business as opposed to a service business. Within their reports, auditors must include necessary evidence with supporting explanations of discrepancies, risk assessments, and investigations into any problematic areas of the business. When the auditor ignores these procedures, their work can be deemed as untrustworthy, and may cause unnecessary misunderstanding and harm to their client.
In a nutshell, professional accountants and auditors must take pride in their work by ensuring that they are constantly complying with the regulations established by the Federation of Accounting Professions, or they could face dire consequences. The punishment for misconduct ranges from a letter of warning, to revocation of their license, jail time, and disbarment from the Federation of Accounting Professions. In short, professional accountants and auditors should be proactive and stay up to date with the current procedures and standards of their profession, thereby producing consistent high-quality work and avoid any penalties.
If you have any queries or concerns in this respect please feel free to contact PKF.
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