Nov 25, 2019

Help Shape the Future of Professional Ethics

By Michael D. Colgan, PICPA CEO and executive director

All Pennsylvania licensed CPAs are required to complete four hours of ethics updates each licensing period as part of the overall continuing professional education requirement. Some PICPA members have wondered whether enough changes occur between licensing periods to populate a new course every two years. I can assure you that there is no shortage of topics being discussed. In fact, your input could help shape the content of our ethics training moving forward.

Bad actor stealing and lying about it.The PICPA participates in the Joint Ethics Enforcement Program (JEEP) with the AICPA. Changes to the rules and interpretations in the profession’s Code of Conduct frequently originate from the AICPA Professional Ethics Executive Committee (PEEC). PEEC recently released a consultation paper detailing its three-year strategy and work plan, and it is seeking CPAs to provide comments. The PICPA is fortunate to have two representatives on PEEC, Marty Levin and Jim Newhard, and 16 active members on PICPA’s professional ethics committee who will provide input.

The AICPA is actively seeking additional input from others on the strategy and work plan. The PEEC developed its consultation paper so AICPA members and other interested parties could review and comment. After the comment period has concluded and PEEC has evaluated the input, PEEC will prioritize the most significant items of public interest and publish future projects in the AICPA Professional Ethics Division’s project agenda at www.aicpa.org/PEEC.

Some of the proposed new standard-setting projects include the following:

  • Business relationships
  • Definition of “office”
  • Client affiliates
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Simultaneous employment or association with an attest client
  • Digital assets
  • 529 college savings plans
  • De minimis fees

There are also updates on other current projects being pursued by PEEC. There is an obvious need to update rules and interpretations to align the profession with its ongoing transformation and the impact of technology on the delivery of services.

This is a great opportunity to make sure your voice in heard in helping PEEC shape its future discussions. Within the consultation paper, each of the above projects includes two or three questions to elicit feedback. The AICPA must receive responses by Feb. 28, 2020. It will be sure all written replies to the consultation paper become part of the AICPA’s public record, with each available on the PEEC Project Activity page. PEEC will consider comments at meetings subsequent to February 2020. You can send your comments to ethics-exposuredraft@aicpa.org.

If you are still in need of this biennial reporting period’s ethics requirement, the PICPA has numerous options to choose from

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Statements of fact and opinion are the authors’ responsibility alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of PICPA officers or members. The information contained in herein does not constitute accounting, legal, or professional advice. For professional advice, please engage or consult a qualified professional.