RESTATEMENT OF THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
by John E. Kolesar Partner, Pittsburgh Office
Presented before the Pittsburgh Chapter, Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants— November 1972
It is a well-established fact that knowledgeable and responsible critics, both within and without our profession, are seriously questioning the profession's independence and its ability to sustain effective self-discipline. We frequently hear such statements as "Unless the profession manages to discipline its members, some outside body will." In some states, consumer representatives are already sitting on State Boards of Accountancy. In Harrisburg today the matter is being seriously considered by our State Department of Professional Licensure.
Questions are frequently raised as to what the profession is doing about the many well-publicized liability suits where it is alleged that the auditors were deficient in the performance of their work. Until recently considerable criticism has been focused on the inadequacies of accounting principles to prevent misleading accounting and reporting practices.
Currently, however, there is a growing concern on the part of critics that the more important and fundamental problem is one of inadequate performance of the attest function. They imply that one or more of the following conditions exist:
1. The profession is not maintaining an acceptable level of independence.
2. The profession's adherence to generally accepted auditing procedures and reporting standards is deficient.
3. Generally accepted auditing procedures are not wholly adequate.
The inadequacies of generally accepted accounting principles and auditing standards may not be a direct concern of the AICPA Division of Professional Ethics, but maintaining independence and adherence to these principles and standards falls squarely within the concern of that Division.
Recognizing the need to make our Code of Professional Ethics and our disciplinary procedures more creditable to the general public, the AICPA