"A society without truth— and the related quality of trust— will not long endure." — from the Preface
Ethics in corporate America has become a bottom-line issue. Scandals such as the junk bond debacle in the late '80s and the recent bankruptcy of Orange County, California, graphically illustrate just how devastating losses from corrupt business practices can be. Closing the rift between a company's public and private face, its avowed as opposed to actual behavior, is now more than ever the concern of the accountant.
Examining a firm's business records and practices has traditionally placed the accountant in the role of watchdog. And in a corporate world where ethical ambivalence can complicate even the most routine business decision, a trusted accountant can guide a company toward a revived sense of purpose, showing it how to live up to its own expressed ethical standards— leading the way to new business, increased profits, and cost savings. Ethics and the CPA details just how an accountant can assess a company's ethical health as part of a rigorous accounting regimen— and institute corrective measures.
The book begins by clearly defining the accountant's role in the area of "ethical services," with specifics on establishing and performing an audit on an ethics-based program for business, governmental, and not-for-profit entities. Issues such as the specific knowledge, competencies, and attitudes essential to the professional providing ethical services are also discussed.
The second part of the book takes the ethical pulse of the contemporary business environment, analyzing some notable ethical failures in well-known companies as well as the range ofregulatory demands on CPAs, including the requirement for finding unethical/illegal behavior (SAS 82) and SEC oversight responsibilities. Also included are the results of an ethics survey report on CPAs given to state CPA societies, regulatory bodies, and industry.