Professional Ethics for CPAs (4 hrs)

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Course Description

Professional Ethics for CPAs

CPAs are professionals that are required to make ethical decisions daily when performing their duties. Ethics are moral principles or values that tend to be unique to each individual and are used to shape decisions. Ethical standards are based on ethical principles. All CPAs are required to apply ethical principles to their practice and to the services they provide. This course identifies why it is crucial for all CPAs to practice ethics and to solve ethical dilemmas that they encounter. Part one of this course will identify the need for ethics in the CPA profession and the ethical principles that all CPAs are required to comply with when performing their duties. This course will review ethics rules, regulations, and entities that provide ethics enforcement for CPAs. Part 2 of this course will review the principles of the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct. It will identify when independence is considered to be impaired and define discreditable acts.  It fulfills a 4-hour ethics requirement in states that do not require a state-specific ethics course.

State Ethics requirements

Course Information

Price: $39

Course No. ECPE04
Format: Online pdf (105 pages). Printed book available.
Author: CE Solutions
Prerequisites: None
Advance Preparation: None
Level: Overview
CPE Credit: 4 hrs.
Field of Study: Regulatory Ethics
Course expiration:  You have one year from date of purchase to complete the course.
Course Revision Date: May 2022


After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Identify the different organizations that create and enforce ethical standards.
  • Recognize how the Sarbanes Oxley Act imposes auditor independence standards.
  • Identify the two areas defined by the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct.
  • Recognize the principles of the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct.
  • Identify when independence is considered to be impaired.
  • Recognize the AICPA rules for contingency fees and provide at least one example of acts where contingency fees cannot be collected.
  • Identify different actions that are considered discreditable acts.

Course Contents

Ethics Defined
Ethical Principles
What Causes Unethical Behavior?
Differing Ethical Standards
Ethical dilemmas
Help with Ethical Dilemmas
The consequentialist framework
The duty framework
The virtue framework
Need for Ethics in the CPA Profession
Financial Restatements
Professional Ethics
Ethics Rules, Regulations, and Ethics Enforcement for CPAs and Auditors
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Independence Standards Board
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
Government Accountability Office (GAO)
When and Where to Apply Yellow Book
GAO Ethics, Independence, and Professional Judgment
Ethical Principles
The Public Interest
Proper Use of Government Information, Resources, and Positions
Professional Behavior
Overview of Sarbanes Oxley Act
Auditor Restrictions
Audit Committee
Officers and Directors
Disclosure Requirements
Increased Criminal Penalties and Fines
Code of Professional Conduct
Introduction to AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
Principles of Professional Conduct
Section 102 – Integrity and Objectivity
Section 201 – General Standards
Interpretations under Rule 201 —General Standard
Section 203 – Accounting Principles
Interpretations under Rule 203
203-1—Departures from established accounting principles
203-2—Status of FASB, GASB and FASAB interpretations
203-4—Responsibility of employees for the preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP
Section 301 – Confidential Client Information
.01 Rule 301—Confidential client information
Interpretations Under Rule 301
.04 301-3—Confidential information and the purchase, sale, or merger of a practice
Section 302 – Contingent Fees
.01 Rule 302—Contingent fees
Interpretation under Rule 302
.02 302-1—Contingent fees in tax matters
Section 501 – Acts Discreditable
.01 Rule 501—Acts discreditable
.02 501-1—Response to requests by clients and former clients for records
.03 501-2—Discrimination and harassment in employment practices
.04 501-3—Failure to follow standards and/or procedures or other requirements in governmental audits
.05 501-4—Negligence in the preparation of financial statements or records
.06 501-5—Failure to follow requirements of governmental bodies, commissions, or other regulatory agencies
.07 501-6—Solicitation or disclosure of CPA examination questions and answers
.08 501-7—Failure to file tax return or pay tax liability
.09 501-8—Failure to Follow Requirements of Governmental Bodies, Commissions, or Other Regulatory Agencies on Indemnification and Limitation of Liability Provisions in Connection With Audit and Other Attest Services
Section 100-1 Conceptual Framework for AICPA Independence Standards
GAO Yellowbook Independence
Independence Changes
Independence Compared to the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
Prohibited bookkeeping services
Independence Guidance for Government Audit Organizations
GAGAS Detailed Information
GAGAS Conceptual Framework Approach to Independence
Provision of Non-audit Services to Audited Entities
Consideration of Specific Non-audit Services

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