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Summary of Ethics, Interrupted by Joanne Barry Essay

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Updated: Jun 20th, 2021

Ethics is considered to be one of the most important issues in the profession of accountants. Researchers note that all certified public accountants (CPAs) in the USA must prove their qualifications in this field and follow the requirements of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) (Barry 5). The purpose of this paper is to give a summary of Ethics, Interrupted, an article in the CPA Journal, written by Joanne Barry, which discusses changes in the training on ethics that CPAs should take.

In the year 2017, an audit by the State Board of Public Accountancy of New York was conducted. It showed that half of certified public accountants failed to comply with the CPE demands in the sphere of ethics (Barry 2017). Some certified public accountants took wrong courses on ethics; others completed them in concordance with the year of registration, not calendar year. The reasons for this inconformity with the rules are numerous but as the major ground confusion in respect of the text of the requirement is regarded. Indeed, the language used in the text of the regulation might cause wrong readings of the standard even by the professionals whose success in work is determined by their ability to understand and follow demands.

In order to solve the problem of misunderstanding of the rules by registered licensees and streamline the requirement, the Education Subcommittee was charged by the board to make amendments in the standard. The workers of the Subcommittee were to develop a recommendation and send it to the Board of Regents of the State for approval. According to the recommendation, certified public accountants of New York would have to get two credits in professional ethics each year.

Thus, the total amount of courses per period of three years would be doubled. However, the new rules would be going to promote more flexibility by allowing CPAs to take only two courses in ethics and decide what they should take the remaining four courses in on their own. The specialists would be able to choose between behavioral, professional or NY-specific ethics. Despite CPAs getting more freedom in choosing a kind of courses, the quantity of CPE credits would not change being forty credit hours for general studies or twenty-four hours in a specific subject.

The principle that would not change for sure is that it is crucial for certified public accountants to follow the rules set and act in accordance with the standards. Some professionals in the subject area of accounting are quite skeptical about the use of taking courses in ethics. They strongly believe that earning points by covering the time of training can’t lead to a person’s being more sophisticated about ethics because one can be either ethical or not. However, the existing demands are to be met; moreover, some customers see the situation in a different way. Clients are inclined to work with those accountants who have completed all the courses because they trust such professionals more.

To sum up, it is significant to press the point that the issue of ethics, either professional, behavioral or ethics of another kind are regarded as crucial for the professional performance of certified public accountants. That is why the standards of Continuing Professional Education for professionals in accounting include passing subject-related courses and earning credits. However, the rules are not always clear, that is why new recommendations in ethic education of accountants are being implemented.

Works Cited

Barry, Joanne. “Ethics, Interrupted.” The CPA Journal, vol. 87, no. 9, 2017, p. 5.

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