Integrity and ethics often go hand in hand. This is an important feature to look for when choosing an accounting agency. Accountants should be expected to act responsibly when reviewing financial information and interacting with clients.
Importance of Integrity
Integrity is possibly the most important element of the accounting profession. Integrity requires that accountants have a good moral compass. Be honest, candid and upfront with a client’s most personal and sensitive financial documents and information. Accountants should never benefit from personal gain or use confidential information against a client. While a difference of opinion in regards to the applicability of accounting laws do exist, professional accountants should avoid any opportunity to deceive or manipulate financial information.
Public accounting firms or private companies often have a code of ethics or conduct put into place for accountants to follow. These conduct rules are to ensure that all accountants act in a consistent manner, that benefits their clients to the fullest extent. In the absence of a firm set of rules or standards, accountants should ensure their actions follow commonly accepted principles.
Objectivity and Independence
Objectivity and independence are a set of crucial ethical values for an accountant to have. Accountants must be free of conflicts of interest or any questionable business relationships when performing accounting services. The failure to remain objective and independent may hinder an accountant’s capability to provide an honest opinion about a company’s financial information, and cause damage to the company’s future.
The accounting industry will typically limit the number of services public accounting firms can offer clients, these services include:
- General Accounting
- Tax and Management Advisory Services
If an accountant performs more than one of these services for a client, it could potentially compromise their objectivity and independence.
Due Care and Competence
Due care is the ethical value that requires accountants to observe all technical or ethical accounting standards. Professional accountants are often required to review generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and apply this framework to a company’s specific financial information. Due care requires accountants to exercise competence, diligence and a proper understanding of financial information to ensure that any potential harm is avoided.
Competence is the ability to perform tasks expected of a professional accountant and is usually based on education and experience. Due care may require a senior accountant to supervise and teach other accountants with less experience in the accounting profession.
At Perfect Balance, you can rest assured that our accounting team will always act with ethics and integrity to ensure that you receive the best care possible. Call our team to schedule an appointment to review your company’s financials.