If Miami Accountants are asked whether they and their Miami accounting firm are ethical, most will probably answer affirmatively.
Indeed, prior research has shown that most Miami Accounting Firm think they are more ethical than others. But the general public, whose skepticism is fueled by accountants’ perceived roles in recent major business debacles, does not necessarily share this view.
Ethical behavior does not occur automatically. Researchers agree that maintaining an ethical organization and a high level of ethics among individual Miami Accounting Firm requires concerted effort and care. The AICPA and State Boards delineates the best practices that foster an effective ethical culture and enforce ethical behavior in Miami Accounting Firms. It can act as a managerial checklist to help CPA firms achieve ethical excellence in serving the public.
A Miami Accounting Firm must be built on core ethical principles, and values must be part of the organization’s culture. The ethical success of every firm hinges first on its creation of a set of ethical values that are embedded in the organization’s core and manifested in its goals and policies. This informal set of policies is insufficient on its own, however; a formal methodology for implementing and upholding ethical values must be in place as well. Those principles must be embodied in a formalized ethics code.
A code of ethics is a distinct and formal document containing a set of prescriptions developed by and for a company to guide present and future behavior on multiple issues of at least its managers and employees toward one another, the company, external stakeholders and/or society in general. In addition to complying with the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct, Miami Accounting Firm has instituted professional ethics codes. Such a prescriptive code assists in guiding the everyday actions of management and employee’s; thereby ensuring that a core set of ethical values is upheld consistently throughout the organization.
The mere existence of an ethics code will not bring about change unless it is communicated to and applied by members of an accounting firm. But simply distributing a code does not ensure that it will be read, and many companies fall prey to the “print, post, and pray syndrome”.
Although Miami Accountants may participate in continuing professional education (CPE) courses in ethics, a firm should disseminate the contents and importance of its unique code of ethics, which can be tailored for its particular type of practice. This can be performed on an ongoing basis via training sessions, e-mails, newsletters, and discussion groups. Many researchers have encouraged these and other forms of communication at regular intervals in order to emphasize the gravity that management attaches to the issue and to facilitate compliance with a firm’s ethical code.
The majority of studies indicate that although there is a positive relationship between the existence of ethics codes and ethical decision making, this benefit exists only when the code is embedded in the organization’s culture via clear executive commitment to its integration and enforcement in day-to-day practices.
The code of ethics should be just one part of an organization’s overall ethics pro-gram. This should include ethics classes and workshops that train employees in the firm’s ethical expectations and obligations. Miami Accounting Firm might also need a program to build ethical skills and awareness for managers and executives. Such across-the-board training sessions can have a profound positive impact on the firm’s ethical culture. Successful ethics training should include case studies, in addition to the rules and regulations outlined in the code.
An accounting firm’s management must show that it adheres to ethical standards and that it is not above the code; indeed, even minor breaches of ethics by managers can seriously undermine employees’ adherence to an ethics code. In addition, managers have the responsibility to keep the ethics conversation open and on the table at meetings and during more informal conversations as well. Management must clearly inform employees that ethical concerns are a priority and that managers wish to be notified of breaches in order to address them. In practice, management must emphasize that ethical standards are to be incorporated into all decision-making—not just used as a checklist after the discovery of controversial actions. Ethics must become a public part of the accounting firm’s practices and integrated into all key decisions.