Auditing codes of ethics are pretty important. They may provide the foundation of the rules and the expectations that CPAs and organizations, in general, must follow during an audit. The code of ethics sets the minimum criteria for the auditor’s conduct and what the organizations hiring them should expect in terms of behavior.
Internal auditing is an impartial, independent assurance and consulting activity that adds value and improves a company’s operations. By implementing a systematic, disciplinary, and professional approach, organizations can quickly achieve their goal and improve efficiency.
Integrity: In all professional and corporate dealings, a professional accountant should be forthright and honest while making all decisions and observations without any bias.
Objectivity: Conflicts of interest or undue influence of others should not be allowed to trump professional or business decisions by a professional accountant.
Professional competence and due care: Professional accountants have an ongoing duty to keep their professional knowledge and expertise up to date to ensure competent professional service to their customers or employer based on current practice, legislation, and procedures.
Confidentiality: A professional accountant should maintain the confidentiality of information obtained via professional and business connections and not divulge such information to third parties without sufficient and explicit authorization. There is only an exception in breaching a client’s confidentiality, which is legally binding.
A professional accountant should never use or sell confidential information obtained through professional and business interactions for the benefit of an outside party or personal gain.
Code of ethics is critical during the audit process. Not following the code of ethics may lead to several threats that might affect professionalism.
The IFAC Code of Ethics ensures that an assurance firm’s integrity, objectivity, and independence are invulnerable to corruption. The business must have measures in place to protect itself.
Here are some of the threats that may or may not impact the auditing process
A self-interest threat is when the auditor in question is in any capacity benefiting from the firm’s profits under the auditor is in any way associated with the company’s business operations.
A self-review threat arises when the auditor reviews his reports. An individual auditing their work always creates a chance of self-review threat as the auditor may get biased on examining his work and struggle to present transparent information.
Advocacy danger occurs when a firm, a member of the assurance team, or a member of the network firm, as the case may be, promotes, or is perceived to promote, an assurance client’s viewpoint or opinion to the extent of jeopardizing objectivity.
A familiarity threat occurs when a firm or an audit team member is in contact or has good relations with the clients. Because of this relation, auditors are unable to give unbiased reports.
When an assurance team member feels a threat, whether real or imagined, by the directors, officers, or employees of an assurance client, it often prevents them from operating objectively and exhibiting professional skepticism.
How to prevent these threats
It is essential to prevent these threats to maintain professionalism. Auditors are requested to take these measures to avoid the above threats.
The auditor should maintain their independence from the client company.
When there are no adequate protections to decrease threats to an acceptable level, the only options are to stop the activities or interests causing the threat or decline to accept or continue the assurance engagement.
Auditors must continually evaluate what is in the public interest when considering threats to independence and possible remedies to reduce or eliminate these vulnerabilities.
It’s also worth noting that the implementation of some protections may not address “apparent independence.”About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud platform where their QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools are hosted in an efficient SSO environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.