Every profession in the world has a way of streamlining integrity and conduct within its members. This is evidenced by the presence of rules of conduct for each. Equally, the accounting profession has had several bodies whose role has been the streamlining of the profession so that accountants can act within specified boundaries. Some of the bodies involved in the streamlining of the profession are the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). These two institutes have come up with rules and regulations aimed at ensuring that accountants are accountable to the public and that they act in a way that promotes the interests of the public. This paper intends to examine the rules of conduct of the two professional bodies and thus identify the similarities and differences between them.
Similarity of role
To begin with, both bodies were formed with a clear objective of streamlining the conduct of their members. The AICPA clearly points out that their main aim of adopting the codes for professional conduct was to “provide guidance and rules to all members- those in public practice, in industry, in government, and in education- in the performance of their professional responsibilities (AICPA, 2009, par. 1). On its part, the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy also clearly states their role in the effort to ensure that its members’ conduct is streamlined. The board points out that the rules in their codes of conduct were formulated in accordance to the Public Accountancy Act. Their main role was to “establish and maintain high standards of competence and integrity in the practice of public accountancy and to insure that the conduct and competitive practices of licensees serve the purpose of the Act and the best interest of the public” (TSBPA, 2009, p. 2).
Difference in applicability
To begin with, analysis shows the first difference in the applicability of these laws. On their part, the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy rules apply to all the certificate holders and registered practitioners. This means that individuals who are practicing within the State and are not certificate holders of this board’s membership; they will not be confined to these rules. However, the rules by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants do not apply to certificate holders only. Anybody practicing within the American boundaries is bound by these rules. The only exception of this rule is the people practicing outside America. In fact, the rules bind even non American practitioners in that it imposes an obligation for them to act within the limits of the given laws of the country from which one practices.
Secondly, both bodies prohibit any practicing accountant from being associated with any form of act that does not conform to the rules and regulations. For instance, the TSBPA prohibits its members from associating with any form of financial statements that contravenes the stipulated the rules. Similarly, the AICPA also points out clearly that a member shall neither contravene the stipulated rules nor allow someone with whom he can control or who associates with him to perform any activity that goes against the rules. These positions show that both bodies are clear that all persons within their jurisdiction shall not act beyond the boundaries set by the rules and also shall not allow a person with whom he associates to act beyond the boundaries.
Rule of association
Independence forms the second form of difference between the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. To begin with, the AICPA does have specified rules concerning independence of professional. It imposes an obligation to the practitioner to ensure that he is in accordance with the other laws under which he or she operates. It states that the interpretation of professional independence shall be based on the stipulations of the state’s accounting bodies and other bodies with which the individual is registered. However, AICPA codes give stipulations on situations when the rule shall be deemed impaired. This position is different from the TSBPA codes. The board has no given definition of professional independence. In its rules, the code points out that all its members must adhere to the definition of independence as offered by the AICPA.
The bodies’ positions on objectivity and integrity form another point of similarity. Section 102 of the AICPA clearly points out that no member shall fail to observe integrity and objectivity whenever providing any professional service. In addition, misrepresentation of facts and yielding to conflicts of interest are prohibited by the body. Similarly, the TSBPA clearly points out that its members must act with integrity and objectivity. Just like the AICPA, they should not yield to any pressures from a conflict of interest. Furthermore, they should not engage in any act of fact misrepresentation.
Finally, apart from the fact that AICPA is a body that applies to the whole United States while the TSBPA applies to the practitioners in the State of Texas, most of the rules stipulated within the two bodies are similar and are aimed at making the accountants responsible of their acts, giving integrity to the profession within the public’s eye and ensuring that the practitioners operate within a given structure that promotes the interests of the public. These rules include the position of the two bodies concerning withdrawal and resignation, discreditable acts, frivolous complaints, continuing education et cetera. Both bodies address these issues squarely.
In conclusion, it is clear that the accounting profession operates under given rules and regulations. There are bodies that have been formed to ensure that the profession addresses the issue of integrity and competence. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy are among the bodies that have taken this as their responsibility. Despite their similarity of objectives, there appears to differences in their approaches. This paper had as its main objective, the role of identifying the similarities and differences exhibited by these two bodies. The bodies differed in their extent of application. While the American Institute of Public Accountancy rules covered all operatives within the United States, the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy rules applied to accountants who were holders of their certificate or those who were registered by the body. Furthermore, the two bodies’ positions on independence differed slightly. The Texas State Board did not provide a specific definition of professional independence. Despite these differences, most of the stipulations of the two bodies concerning the competence, actions, relations, and response et cetera of the accountants to certain situations are clearly and harmoniously pointed out. This is done to ensure that the public interests are promoted.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. (2009). AICPA Code of professional conduct. Web.
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. (2000). Chapter 501: Rules of Professional Conduct. Web.