Ethics of switching accountants

Professionally designated accountants are required to follow a strict code of ethics.

If any of you have switched accountants, you probably are not aware of what happens behind the scenes after making such a move.

Professionally designated accountants are required to follow a strict code of ethics.

The Certified General Accountants code of ethics can be broken out into several sections.  These sections are: a) Responsibilities to Society; b) Trust and Duties; c) Due Care and Professional Judgement; d) Deceptive Information; e) Professional Practice; f) Responsibilities to the Profession; g) Independence.

So depending on the type of engagement and under Section e) Professional Practice, your new accountant is required to contact your previous accountant in writing letting them know that they have been asked to take over your account.

That letter also needs to ask if there is any professional reason why the new accountant should not take over the account.

When your previous accountant receives this letter, they are required to respond promptly to it.

They are required to co-operate with the new accountant and provide any information which they have prepared, that the new accountant has requested, in a timely manner provided that all outstanding billings have been paid.

If they are in possession of any books or documents belonging to the client, they are required to return these upon request, whether or not the outstanding billings have been paid.

The client may wish that these documents go directly to the new accountant. Both the new and the old accountant need to recognize that the client’s interests are paramount.

Even if you have not switched accountants and providing that all your bills have been paid, you have a right to inspect any financial record that pertains to you that is in your accountant’s hands at any time.

Some other items under Section e) Professional Practice that are of note include CGAs not being allowed to engage in bidding practices for professional services that use unfair methods of competition.

If we are referred a client because we need to perform a special service for that client, we can’t provide any other service for that client without the consent of the previous accountant.

Any pro bono work needs to ensure that there are no independence issues, that qualified accountants will be performing the work and devoting appropriate time to it and that due care will be taken to comply with all professional standards and quality control procedures.

We cannot accept a commission unless it is a fee resulting from the referral or transfer of a client between professional colleagues, such as a purchase or sale of a practice.

We cannot receive commissions from investment dealers or insurance brokers for the trading of securities or the placement of insurance for clients. We cannot receive a fee for an audit, review engagement, compilation or tax return that is contingent on the outcome of those engagements.

We cannot sell any other services through our firms other than professional services. We are required to register with our association as a public practitioner, pay the annual fees, undergo the practice review requirements of the association and hold professional liability insurance for infinity.

If we would like to hire an employee currently employed by another firm, we need to first contact that firm and let them know of our intention.

For those CGAs that are not in public practice, this section also requires that there be a realization that due to their professional designation, there will be reliance on their work and that the reputation of their place of employment may be enhanced due to their employment.

All CGAs are required to encourage an ethics based culture in their organizations that emphasizes the importance of ethical behaviour.

If a CGA believes that there is unethical behaviour occurring within the organization, the options are to obtain legal advice and try to remedy the situation, but if there are no remedies, then the only option is to resign.

The CGA Code of Ethics can be viewed by the public at www.cga-bc.org, Members tab, Ethics and Standards, link to Code of Ethical Principles and Professional Conduct.

Just Posted

Smoke sparks evacuation at Penticton apartments

Fire crews were called to 88 Duncan Ave just after 6:30 p.m., Tuesday

Accident backs up Glenmore

Commuters in Lake Country, between Vernon and Kelowna, advised to avoid area

Police incident ends peacefully in Glenmore

After the area was evacuated, police were able to calm a distraught 50-year-old man

UBCO students to get medical cannabis coverage

Kelowna - The pilot project will be implemented in April

Kelowna art camp held for spring break

Classes for children are available from March 19 to 29

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Smoke sparks evacuation at Penticton apartments

Fire crews were called to 88 Duncan Ave just after 6:30 p.m., Tuesday

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Thompson, Chilcotin Steelhead Trout in danger of extinction

‘Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back’ says longtime Steelhead advocate Steve Rice.

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Skier air lifted from Cherryville

Elementary school students get a close look at emergency services in action

Most Read