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Why Do CPAs Engage in Unethical Acts?


Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) engage in important work. They are often employed as financial advisors for individuals, businesses and other organizations. They help people and companies reach their financial goals and figure out their tax obligations. Every day, they work with numbers and figures. This means that their work must be of the highest accuracy. While people do make mistakes, CPAs must take great care to minimize errors as much as possible.

If a CPA is careless or intentionally reckless with their work, they can face administrative issues. They may receive a written warning. They may be fined. They may even face license suspension or revocation. In extreme cases, a CPA can even be put in jail. Chief Financial Officers and controllers for companies such as Enron, HealthSouth and WorldCom have gone to prison for unethical acts.

Rules established in 2011 and 2012 have changed the way that CPAs conduct business. Certain actions are now prohibited, such as asking another person to carry out tasks on your behalf or disclosing confidential information to others.

Reasons for Committing Unethical Acts

There are several reasons why CPAs often act unethically. One is because CPAs often lack objectivity. They don’t want to admit that their behavior is wrong. They tend to see things as they want them to be.

Another reason is that CPAs sometimes feel superior over others. They deceive themselves into making bad decisions. Related to this is that power makes smart people do stupid things. People with power, such as CPAs, are often overconfident in their skills, knowledge and abilities. This means that they often reject the advice of others and make poor decisions.

A lot of times, they may feel pressured to act a certain way. If a CPA has a rich, powerful or well-known client, they may sacrifice their good judgment to impress the client or make them happy.

Another reason is just plain ignorance. CPAs are good with numbers, but when it comes to ethics, they may simply not know what the rules are and what is expected to them. Making matters more complicated is that the Code of Professional Conduct for CPAs often uses the word “should” as if something is a recommendation or a suggestion when it actually is required. This can be confusing to CPAs.

Nevertheless, this ignorance of the law can get a CPA in trouble. They can face serious penalties and put their CPA license and career on the line.

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Certified Public Accountant Licensing  Lawyer 

CPAs work with financial records of individuals and businesses. They must produce accurate work. If they are careless or purposely alter records in order to make a client more favorable, they risk losing their license.

Don’t jeopardize your future. Contact Tampa certified public accountant licensing lawyer David P. Rankin to protect your career. He has helped CPAs and other licensed professionals manage administrative issues and hold onto their licenses. Schedule a consultation today. Call (813) 968-6633 or fill out the online form.