August 1998 Issue


Robert L. Gray, CPA, former publisher and editor-in-chief of The CPA Journal and past executive director of the New York State Society of CPAs, has proposed to the AICPA Ethics Executive Committee (of which he is a member) that the profession invest substantial time and money in a campaign to promote the CPA's ethical core values and self-regulatory system.

According to Gray, although the profession's ethics system and its enforcement is clearly what distinguishes CPAs from other business advisors, the public has little or no understanding of the "true value" of the CPA's ethics and self-regulatory programs. In today's competitive business world, the profession needs to communicate to the marketplace the value of the profession's ethics and self-regulatory system to position CPAs against a growing list of competitors. Gray stresses that particularly now, as the profession moves toward new practice areas (e.g., WebTrust and other new assurance services), it is vital to promote the CPA's strong ethics and regulatory system to position CPAs as the business advisor of choice in these emerging areas. The core values identified in the Vision Project reaffirm how deeply CPAs hold their profession's ethical beliefs, and he feels a broad-based ethics communications campaign is the best way to translate this message to the public and other important audiences.

Gray has proposed that the ethics executive committee recommend that the AICPA organize a high-level special committee (i.e., similar in prestige to the Elliott and Jenkins Committees) whose purpose is to fully assess (through research projects and other means) the marketplace value of integrity, objectivity, independence, and related results from the Vision Project. The work of this special committee will form the basis to develop a broad-based ethics communications campaign aimed at CPAs, the business community, government officials, the media, and the public. *

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