There is no room for error, sloppiness or questionable conduct when it comes to managing other people's money. As an account, it is critical to hold yourself to a high ethical standard so your work will be beyond reproach. You can choose from a number of ethical conduct codes created for the accounting industry.
Integrity is a word commonly used in accounting parlance. Accountants must be honest with their clients and not give them false hope or misrepresent their own credentials. Accountants must honestly report financial data in the proper place and at the appropriate time. Mistakes can happen to anyone, but accountants are expected to act with integrity, own their mistakes and do everything to remedy the errors. Finally, many business leaders rely on the integrity of their accountants when they have to make decisions that don’t have clear-cut answers.
Accountants must never take on a job that has even the appearance of conflict of interest. They must remain objective when dealing with other people's finances and leave no room for question. Accountants are not allowed, by their own set of rules, to let anyone influence their findings. At the same time, they must not let personal biases or beliefs get in the way of properly executing their obligations.
Accountants take an oath that’s covered more by the code of ethics than any legally binding agreement. That oath enables businesses to entrust accountants with the most minute details about their finances, leaving nothing out for fear of gossip or loose-lipped financial professionals. Accountants cannot ethically use any information they learn from clients for their own personal gain. Additionally, this rule of confidentiality extends in perpetuity, long after the accountant has severed ties with the client.
Accountants are required to act professionally at all times. They shouldn’t be involved in any activities, either at work or in their own personal lives, that could bring shame on the profession. They should be courteous at all times and be considerate of their clients’ needs and business practices. Another aspect of professionalism involves maintaining credentials and continuing education. Professional accountants are expected to keep up with changes in the field and maintain any license requirements for their certifications.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."