HCBE Faculty Articles

Title

Deficiencies in the Code of Conduct: The AICPA Rhetoric Surrounding the Tax Return Preparation Outsourcing Disclosure Rules

Document Type

Article

Date

2013

Publication Title

Journal of Business Ethics

ISSN or ISBN

0167-4544

Volume

114

Issue

3

First Page

457

Last Page

471

Description

In this article, we examine the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) efforts to conceal the offshoring of tax return preparation services by U.S. Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) through recommending an inadequate disclosure format for this type of work. We draw on Giddens’ theory of trust and expert systems, the professionalism literature, and Flyvbjerg’s concept of power to analyze the underlying agenda behind the revised ethics rulings (AICPA Ethics Ruling No. 112 under Rule 102, No. 12 under Rule 201, and No. 1 under Rule 301). Specifically, we examine (1) the AICPA leadership’s stated professional justifications for outsourcing and its recommended client disclosures, (2) risks associated with outsourcing tax return preparation work overseas and the trust issues that result, and (3) the resistance to the AICPA leadership’s recommended outsourcing disclosure rules within the rank and file of the CPA profession. We argue that our analysis reveals the AICPA’s on-going promotion of their private interests, thus continuing to raise systemic concerns regarding the public’s trust in the U.S. public accounting profession.

DOI

10.1007/s10551-012-1329-z

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