Ethics Articles

Good Samaritan, Bad Results

by MICPA | Jun 03, 2014   ()

The MICPA Professional Ethics Task Force prepares highlights of frequent inquiries. Responses to the inquiries have been tailored to specific questions presented and may not consider all of the unique circumstances that are part of an ethical inquiry.

Association members are called upon frequently to provide professional services to many deserving non-profit organizations. We are supportive of their efforts and value the many services these organizations provide within our communities. Many of our members are willing to help these organizations in need.

However, CPAs should not let Good Samaritan efforts overcome professional responsibilities.

Case in point.

An MICPA member is asked to issue an audit report on the financial statements of a small non-profit organization with annual revenues of less than $50,000.

Concerned with the financial restraints of the non-profit organization, the member asks for a nominal fee for the audit and promptly issues an audit report.

While the intent is indeed noble, there are a number of issues, including:

  • Improper audit report issued
  • Lack of cash flow statement
  • Lack of appropriate footnote disclosures
  • Lack of compliance with AICPA Audit Guide for Non-Profit Organizations
  • Lack of detailed audit program
  • Lack of management representation letter.

Whether to “save the client money” or because the member is not cognizant of current audit standards, an audit report is issued without complying with these standards.

A member cannot perform work without appropriate compliance, no matter how worthy the cause.

When occasions arise where a member is asked to perform work that may be outside the member’s particular area of expertise, the assignment cannot be accepted.

Source: The Michigan Association of CPAs