Major Changes in the Accounting Profession
The financial scandals proved to be a turning point in many ways for the accounting profession. The public outcry forced the legislatures to reexamine the regulatory environment for businesses, resulting in the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in July, 2002, which is the most significant accounting legislation since 1933. It also forced the accounting professionals and their organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to make a concerted effort at restoring their fallen reputation. One of the key lessons of the scandals was the realization that accountants and auditors could play an important role in creating an ethical business environment and promoting ethical business practices. The importance of ethics in accounting education, examinations and the licensing process is, thus, now widely recognized. For example, changes have been made in the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exams by increasing the emphasis on ethics and requiring candidates that have passed the CPA Exam to take a separate ethics exam (Gabbin, 2002).
Another significant change in the accounting function is the revival of the auditing function among accounting professionals. In the 1990s, the accounting profession had de-emphasized the audit function in favor of accounting services to a large...
Moreover, the accounting profession has become more broad based in recent times; while in the past, they worked almost exclusively in accounting, auditing or tax preparation, they now have to handle fields as diverse as financial planning, tax planning, business development, financial management, information systems, risk management, forensic and fraud auditing.
Colson, R.H. (2002). "CPA Journal Education Forum Anticipates Future." The CPA Journal, 72 (8). 20+.
Gabbin, a.L. (2002). "The Crisis in Accounting Education; the CPA's Role in Attracting the Best and the Brightest to the Profession." Journal of Accountancy, 193(4), 81+.
The profession's reputation reached a nadir in June 2002, when a federal jury convicted Andersen, Enron's independent auditor, of obstruction…
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