AICPA Code of Professional Conduct
1. Membership in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is voluntary. By accepting membership, a certified public accountant assumes an obligation of self-discipline above and beyond the requirements of laws and regulations.
2. These Principles of the Code of Professional Conduct of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants express the profession's recognition of its responsibilities to the public, to clients, and to colleagues. They guide members in the performance of their professional responsibilities and express the basic tenets of ethical and professional conduct. The Principles call for an unswerving commitment to honorable behavior, even at the sacrifice of personal advantage.
Section 54 - Article III: Integrity
To maintain and broaden public confidence, members should perform all professional responsibilities with the highest sense of integrity.
1. Integrity is an element of character fundamental to professional recognition. It is the quality from which the public trust derives and the benchmark against which a member must ultimately test all decisions.
2. Integrity requires a member to be, among other things, honest and candid within the constraints of client confidentiality. Service and the public trust should not be subordinated to personal gain and advantage. Integrity can accommodate the inadvertent error and the honest difference of opinion; it cannot accommodate deceit or subordination of principle.
3. Integrity is measured in terms of what is right and just. In the absence of specific rules, standards, or guidance, or in the face of conflicting opinions, a member should test decisions and deeds by asking: "Am I doing what a person of integrity would do? Have I retained my integrity?" Integrity requires a member to observe both the form and the spirit of technical and ethical standards; circumvention of those standards constitutes subordination of judgment.
4. Integrity also requires a member to observe the principles of objectivity and independence and of due care.
Section 56 - Article V: Due Care
A member should observe the profession's technical and ethical standards, strive continually to improve competence and the quality of services, and discharge professional responsibility to the best of the member's ability.
1. The quest for excellence is the essence of due care. Due care requires a member to discharge professional responsibilities with competence and diligence. It imposes the obligation to perform professional services to the best of a member's ability with concern for the best interest of those for whom the services are performed and consistent with the profession's responsibility to the public.
2. Competence is derived from a synthesis of education and experience. It begins with a mastery of the common body of knowledge required for designation as a certified public accountant. The maintenance of competence requires a commitment to learning and professional improvement that must continue throughout a member's professional life. It is a member's individual responsibility. In all engagements and in all responsibilities, each member should undertake to achieve a level of competence that will assure that the quality of the member's services meets the high level of professionalism required by these Principles.
4. Members should be diligent in discharging responsibilities to clients, employers, and the public. Diligence imposes the responsibility to render services promptly and carefully, to be thorough, and to observe applicable technical and ethical standards.
Section 55 - Article IV: Objectivity and Independence
A member should maintain objectivity and be free of conflicts of interest in discharging professional responsibilities. A member in public practice should be independent in fact and appearance when providing auditing and other attestation services.
1. Objectivity is a state of mind, a quality that lends value to a member's services. It is a distinguishing feature of the profession. The principle of objectivity imposes the obligation to be impartial, intellectually honest, and free of conflicts of interest. Independence precludes relationships that may appear to impair a member's objectivity in rendering attestation services.
2. Members often serve multiple interests in many different capacities and must demonstrate their objectivity in varying circumstances. Members in public practice render attest, tax, and management advisory services. Other members prepare financial statements in the employment of others, perform internal auditing services, and serve in financial and management capacities in industry, education, and government. They also educate and train those who aspire to admission into the profession. Regardless of service or capacity, members should protect the integrity of their work, maintain objectivity, and avoid any subordination of their judgment.
3. For a member in public practice, the maintenance of objectivity and independence requires a continuing assessment of client relationships and public responsibility. Such a member who provides auditing and other attestation services should be independent in fact and appearance. In providing all other services, a member should maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest.
4. Although members not in public practice cannot maintain the appearance of independence, they nevertheless have the responsibility to maintain objectivity in rendering professional services. Members employed by others to prepare financial statements or to perform auditing, tax, or consulting services are charged with the same responsibility for objectivity as members in public practice and must be scrupulous in their application of generally accepted accounting principles and candid in all their dealings with members in public practice.
Unit 6. Finance
Bull and Bear Markets
Simply put, bull markets are movements in the stock market in which prices are rising and the consensus is that prices will continue moving upward. During this time, economic production is strong, jobs are plentiful and inflation is low. Bear markets are the opposite-- stock prices are falling, and the view is that they will continue falling. The economy will slow down, coupled with a rise in unemployment and inflation. In either scenario, people invest as though the trend will continue. Investors who think and act as though the market will continue to rise are bullish, while those who think it will keep falling are bearish.
What causes bull and bear markets? They are partly a result of the supply and demand for securities. Investor psychology, government involvement in the economy and changes in economic activity also drive the market up or down. These forces combine to make investors bid higher or lower prices for stocks. To qualify as a bull or bear market, a market must have been moving in its current direction (by about 20% of its value) for a sustained period. Small, short-term movements lasting days do not qualify; they may only indicate corrections or short-lived movements. Bull and bear markets signify long movements of significant proportion. The best-known bear market in the U.S. was, of course, the Great Depression. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost roughly 90 percent of its value during the first three years of this period.
Investors turn to theories and complex calculations to try to figure out in advance when the market will scream upward or tumble downward. In reality, however, no perfect indicator has been found. In their attempts to predict the market, economists use technical analysis. Technical analysis is the use of market data to analyze individual stocks and the market as a whole. It is based on the ideas that supply and demand determine stock prices and that prices, in turn, also reflect the moods of investors. One tool commonly used in technical analysis is the advance-decline line, which measures the difference between the number of stocks advancing in price and the number declining in price. Each day a net advance is determined by subtracting total declines from total advances. This total, when taken over time, comprises the advance-decline line, which analysts use to forecast market trends. Generally, the A/D line moves up or down with the Dow. However, economists have noted that when the line declines while the Dow is moving upward, it indicates that the market is probably going to change direction and decline as well.
A key to successful investing during a bull market is to take advantage of the rising prices. For most, this means buying securities early, watching them rise in value and then selling them when they reach a high. However, as simple as it sounds, this practice involves timing the market. Since no one knows exactly when the market will begin its climb or reach its peak, virtually no one can time the market perfectly. Investors often attempt to buy securities as they demonstrate a strong and steady rise and sell them as the market begins a strong move downward. Portfolios with larger percentages of stocks can work well when the market is moving upward. Investors who believe in watching the market will buy and sell accordingly to change their portfolios. Speculators and risk-takers can fare relatively well in bull markets. They believe they can make profits from rising prices, so they buy stocks, options, futures and currencies they believe will gain value. Growth is what most bull investors seek.