If you receive a letter from the AICPA Professional Ethics Division or state CPA society informing you that a complaint has been filed against you alleging a possible violation of the Code of Professional Conduct, the following may be helpful:
- Review the rules of conduct that are the subject of the investigation. The rules of conduct are located in the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct (Volume II of the AICPA Professional Standards and on the AICPA Web site).
- The Joint Ethics Enforcement Program (JEEP) Manual of Procedures describes the procedures governing an investigation and is available to you upon request. The procedures describe your rights and obligations and those of the AICPA and state CPA society ethics committees in an investigation.
- Provide a substantive response to each question and include any additional information that you believe is relevant to the subject matter of the investigation. Include any evidence in support of your response.
- If you are uncertain of how to respond to a specific question, don't hesitate to call the case investigator for clarification.
- If you are unable to respond to the letter by the requested date (generally, within thirty days of the date of the letter), call the case investigator and request an extension. Failure to respond within the required time period may constitute a failure to cooperate with the investigation and hence, a violation of the AICPA or state CPA society bylaws or Code of Professional Conduct.
- Most of all, remember that an ethics investigation is designed to gather facts and information to assist in determining whether or not there is evidence to support the allegations of violations of the Code of Professional Conduct. If there is insufficient evidence to support the allegations, the investigation will be closed.