Ethics Information

In addition to continuing professional education courses (CPE) to keep up with new rules and regulations, CPAs are required to follow a strict code of ethics and perform within the high standards of the profession. If you have a question about work a CPA has performed for you, please let the OSCPA help.

About the Ethics Committee

The Ethics Committee of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs responds to allegations of unethical conduct against CPAs practicing in Oklahoma. If it is determined from a complaint by the Committee that unethical conduct has occurred, the complaint will be forwarded to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for investigation. Unethical conduct can arise from a professional's demeanor, a civil claim, or failure to follow professional standards and the law.

CPAs found guilty of unethical conduct may be expelled from the state and national professional associations, may be suspended from the use of the CPA designation for a period of time, and/or be required to attend a specified number of continuing education classes.

A member promises to follow ethical and professional standards. Such standards were created to protect the public trust. As a client, you have the right to expect competent representation from your CPA.

Not every complaint will be determined to be a violation of ethical or professional standards. In any event, the Ethics Committee cannot be of help to you or the public without you.

Actions & Questions 

  1. Ask a Question
    You may submit questions to the OSCPA Ethics Committee about the profession in general, CPA ethics, or CPA professional standards. Your question will be confidential
  2. File an Inquiry
    Got questions about a CPA's work and/or the ethical standards to which CPAs must adhere? You may file an inquiry or, if necessary, a complaint via email or by writing to the

    OSCPA Ethics Committee
    5201 N. Shartel Ave.
    Oklahoma City, OK 73118-6026

    The CPA being reported must be a member of the Oklahoma Society of Certified Public Accountants in order for the Ethics Committee to take action. Claims can remain anonymous, although anonymous claims can be problematic.     

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Are client relationships confidential? Interpretation ET 301 states, A member in public practice shall not disclose any confidential client information without the consent of the client. It is good practice to assume all matters in the relationship are confidential.
  • Do I have a conflict of interest when representing an enterprise and an enterprise�s employees and/or owners? Yes, pursuant to ET 102. The rule will not operate to prohibit such representation if the member believes the services can be preformed objectively, discloses the conflict and obtains consent to continue representation from the clients.
  • Do members of the OSCPA have a different set of ethical standards than CPAs who are not members? No. Subchapter 39 of the Oklahoma Accountancy Act requires that anyone who is issued a certificate, license, or permit from the State of Oklahoma must adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Membership in the OSCPA is voluntary and by accepting membership a CPA assumes an obligation of self discipline above and beyond the requirements of laws and regulations. We believe the law simply sets minimum standards of conduct and that living by ethical standards requires us to individually do more than what the law requires of us.
  • Where can I find the ethical standards that CPAs are expected to adhere to? A summary can be found in Subchapter 39 of the Oklahoma Accountancy Act. The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct is much more detailed and gives examples of acceptable and non-acceptable conduct.
  • What is the single most frequent reason given by CPAs for ethical failures? "I did not know that was an ethical violation." Correspondingly, it is extremely important for a CPA to clearly understand the ethical requirements and to continually study and educate him/herself in those requirements.
  • Can a CPA provide both Auditing and Non-Auditing services to a client? Some non-auditing services are permissible and some are not. For example a CPA could provide professional advice on the purchase of a new computer system but could not make the decision to purchase a particular system or provide system implementation support. An auditor cannot function in the role of management and an auditor cannot audit his/her own work. ET 101.05, Code of Professional Conduct, provides specific examples of the general requirements for performing nonattest services in this regard.
  • Can a CPA hold a client's books or records until the client pays any outstanding fees? No. The books and records that are the property of the client must be returned to the client promptly upon request regardless of the status of outstanding fees.
  • Who owns workpapers that are created during the course of an audit? The CPA owns the workpapers, including analyses and schedules prepared by the client at the request of the CPA.

Other Helpful Links

Oklahoma State Board of Accountancy
AICPA Ethics site