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The Triple A's of the CPA Profession


I recently completed a ski trip to Stowe, Vermont. A big sign standing next to the ski lift is clearly visible to all, so that skiers should read its three words before proceeding. The sign says as follows: "ATTITUDE, AWARENESS, ACCOUNTABILITY".

The Stowe Mountain Resort created the Triple A's and adopted them as their credo and company culture. "Triple A's" is the driving force that allows all skiers, from the beginners to the advanced, the freedom critical to their way of life and their sport. I quickly realized that these three words are just as important and critical to the survival of the CPA Profession. The Triple A's are the driving force of the CPA Profession.

Attitude is about respect for others, which includes professional peers, clients and the profession itself. A few years ago, the acts of a few that failed to observe this basic credo tarnished the image of the entire profession. The attitude CPAs project about themselves to the public will ultimately be reflected in the public's perception of the Profession. As a result, a positive and healthy attitude is essential to the survival of the profession.

Awareness refers to the CPA's sensitivity to the needs of the engagement within the confines of the Profession's Code of Ethics. CPAs should not take on an engagement if he or she is not capable of understanding the needs of the client, understanding the technical skills required, and understanding the time constraints required to complete the engagement within the context of the Profession's Code.

Accountability is about being responsible for one's individual actions. CPAs that fail to follow the rules must be held accountable. CPAs cannot hide behind the client's letter of management representations. Isn't the word itself the essence of why the CPA Profession is called the "accounting" profession?

Being a CPA can be as hazardous or as exhilarating as skiing down a mountain slope. Observe the "Triple A's" and enjoy the ride.
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