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The CPA profession affects and interacts with all segments of our society. For those reasons, a CPA's ethical conduct is regulated by many different entities and codes, depending primarily upon the respective CPA's diversity of practice. This articel will discuss the two entities that govern the day-to-day ethical conduct of the majority of California CPAs, regardless of their areas of practice--the State Board of Accountacy (SBA) and the California Society of Certified Public Accountants (Society).
To start, ethics enforcement is different than civil liability. According to the SBA and the Socity, respectively, ethics enforcement relates to an individual's right to be licensed as a public accountant and to be a memeber of a professional accounting society. While it is true that a civil liability finding may also affect an individual's right to be licensed as a CPA or to be a member of the Society, the entities that govern ethical conduct are separate from the civil court system and, in most instances, are not necessarily bound by a civil liability finding.
Also, although an ethical violation finding may be admissible in a civil liability proceeding, such matters are not conclusive proof of civil liability for several reasons, including:
* different burdens of proof;