Doing the Right Thing: Exchange is a Great Way to Communicate—If You Understand Your Responsibilities

By:
Elliot A. Lesser, CPA
Published Date:
Nov 1, 2014

Earlier this year, the NYSSCPA launched Exchange, an online community exclusively for Society members that allows them to access the knowledge base of their colleagues and connect with one another. All Society members are automatically subscribed to the network as part of a chapter group (though they can also join groups related to their NYSSCPA committees or Foundation for Accounting Education courses). Members also have automatic access to the site’s Open Forum and are encouraged to participate in conversations there, which many do—on a recent afternoon, topic threads ranged from the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax to finding good administrative staff. However, it’s important to note that members who participate in Exchange are expected to abide by the site’s own “Code of Conduct”—a list of rules and points of etiquette that you can read for yourself.

Among other things, the Code of Conduct stipulates that—

• posts are not intended to serve as a substitute for a member’s own research and judgment, and do not constitute an opinion of the Society, of its committee or of the volunteer providing the assistance;

• the New York State Society of CPAs is not responsible for the opinions and information posted on this site by others. 

In many cases, comments posted to Exchange are of a technical nature, with members giving or soliciting advice. Accordingly, all Society members should familiarize themselves with the above disclaimers, which serve as reminders that information provided on the site is not a substitute for legal and professional advice. Any technical information and advice received through Exchange should be considered a starting point, at best, and is not a substitute for a member’s own research.

These words of caution apply not only to those looking to act on the advice contained in the posts, but to the posters themselves, who should be careful about the type and amount of information they share. Members who utilize the forum should be mindful of the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, which the Society adopted as its own in 2013. Rule 301, dealing with client confidentiality, provides the following:

 “A member in public practice shall not disclose any confidential client information without the specific consent of the client.” 

As such, members who post to the site should not disclose clients’ names or any information that can be associated with a client. In other words, members utilizing the forum in any manner should beware of their professional responsibility to clients, other members and the public

 

Elliot A. Lesser, CPA, is a retired partner of Berdon LLP.

This article is for informational purposes only. For further guidance on professional issues, please see the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct

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