30 April 2018

Accounting professional judgement

PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT

The professional public accountant has the purpose to satisfy society’s needs through the financial information for decision-making. Law 43 of 1990 in Colombia defines the profession of public accountant, as the natural person who, through the inscription attesting to their professional competence in terms of the aforementioned law, is empowered to give public faith of facts of their profession.

When one accountant acts, they do as an individual, professional, independent, it means accompanied by mental independence. In fact, the rules that regulate the profession are derived of personal act, not only civil but criminal responsibility. This requires that the accounting expert not only learn the techniques of representation that uses in its task, but the accountant must possess ability to interpret not only the economic phenomena but also all those factors that develop in the environment in which the accountant act; to know the obligations imposed to financial information, to companies and economic activity; have extensive knowledge of legislation; be aware of the role of information in the economy and the actual society for the accountant could anticipate information requirements; dominate quantitative techniques of areas as informatics, prognosis, management and direction in order to practice their profession with power (Plan, Organize, Manage, Execute and Review). The public accountant is responsible for the public trust, gives public faith when their signature and professional card number approve a document that certifies certain economic facts.

Accounting is a profession with social responsibility. The discipline that founded the public accountant profession is accounting, which has a relation with the development of any country, because the accounting is the primary source of information, is the language of business which facilitates planning macro and micro economic, promotes the creation and efficient placement of capital, generates trust among investors and savers, these makes possible the correct functioning of institutions and economic units, this promotes the development of the capital markets and constitute the guide of economic activity, promoting the rational employment of the existing resources in a country.

The information mentioned demonstrates the social content of the accounting discipline.  That is why the expression "social responsibility" is defined as the accounting information acting in and for the community, its validity and perfection are reached on the basis of their consistency with the values, guidelines and requirements of the community as a whole. When one of these requirements is developed, and since the discipline contribute actively to the same, highly social dimension of accounting is clearly manifested.

 ETHICS CODE

The professional judgment and the good judgment correspond to qualities that are only predicable of natural persons, because based on them is developed their mental independence as humans and professionals in the exercise of this career.

It imposes an ethic inspired by the person whose dignity will lead to consensuses which operates in economic, political and social field. Consensuses that safeguard the fundamental rights of the person and tutelage the common good.  This is the ethical framework for the professional exercise of the public accountant defined in Decree 302 of 2015 and compiled within the Decree 2420 of 2015, which provides a new ethical framework that complements the law 43 of 1990 in Colombia.

To be highly reliable professionals, accountants must enable people and organizations to shape their future by combining a deep perception in all cases with the following basic principles of ethics professional that are part of everyday life: integrity, righteousness, honesty, dignity, objectivity, competence and professional diligence, confidentiality and professional behavior.

ACCOUNTING PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT

Accounting Professional requires knowledge of the elements that create and structure the professional judgment that is closely related to ethics. For this, an approach to the definition and importance of the professional judgment in work activities related to its performance is mentioned both in the international standards of financial reporting (IFRS) and international standards Audit (NIAS).

Professional judgment, whose main elements are accountant’ knowledge and expertise, is increasingly important in the practice of this profession. The importance of a correct application of the practical training, the knowledge and the experience as main elements of the professional judgment of the public accountant determine the valuable of their judgment can be. We could define the professional judgment as a complement between the technical knowledge and the experience that the professional must achieve to be applied at all times. Professional judgment is required for correct decision making.

For that reason, not only accountants have the responsibility to transmit their knowledge but must have excellent behavior and thus contribute to the good name of the profession. In this sense, associated with the ethics, it is necessary to have consciousness, intention, conviction, and the purpose of act properly to give a good judgment, which is a matter of concern because the accounting profession has lost credibility in our country by the various scandals in public and private companies, where is has questioned the role of the accountant and the accountant’s responsibility to the state and society.

Professional judgment can also be evaluated by third parties, which with the documentation that supports, can understand the judgment issued by the professional and verify the correct application of the accounting and auditing principles, to the facts or administrative decisions.

It is of grave concern the role that execute the accountant in the socio-economic environment in the country, because the majority of the companies are small and medium-sized. Most entrepreneurs don't value to the accountant for their professional training and judgment that issue for decision making, but rather give to accountant the figure of the regulator's costs and expenses, looking for answers to the economic needs.

Conclusion

In all their professional activities the public accountant shall apply their professional judgment, which its developed from the training stage and is going stronger with experience and update, although with a behavior in accordance with the requirements and relevant ethical principles; in this way their acts constitute warranty for the users of the information prepared, revised or deemed by the accountant, according to the specific work that is developing. The responsibility will be limit with standards, but never replace professional judgment. The judgment derives the character, and of the principles and values learned by a lot of study and experience. The professional should take into consideration and prosecute all the circumstances with professionalism and in the light of its values and fundamental principles rather than simply applying the regulatory model.

Finally, it won't be relevant if professional applied or not the corresponding standard, the most important is the economic and moral consequences derived from their negligent or fraudulent actions.

Clara Triana, Auren Colombia

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