The Way We Were | CPA Journal – Vincent J. Love
The following article was authored by Vince J. Love
Concerning changes in the strict compliance with the Code of Professional Conduct in the Profession over the years.
Published in the February 2019 issue of the CPA Journal.
The Way We Were
By Vincent J. Love
The Lawyer’s duty is first of all to his client, and that duty frequently compels him to avail himself of technicalities and other means of enabling that client to evade the Law and its penalties; but the Public Accountant has only one duty to his client and the Public, and that is to disclose to him or for him ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’ so far as his abilities and special training to that end enable him to ascertain it.
—Robert H. Montgomery, 1905
I read with great interest Arthur Radin’s article in the September 2018 CPA Journal, “Reflections on My 66 Years in Public Accounting.” While I cannot compete with Arthur on the number of years in the profession, I wholeheartedly agree with his pride in the profession. I do, however, have one observation about “life in the beginning” that I believe is worth mentioning.
In the Beginning
In 1967, after more than three years as an officer on active duty in the U.S. Army, I began my career as a public accountant with Arthur Young & Company. My beginning salary was less than I made as a captain, but high compared to beginning salaries in the profession. I knew nothing about financial statements before I took my first course in accounting at the Baruch School of Business Administration of the City College of New York.
The one point not touched on by Arthur Radin relates to the grounding of the profession in the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct. I left the service, where the saying was “an officer’s word is his bond.” I joined an accounting firm where great emphasis was placed on ethical behavior no matter the cost. The tone at the top ingrained ethical behavior into all of its professionals. The need for strict adherence to ethical standards was emphasized at the first firm introductory session and reemphasized in all subsequent staff meetings and firm CPE courses. Maintaining a client relationship was very important, but came second to ethical behavior.
After the Beginning