The purpose of this Code is to provide standards for Members of the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada (IPBC), which define appropriate conduct in their employment and practice. In society, the trust in, and reliance on, the financial records of businesses and individuals, is dependent upon the preparer’s truthful, careful and diligent making and keeping of those records. The Code and Guidance herein are based on the principles which have emerged out of the collective experience of the profession, recognizing that a code of professional conduct, which is enforceable by sanctions, does not by its nature state the most that is expected of Members, but simply the least -- the Code thus defines a minimum level of acceptable conduct. Adherence to this Code will preserve the dignity, respect and trust accorded to this organization and its Members.
The IPBC requires all Members to conduct themselves, at all times, in a manner which will maintain the good reputation of the profession and serve the public interest. In doing so, Members are expected to avoid any action that would discredit the profession. Ethical conduct in its highest sense, however, is a product of personal character -- an acknowledgement by the individual that the standard to be observed goes beyond that of simply conforming to the letter of a list of prohibitions. A Member’s involvement in any organization should be based primarily upon a reputation for professional excellence. Any Member who occupies a position of senior authority should recognize that such positions include an obligation to influence events, practices and attitudes within that organization. Accordingly, such Members should encourage an ethics-based culture in their organizations that emphasizes the importance of ethical behaviour and compliance with generally accepted standards of practice of the profession. At all times, Members are expected to act in relation to other professional colleagues with the courtesy and consideration they would expect to be accorded by their professional colleagues.
Integrity and Due Care
The IPBC requires all Members to perform professional services with integrity and due care. Members are expected to be straightforward, honest and fair in all professional relationships. They are also expected to act diligently and in accordance with applicable technical and professional standards when providing professional services. Diligence includes the responsibility to act, in respect of any professional service, carefully, thoroughly, and on a timely basis. Members must not sign or associate themselves with letters, reports, or statements that are false or misleading. Members are required to ensure that those performing professional services under their authority have adequate training and supervision. Members have a professional duty to act with integrity and due care, and a contractual duty to provide services as defined by the terms of their engagement or employment.
The IPBC requires that all Members shall sustain professional competence by keeping informed of, and complying with, developments in professional standards in all functions in which the Member provides professional services or is relied upon because of the Member’s calling. This underscores the need for maintaining individual professional skill and competence by adhering to the continuing education requirements of IPBC. All Members shall comply with IPBC bylaws and regulations as may be approved and in force from time to time.
The IPBC requires all Members to protect confidential information they acquire as a result of professional, employment, or business relationships, and to not; disclose it without proper and specific authority; or exploit it for their personal advantage, or the advantage of a third party. The principle of confidentiality obliges Members to protect and maintain the confidentiality of information, both outside of and within a member’s firm or employing organization, ensuring client information is kept confidential, and to properly address a situation that may arise when confidentiality is breached.
The disclosure of confidential information by a Member may be required or appropriate where such disclosure is;
a. permitted or authorized by the client or employer;
b. required by law, or;
c. permitted or required by a professional right or duty, when not prohibited by law.
The IPBC requires that all Members not allow their professional or business judgment to be compromised by bias, conflict of interest, or the undue influence of others. The Clients expect that Members will bring objectivity and sound professional judgment to their services. It thus becomes essential that a Member will not subordinate professional judgment to external influences or the will of others.
1. A Member must at all times co-operate with the IPBC and promptly attend to, and respond to, any communications from the Institute. They must comply with any order or resolution of the Board of Directors, or any order, officer, agent, tribunal, committee, or other authoritative body acting on behalf of the IPBC authorized under the bylaws.
2. A Member shall not participate in illegal activities in any jurisdiction. A Member must notify the IPBC immediately having been convicted of any criminal offence, including but not limited to; an offence of fraud; theft; forgery; money-laundering; extortion; counterfeiting; criminal organization activities; violation of the provisions of any securities legislation; violation of the provisions of any tax legislation that involves, explicitly or implicitly, dishonesty on the part of the member; or having been discharged absolutely, or upon condition, after pleading guilty to, or being found guilty of, an offense.
3. A Member may on occasion find the work of another professional sub-standard. In this case, it is recommended that they communicate their findings to the other professional involved, unless limited or restricted in writing by the terms of the engagement. Both parties should ensure that professional integrity is maintained at all times.
Professional Services and Fiduciary Duty
1. A member shall not;
a. produce or present any documentation or information which the member knows, or should know, is false or misleading, whether or not the signing or association is subject to a disclaimer of responsibility, nor;
b. make or associate with any oral report, statement or representation which the registrant knows, or should know, is false or misleading.
2. Members must not, whether in their employment or in connection to their supply of services, describe themselves, or allow themselves to be described; as holding any designation; qualification; or professional designation the member does not currently hold, or is not currently a member.
3. Preparation of Financial Statements
Members of the IPBC are not licensed as “public accountants”, and therefore, they may only produce compilation financial statements as allowed by the Accountants Act in each province, and all reports presented should be identified as such.
Best Bookkeeping Practices
1. A Member must not undertake work for a client where the interests of the Member and the client conflict.
2. A Member entitled to provide bookkeeping services may engage in any advertising or promotion provided that it conforms to the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.
3. In any professional correspondence in relation to bookkeeping work with any person with whom the Member has professional dealings, the member shall ensure that any letter written discloses any designator letters the Member is entitled to use, such as “CPB”.
4. A Member who is entitled to provide bookkeeping services may trade using any trading name or style provided that;
a. the trading name is lawful;
b. the trading name is consistent with the dignity of practice operated by members of a professional body;
c. the trading name does not include the words "Certified Professional Bookkeeper", or "Certified Professional Bookkeepers", unless the principal in the case of sole practitioner, or all the partners in the case of a partnership, or all the directors in the case of a company, are Members of the IPBC, and are entitled to provide bookkeeping services to the public.
d. notwithstanding the foregoing, a Member may seek, and have been granted written approval by the IPBC for a trading name.
5. A Member who has been entrusted with the files, documents, or papers of any client must at all times hold and preserve them safely in a convenient, secure place and keep them separated from any other clients’ files.
6. A designated Member of a firm providing services who is associated in the practice with, or employs, a non-designated Member, shall be responsible to the IPBC for any failure of such non-designated Member to abide by this Code.
8. A Member will ensure training needs of their employees, associates, and themselves, are regularly revised and maintained.
9. Before any work is undertaken, a Member shall undertake due diligence by establishing precisely what work or transaction is desired to be carried out, and to what purpose through the use of a Letter of Engagement.