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RULE §523.131Board Approval of Ethics Course Content

(a) The content of an ethics course designed to satisfy the four CPE credit ethics CPE requirements of §523.130 of this chapter (relating to Ethics Course Requirements) must be submitted to the CPE committee of the board for initial approval and upon request thereafter. The primary objectives of the ethics course shall be to:

  (1) encourage the licensee to become educated in the ethics of the profession;

  (2) convey the intent of the board's Rules of Professional Conduct in the licensee's performance of professional accounting services, and not mere technical compliance;

  (3) apply ethical judgment in interpreting the rules and provide for a clear understanding of the public interest. The public interest shall be placed ahead of self-interest, even if it means a loss of job or client;

  (4) emphasize the ethical standards of the profession, as described in this section; and

  (5) review and discuss the board's Rules of Professional Conduct and their implications for persons in a variety of practices, including at least one example from subparagraph (A) of this paragraph and at least one example from either subparagraph (B) or (C) of this paragraph:

    (A) a licensee engaged in the client practice of public accountancy who performs attest and non-attest services, as defined in §501.52 of this title (relating to Definitions); and

    (B) a licensee employed in industry who provides internal accounting and auditing services; or

    (C) a licensee employed in education or in government accounting or auditing.

(b) To meet the objectives of subsection (a) of this section, a course must be four hours in length and its components should be approximately:

  (1) 25% on ethical principles and values;

  (2) 25% on ethical reasoning and dilemmas;

  (3) 15% on the board's Rules of Professional Conduct with special focus on recent changes in those rules and including information on the peer assistance available to Texas CPAs, CPA candidates and accounting students with alcohol or other substance abuse, depression, stress or other mental health issues through the Accountants Confidential Assistance Network (ACAN); and

  (4) 35% on case studies that require application of ethical principles, values, and ethical reasoning within the context of the board's Rules of Professional Conduct.

(c) Course content shall be approved only after demonstrating, either in a live instructor format, a blended program format, or interactive (computer based) format, as defined in §523.102(c)(1) of this chapter (relating to CPE Purpose and Definitions), that the course contains the underlying intent established in the following criteria:

  (1) the course shall be designed to teach CPAs to achieve and maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct through ethical reasoning and the core values of the profession: integrity, objectivity, and independence, as ethical principles in addition to rules of conduct;

  (2) the course shall address ethical considerations and the application of the board's Rules of Professional Conduct to all aspects of the professional accounting work whether performed by CPAs in client practice or CPAs who are not in client practice; and

  (3) the course shall convey the spirit and intent of the board's Rules of Professional Conduct in the licensee's performance of accounting services, and not mere technical compliance.

(d) Live ethics courses must be taught in one single four-hour session, including one 10-minute break each hour or its equivalent.

(e) Ethics courses may be reevaluated every three years or as required by the CPE committee. Updated versions of the course and any other course materials, such as course evaluations, shall be provided when requested by the committee for the course to be continued as an approved course.

(f) At the conclusion of each self-study course, the sponsor shall administer a test to determine whether the program participants have obtained a basic understanding of the course content, including the need for a high level of ethical standards in the accounting profession.

(g) A sponsor of an ethics course approved by the board pursuant to this section shall comply with the board's rules concerning sponsors of CPE and shall provide its advertising materials to the board's CPE committee for approval. Such advertisements shall:

  (1) avoid commercial exploitation;

  (2) identify the primary focus of the course; and

  (3) be professionally presented and consistent with the intent of §501.82 of this title (relating to Advertising).

Source Note: The provisions of this §523.131 adopted to be effective April 7, 2004, 29 TexReg 3477; amended to be effective February 17, 2008, 33 TexReg 1113; amended to be effective August 11, 2010, 35 TexReg 6827; amended to be effective June 8, 2011, 36 TexReg 3410; amended to be effective February 6, 2013, 38 TexReg 504; amended to be effective April 13, 2016, 41 TexReg 2593; amended to be effective March 29, 2017, 42 TexReg 1445; amended to be effective December 1, 2021, 46 TexReg 8058

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