Ignorance of the Law Is Not a Defense

By Grumet, Louis | The CPA Journal, June 2006 | Go to article overview

Ignorance of the Law Is Not a Defense


Grumet, Louis, The CPA Journal


In this digital age, most of us have installed software on a computer. It's basically the same process every time. After downloading a program off the Internet or loading a CD, you click "Next" through a series of screens before arriving at the ubiquitous License Agreement You know the one: warning you to PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING LICENSE AGREEMENT CAREFULLY; written in legal jargon; and the approximate length of War and Peace. Below the Agreement are two small buttons asking you to either accept or decline the terms of the License Agreement. In order to move forward, you must accept the terms of the Agreement

So what usually happens at this point? Do most people carefully read the Agreement? Mark key stipulations with a red pen? Call their lawyer? No. For better or worse, most people simply click the button to accept the terms without even reading the first sentence. After more finger-numbing "Nexts," the software is installed and, more often than not, everything is fine.

But let's say that-having hastily accepted the Agreement-some users unknowingly violate its terms by installing a copy of the software on another computer. The software company discovers the violation and decides to sue. Can the users say they are not liable because they didn't read the Agreement? Of course not! Once users accept the Agreement they are responsible for upholding its terms-whether they have read them or not

The CPA's Responsibility

The same applies to New York State CPAs when it comes to upholding New York State laws. The very fact that practicing CPAs in New York State have been granted a license means they have implicitly agreed to obey the state's laws, even if they haven't read them all. Knowing the law is a CPA's responsibility and, like the case above, ignorance is not an excuse. CPAs can make a business decision to not practice in New York State, or to not practice in certain areas. But once CPAs have made a decision to practice in New York State, or to audit certain stateregulated entities, they have the responsibility to know and uphold all the state's laws affecting their practice. Although this may sound obvious (of course New York State CPAs should know and uphold New York State laws!), it may be so fundamental ... so seemingly simple ... that it may be overlooked.

CPAs who provide professional services to a client that is regulated by a state agency must fully understand applicable state statutes and regulations to ascertain whether state law includes requirements pertaining to the services to be rendered to that client Interpretation 501-3 of the Society's Code of Professional Conduct states, in part, "Engagements for audits of government grants, government units, or other recipients of government monies typically require that such audits be in compliance with government audit standards, guides, procedures, statutes, rules and regulations, in addition to generally accepted auditing standards," and members are obligated to follow such requirements. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ignorance of the Law Is Not a Defense
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.