Due care is the degree of care that an ordinary and reasonable person would normally exercise, and is applied as a test of liability for negligence. The concept has been adopted within the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, and involves the duty to observe the technical and ethical standards of the profession, to continually improve one’s competence, and to discharge one’s responsibilities to the best of one’s ability. A person exercising due care should always be concerned with the best interests of clients, consistent with the responsibility of the profession to the public at large.
The goal of improving one’s competence can be achieved by engaging in continuing professional education, as well as by broadening the span of one’s professional experiences. These efforts should continue throughout the accountant’s professional life.
The accountant should be sufficiently aware of his or her own competence to understand when it is necessary to refer work to other professionals who have a higher degree of competence in certain areas of an engagement.
Discharging one’s responsibilities to the best of one’s abilities means being diligent during an engagement, so that services are rendered to a client promptly, activities are planned and supervised adequately, and work is completed both carefully and thoroughly, while observing the relevant technical and ethical standards.