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Professionalism and you

The “Professionalism and You: A Commitment to Independence” program is designed to help you understand some of the independence issues you might face and what you need to do to comply with independence requirements.

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Common independence issues

Financial, business and employer relationships

The lists below include situations that may raise independence* issues involving financial interests or other relationships with restricted entities*. While this is only a partial list, it can serve as a starting point for your independence considerations and guide you in determining whether to discuss your specific situation with an independence advisor.

Ask yourself if you, your spouse, spousal equivalent*, or your dependent(s) hold any of the following financial interests or are involved in any of the following situations. 

If you answer yes to any of the items below, you may want to contact 
National Office Independence (+1 888 269 1068) to discuss whether, based on your assigned legal entity, position, role, or office location, you will need to make changes to maintain independence if you choose to accept employment with the Deloitte US Firms*.


Financial relationships

  • Severance or any other payments (bonus, 401(k) contribution, etc.,) being received from previous employer
  • Vested pension with a previous employer
  • Former employer 401(k) plans or any other employee benefit plan, including stock options, profit sharing, and stock purchase plans
  • Investments — stocks, bonds, mutual funds, unit investment trusts, hedge funds, warrants (including retirement funds, trusts, etc.)
  • Broker-dealer accounts (including margin, cash management (sweep), active asset, retirement (IRA), and other similar accounts)
  • Spouse’s or spousal equivalent’s former and/or current 401(k) plans or any other employee benefit plan (including pension, stock options, profit sharing, and stock purchase plans)
  • College savings plan (529 plans), established by you, your spouse, spousal equivalent or dependent
  • Insurance products, including whole, universal, and variable life
  • Trusts in which you, your spouse, spousal equivalent or dependent is named as a trustee or beneficiary
  • Inheritances
  • Checking or savings accounts with a financial institution with balances over the FDIC insurance limit or its equivalent
  • Credit cards with balances over $5,000
  • Other unsecuritized loans, such as student loans
  • Securitized loans, such as mortgages and lines of credit
  • Partnership interests
  • Brokerage accounts with a financial manager who has discretionary authority to execute transactions on your behalf (i.e., managed account)
  • Named or acting as power of attorney or executor, administrator, or trustee of a trust or estate
  • Uniform gifts to minors

Business relationships

  • Partnerships
  • Joint investment (e.g., partnership interest, vacation home, boat, airplane, etc.)
  • Leasing space to/from restricted entity client (i.e., rent)
  • Buying at a discount
  • Ownership of a franchise or a personal business
  • Member of an investment club

Employment relationships

  • A spouse, spousal equivalent or dependent who is employed in an accounting, financial reporting or other significant role at a company
  • Your current or previous employer is a restricted entity
  • You or your spouse, spousal equivalent, or dependent is an officer or member of a board of directors or audit committee (whether for pay or not)
  • Community activities/community leadership positions
  • Non-Deloitte employment or independent consulting services, including but not limited to professor/instructor roles, part-time employment (e.g., retail store, self-employment, family business, professional service, any other type of paid position), and providing independent contractor services (e.g., sales- or commissions-based activities)

Also consider certain relationships that you are aware of pertaining to your Close Relatives. “Close Relatives” includes your parents, step-parents, non-dependent children and siblings. Note that unlike your spouse, spousal equivalent and dependents, when it comes to Close Relatives, if you are not aware of these situations, you are not required to ask.


Consider contacting National Office Independence if you are aware of a Close Relative who has one of the following situations: a financial interest in a company that is material to his/her net worth; Employment in an accounting, financial reporting or other significant role at a company.


*Deloitte US Firms – Includes the following: Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Deloitte Tax LLP, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and their affiliates

*Independence – Integrity, professional skepticism, intellectual honesty, objectivity, free from conflicts of interest both in fact and appearance

*Restricted entity – Any attest (audit) client and its affiliates including non-client affiliates of the attest client

*Spousal equivalent – Someone who resides continuously in the same residence as you and shares a committed and mutually dependent relationship with you that is similar to a married couple, but you and the cohabitant have either chosen not to marry or cannot legally marry

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Mike Zychinski

Partner | Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer