1Code of Ethics for Accountants Brittany Jones Kaplan University AC504
2Introduction A clear distinction between personal and professional ethics exists. Although eachindividual believes in some form of ethics, varying perspectives are individually held. In orderfor advancement in one’s personal career it becomes essential to first discover the ethics andmorals he/she maintains in life. Once a person is able to sustain the principles of ethics in his/herpersonal life the individual is then able to uphold the same ethics in his/her professional life. Thefollowing will discuss ethical standards and codes which are the building block of the accountingstandards and will investigate the influence of further development and advancement of theethical standards and codes on a professional practice in the field of accounting. Lastly, theimportance of professional ethical standards and codes will be examined in the field ofaccounting. Therefore, what exactly are ethical standards and codes?Ethical Standards and codes A dictionary defined “ethical standards” as principles that when followed, promote valuessuch as trust, good behavior, fairness, and or kindness. There is not one consistent set ofstandards that all companies follow, but each company has the right to develop those standardsthat are meaningful for their organization. Ethical standards are not always easily enforceable, asthey are frequently vaguely defined and somewhat open to interpretation. Others can be morespecific, such as “Do not share the customer’s private information with anyone outside thecompany. This same business term dictionary defined “Code of Ethics” as a written set ofguidelines issued by an organization to its worker and management to help them conduct theiractions in accordance with its primary value and ethical standards.Accountants Professional Ethics
3 With the recent mega bankruptcies of Enron, WorldCom, there have never been a moreappropriate time to focus is the ethics of individuals and professionals in business. The FinancialExecutives International business group (FEI) uses phrases such as: Act with honesty and integrity Avoid conflicts of interest in personal and professional relationships Provide information that is accurate, complete, objective, and timely Comply with the rules and regulations of federal, state and government (Eber, 2010, Paragraph 1). A professional accountant is required to comply with the following fundamental principles inthe code of ethics: Integrity - A professional accountant should be honest and straightforward in professional and business relationships Objectively – A professional accountant should not allow bias, conflict of interest or undue influence of others to override professional or business judgments Due Care – Continuing duty to maintain professional knowledge and skills to ensure receipt of competent professional service – act diligently and in accordance with technical and professional standards when providing professional services Confidentially – A professional accountant needs to respect the confidentially of information acquired and should not disclose any information to third parties without authority
4 Professional Behavior – A professional accountant should comply with relevant laws and regulations and should avoid actions that discredit their profession. (Saeed, 2000, Page 2)Importance of Ethics in Accounting Ethics are important throughout the business world, but they are especially important foraccountants and all accounting practices. In general, this is because accounting deals more withfacts, figures and hard data than any other business area. This means that there is less room forperspective, and the results of unethical behavior are much more widespread.Ethics in accounting and financial decision making Ethics is the system of rules that governs the ordering of values. Ethics in accounting isanother environmental factor affecting accounting, and business in general, is the growingconcern over ethics. This concern has been a focus of the accounting scandals of the early 2000s.Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco (to name a few) each resulted from upper management’s falsifyingfinancial reports (with the help of the company’s internal accountants) and external auditors notdetecting those falsifications. Accounting rules and the resulting information are designed tocapture and reflect the underlying performance of a company (University of Phoenix, 2008).Conclusion When discussing the topic of ethical standards and codes in the field of Accounting,many areas in which one can explore the topic exist. Throughout discussions involving ethicalcodes in general, it becomes clear how vital they are to the field, research, and occupations ofaccounting and its practitioners. Without ethical standards and codes there would truly be norules to live by, creating possible chaos in the field. The overall importance of established
5professional ethical standards and codes are all necessary in mitigating the full understanding ofethics in psychology overall. When you become an accountant, you should be familiar with the standards and rules ofthe position, accept personal responsibility for the foreseeable consequence of your actions, andrealize the long term effects of your behavior on the accounting industry and the citizens. At alltimes, an accountant should conduct themselves with integrity, dignity, and respect for theposition held in society.
6 ReferencesEber, William A. 2010, Accountants Professional Ethics, Retrieved from http://www.metrocorpcounsel.com/articles/4037/accountants- professional-ethicsMaughen, Jennifer, N.D., Basic Accounting Code of Ethics, Retrieved on April 6, 2010, http://www/life123.com/career- money/accounting/accounting-ethics.shtmlSaeed, Ghazala, 2003, Are Ethics Important for Professional Accountants? Retrieved from http://www.ezinarticles.com/?Are-Ethics-Important-For- Professional-Accountants?&id=516791