Accounting Code of Ethics
Every professional body in the world has various moral rules and regulations that have been set to govern it. They are standards of conduct that every professional of a specific field is supposed to follow. It can be considered that ethics can either be external or internal. They encompass the expectations of those people who are involved in various professions so that people can work according to what is needed and not just like they desire. There are various behaviors that are restricted by the various codes of conduct, and no one is allowed to break the various fundamental principles. The codes of conduct have many functions in the current world. The first thing is that they help ensure that there is success in afield because most of them are aligned with objectives and goals of what is to be achieved. They act as a checking tool against any behaviors ton ensure that only the right behaviors are allowed. Upholding integrity is necessary at any place, and the codes of conduct ensure that one remains to be transparent in the way that he or she behaves. Another achievement that has been noted with the use of codes of ethics is that there is mutual respect that is attained.
Professional ethics remains one of the main tenants of the professions that Bayles outlines. The definition of a profession will ensure that the ethical problems that arise in any profession are handled well. a profession has to have extensive training to allow individuals gain special expertise. There is an intellectual component that is included in the training of people towards a specific profession. The paper will be aimed at analyzing the various issues that surround the code of ethics of Accounting as a profession. There are various fundamental principles that guide the behavior of professionals in the field of accounting. The main aim of the Accounting Code of Ethics is to ensure that there is a high display of integrity, competence at work, professionalism, objectivity, and even confidentiality (Payne et al., 2019). There are various rules that are contained in the case of ethics for Accounting.
Code of Ethics in Accounting
The first fundamental principle that guides the profession is integrity. This is a guide that requires accountants to be straightforward in the way that they do their activities. It requires that there should be a high level of honesty in any dealings that they are involved with (Gaynor et al., 2015). The adherence that is maintained in this case has to be unwavering, and people should at all times ensure that there is respect and acting with ethics. Accepting responsibility should be at the heart of ethics, and it is meant to ensure that there is securing of the public interest. Integrity at the workplace is determined by the quality of the character of the individual professional accountant.
Honesty straightforwardness comes out as strong as aspects that will ensure that an individual is acting fairly and with truth. The second principle is that when making any judgments, an accountant should not allow any form of bias or conflict of interest that could undermine the way that he or she makes decisions. Objectivity helps ensure that there are no other factors that are deviating the main roles of the accountant. The accountant is required to lack any form of prejudice or judgment. This is most important when there is a need to maintain the loyalty of the customer and also ensure that there are no ethical conflicts that may arise. In most cases, when making any decision objectively, it is advisable that the accountants do this using information that is clear and has no form of refutation. Personal bias should be avoided at all costs, and even the cultural differences should be considered well in this case.
The third fundamental principle of the accounting code pf ethics is professional competence and due care. The requirement of an accountant is that he or she should ensure that there is continued attainment of knowledge and skills, which will ensure that professional services are provided for the clients. There are various technical and professional standards that a professional accountant should tick to in ensuring that there is due diligence in all actions that one undertakes. Competence is ensured by the accountant refueling the knowledge at all times and ensuring that he or she has knowledge of any developments that are taking place in the world. This knowledge is essential in handling any queries that might be raised by clients and also being well equipped with the latest market trends.
The fourth principle is confidentiality. This involves the ability to keep secret confidential information that is not meant to be shared. Any information that is acquired professionally should not be disclosed to any unintended party at all. A professional accountant should not also use this information for personal gains at all costs. Confidentiality is only allowed to be broken when it is legal or professional duty to do so. The information that the accountant handles is important, and thus there should be no circumstance that he or she might opt to mishandle the information. In most cases, the trust of the clients might grow in relative with the way that affirms or an accountant is ensuring the safety and privacy of information.
The final principle that is contained in the code of ethics is professional behavior, which entails the compliance to the various laws and regulations that have been set and avoidance of anything that could discredit the profession of accounting. There are laws that have been in place for a long time and thus any professional accountant should ensure that he or she followed these laws closely. Any behavior that is meant to contradict these laws means that it might have a huge effect on the ethical morality of an individual as well as that of the whole organization. It is the duty of the accountant to ensure that this is followed closely to avoid any problems with the law or even with the higher authority in an organization.
The first underlying theory that justifies the Accounting code of ethics is deontology. According to this theory, it is the duty of an individual to adhere to various obligations and duties that have been put in place (Lail et al., 2017). The theory insists on upholding the duty of an individual, just like the code of ethics demands that accountants should serve diligently and perform their duties in the right way. There are consistent decisions that are made by people in accounting, and this is in support of the various ideals that are supported by the theory. The second theory which justifies the principles of the code of ethics in accounting is virtue ethical theory. The theory is concerned with the judgment of an individual’s character when rating any unusual behavior. On the first principle of integrity, accountants have to display this to avoid issues such as corruption, as this may receive a harsher judgment. The actions they make at the workplace are essential in understanding the values that they stand for. These two theories justify the various principles and uphold the main issues that are highlighted as a way of ensuring ethical behaviors.
Revisions to the Accounting Code of Ethics
There are various revisions that have taken place on the Accounting Code of Ethics to make it robust and also allow it to cover various areas on matters of ethics. There have been new provisions that have been made available especially on the issue when an accountant is being pressured to breach the fundamental principles or even when preparing and presenting financial information (Brinkman et al., 2016). The main changes that have taken place are meant to strengthen the independence of the accountants buy ensuring that the decisions they make are independent and free of any influence. The revisions to the code that have been done many times mean that the relationship that an accountant has with an audit client has been safeguarded. The clear changes which have been made in recent days include the response of an accountant to the non-compliance with laws and regulations that have been set, a long term association of an accountant who belongs to a firm with a client, and also ethical issues that accountants in business encounter.
There is a need to have various changes in the code to ensure that there is an improved mindset on the side of accountants. Over time, there have been professional skepticism concerning the code of ethics, and it is important to strengthen this. One proposed change is that there should be considerations concerning the role of accountants in society. The compliance with the code of ethics has to be strongly tied with the responsibility of the accountant towards acting with the interest of the public given priority. There is also need for accountants to take into account by inquiring about the application of the conceptual framework. Bias is common in the world, but then the accountants should be made to be aware of this and make any necessary adjustments towards being bias-free (West, 2018). There is need to focus more on how each of the professional accountants complies with the fundamental principles of the original code of conduct, becomes independent on matters of decision making, and applies the conceptual framework in the right way. All these changes will ensure that there is improved ethical performance by individuals, which is meant to uphold the right ethical standards for the profession.
Relationship between Accounting code of ethics and virtue ethics
Accountants are classified as professionals because they manage to satisfy the desires or wants of their clients. There is a professional behavior that surrounds the profession of accounting, and in most cases, most accountants are urged to follow closely on the principles of the code of ethics. To ensure that there is professionalism in accounting through the code of ethics, there are many areas where virtue ethics have a direct correlation. The virtue ethics are essential in achieving professional morality that is being agitated for by the code of ethics. Goof functioning is well tied with the particular roles that people play. Virtue denotes value and morality, and thus only the people that are doing the right thing can be considered to be virtuous. The code of ethics campaigns for good morals through the actions that guide what the accountants should be doing and how best they can help ensure they uphold what is considered to be right (Vosselman, 20160.
Character development is a central point of virtue ethics, and in most times, it is the virtues that an individual possesses that determine who he or she is. The character of a professional accountant is determined by the way he or she sticks to the various fundamental principles which are outlined. An individual will only be considered to possess high integrity if he or she displays the same through actions. It is suggested that accountants should at all times work hard to ensure that they uphold a good character by doing what they consider to be right. Without this, then it means they will not be following virtue ethics and thus contradicting what is needed of them professionally (West, 2018). The morality of the accountant to do what is professional guides the various aspects which are meant to ensure that there is performance at the workplace and there is no law or regulation that has been broken.
Accounting code of ethics is important, and they act as a guide from which the professionals can refer to how best to behave at the workplace. There should be more research that is aimed at understanding the role of virtue ethics in workplaces and if there is any direct link with professional accounting code of ethics. For any accountant to perfume well in their places of work, they have to ensure that they closely follow the various principles that have been outlined above. Going against any of the five principles means that one has acted against what is required and thus the action can be termed as unethical.
Brinkman, B., Gotterbarn, D., Miller, K., & Wolf, M. J. (2016). Making a positive impact: updating the ACM code of ethics. Communications of the ACM, 59(12), 7-13.
Gaynor, G. B., Janvrin, D. J., Pittman, M. K., Pevzner, M. B., & White, L. F. (2015). Comments of the Auditing Standards Committee of the Auditing Section of the American Accounting Association on IESBA Consultation Paper: Improving the Structure of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants: Participating Committee Members. Current Issues in Auditing, 9(1), C12-C17.
Lail, B., MacGregor, J., Marcum, J., & Stuebs, M. (2017). Virtuous professionalism in accountants to avoid fraud and to restore financial reporting. Journal of business ethics, 140(4), 687-704.
Payne, D. M., Corey, C. M., & Raiborn, C. (2018). A model code of ethics for decision making in accounting professions. 2017-2018 OFFICERS President President-Elect, 195.
Vosselman, E. (2016). Accounting, accountability, and ethics in public sector organizations: Toward a duality between instrumental accountability and relational response-ability. Administration & Society, 48(5), 602-627.
West, A. (2018). After virtue and accounting ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 148(1), 21-36.
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