Acct3102 Case Study Example Essay

7717 Words May 13th, 2013 31 Pages
EXAMPLE: HIGH DISTINCTION PAPER

ETHICAL ISSUES
QUESTION 1
Richards adopts a teleological-parochialism position 1 to justify that his actions are ethical, 2 even though they are illegal (Baugher & Weisbord, 2009). 3 Richards argues that his actions are ethical as they resulted in desirable consequences, in the form of better sales/performance figures, which met analyst forecasts and positively affected shareholder value (Radtke, 2004; Fernando, Dharmage, & Almeida, 2008). 4 He acted in the interests of his ‘in-group’ (other executives/managers), maximising their performance-based compensation, 5 at the expense of others (Barnett, Bass, & Brown, 1994). 6 Richards also claims that his actions were not serious, as recognising revenues
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Overall, his actions appear to be unethical. 13 Accounting flexibility refers to managers’ discretion in choosing among numerous acceptable accounting policies that cover the same subject. 14 If CA had achieved the same financial results within “allowed accounting flexibility”, Richards’ actions would be legal; but just because accounting is within the rules does not mean that it is ethical. Furthermore, legality is a continuum, and the line between legal and illegal practices is blurry, and subject to individual interpretation. Legality and ethics are also not co-extensive, and thus it would not significantly adjust my argument (D’Souza, Jacob, & Ramesh, 2001; Rizzi, 2002). 15

11

Shareholders were led to believe that CA was more profitable than it was, and consequently suffered enormous losses. They had either paid more than they should have for the stock, or held on to it when, if they had known the truth, they would have sold it. 12 This extra compensation was at the expense of shareholders. 13 Richards’ actions would be considered unethical under the utilitarianism position, as his actions harms others, and under deontological positions, as he did not follow rules. In this sense, Richards’ actions would be regarded as much more serious under a deontological position, than under a teleological-parochialism position. 14 Accounting flexibility, or financial reporting choice, may also

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