It would seem that the finance or bookkeeping department of any company faces the greatest number of ethical challenges because the opportunity to manipulate the accounting and misrepresent or otherwise take money from the company is ‘ever-present.’ However, there are opportunities for unethical behavior in all areas of a business – and in all businesses in the economy.
Fraudulent financial reporting is one form of corporate corruption and may involve the manipulation of the documents used to record accounting transactions, the misrepresentation of accounting events or transactions, or the intentional misapplication of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) (Crumbley, Heitger, and Smith, 2013). Examples of fraudulent schemes befitting of this category abound and usually involve financial statement items that have been misclassified, omitted, overstated, undervalued, or prematurely recognized. One case involving CEO Bill Smith of Moonstay
“ In order to prevent fraudulent financial reports and statements, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants(AICPA) has created ethical standards” (Ethical standards in a financial statement, 2011). These standards aim to make financial professionals accountable for their accounting practices. This includes the integrity of financial reporting and ensuring financial reporting is done fairly and factually. Financial accountants and professionals should maintain professional integrity, objectivity, and independence to reduce the risk of resulting legal action, loss of profits, and a poor reputation if improper financial reporting is done (Ethical standards in a financial statement, 2011).
This post will discuss two ethical accounting dilemmas that could occur in the CPA profession. For each dilemma, it will explain how the dilemma could be resolved based on logic and reason. It will then support that proposed resolution through support from the American Institute of Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) Code of Professional Conduct.
In the later part of 1990s, there was an epidemic of accounting scandals which arose with the disclosure of financials transgressions by trusted corporate executives. The misdeeds involved misusing or misdirecting funds, understating expenses, overstating the value of corporate assets or underreporting the existence of liabilities, and overstating of revenues.
Unfortunately, all those efforts have not been vindicated because of the following reasons: Accounting did not cause the recent corporate scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. Unreliable financial statements were the results of management decisions, fraudulent or otherwise. To blame management’s misdeeds on fraudulent financial statements casts accountants as the scapegoats and misses the real issue. Reliable financial reports rely to a certain extent on effective internal controls, but effective internal controls rely to a large extent on a reliable management system coupled with strong corporate governance. when management deliberately or even unlawfully manipulates business processes in order to achieve desirable financial goals and present untruthful financial reports to the public, accounting systems are abused and victims rather than perpetrators.
Accounting is the study of how businesses track their income and assets over time. Accountants engage in a wide variety of activities besides preparing financial statements and recording business transactions. These activities include computing costs and efficiency gains from new technologies, participating in strategies for mergers and acquisitions, quality management, developing and using information systems to track financial
Accountants are relied upon to be trustworthy and maintain high ethical standards. It is because of the nature of the profession that puts them in a position of trust with people who rely on their professional judgment and guidance in making decisions. These decisions are extremely important in accounting and more so that companies that have high ethical standard or main good ethical culture spend enormous time to train the staffs about the conduct that is expected of them.
Ethics in any industry is important, but for Accounting professionals and those in need of their services, it is a particularly stressed element. Information provided by accountants is used to make major decisions, including investing, downsizing, expanding, etc, so accountants are expected to be competent, reliable, and have a high degree of professional integrity. Because of these high expectations, the professional accountancy industry, like many other professions, has adopted professional codes of ethics (Woelfel, 1986). These ethical codes go above and beyond the requirements for state or federal laws and regulations. There are several professional organizations within the
Businesses, investors, creditors rely on accounting ethics. The accounting profession requires honesty, consistency with industry standards, and compliance with laws and regulations. The ethics increase the responsibility and integrity of accounting professionals, and public trust. The ethical requirements influence the management behavior and decision-making. The financial scandal of Enron and Arthur Anderson demonstrates the failure of fundamental ethical framework, such as off-balance sheet transactions, misrepresentation of financial statements, inaccurate disclosure, manipulations with earnings, etc. The confronted accounting profession and concern for ethics in businesses forced regulators to revise the conceptual framework of accounting processes.
Imagine trusting your hard-earned money like your retirement savings to a financial adviser or Certified Public Accountants (CPA) only to lose it all in a fraudulent Ponzi scheme. In today’s world of business many organizations, financial planners and accountants are in the news due to the financial ethical breaches that have affected their customers, employees, and the general public. A CPA has to be responsible for their audits and take any punishments as a result of their mistakes, incompetence or illegal actions. CPAs are expected to have integrity in their work,
Accounting is the language of business. It is a profession that is being guided by principles, concepts, conventions, laws, etc. All these fundamental building blocks serve as common and general compasses to all practitioners of the profession. In some cases, they are nation-wide tailored, while in other cases, they are universally tailored. Accounting as a living, practical, dynamic and realistic profession covers so many areas of social, economic (business), and governmental activities. Surely, any endeavour that involves monetary and material activities create a room for the services of Accounting. Many of the human endeavours for which the accounting profession plays significant (some times inevitable) roles include; Banking, Insurance, Manufacturing, Farming Contracting, Oil and Gas, Mining, Transportation (Air, Land and Sea), Educational Institutions, Churches, Ministries, ICT, Hire Purchase, Local Government Authorities, Estate Businesses, Export and Import Businesses, Bill of Exchange Transactions, Royalties Transactions, Consignment Transactions, Stock Market Transactions, Sports, Entertainment, Hospitals and Hospitality Industry, etc.
The key to the article “Cooking the Books” is to cover the business ethics of an accounting manager ordering one of his accountants to falsifying a company’s accounting ledger. The Generally Accepted Accounting Principle of expense recognition was not followed. The accounting manager was attempting to commit fraud for personal gain, he does this by manipulating the books to show higher revenue in order to meet the volume for management bonus. The accounting manager also created a hostile working environment by threating his accountant’s job security if he didn’t comply with his orders. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act will also be explored to see if there was a violation due to the unethical behavior of the
An important function of the accounting field is to provide external users of financial statements with assurance that the financial information being presented is both reliable and accurate. This basic function of accounting is so important that there is an entire field of experts, called auditors, dedicated to assuring its proper performance. Throughout history there have been many instances in which the basic equilibrium between an institution and current/potential investor has been threatened due to a lack of accountability and trust between the two parties. This issue has been the catalyst for many discussions regarding the proper procedures a firm should follow in order to provide