Capstone Project: Values and Morals

Pages: 7 (2381 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Ethics  ·  Buy This Paper

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Moreover, the word "maslahah" means "benefit or interest," and this suggests that the public interest must be protected. Hence, believing in maslahah means doing what is in the best interest of the public. Taken at face value, this should be the rule of thumb when a person is going into the accounting field; if it is not in the best interest of the public, or of the client, or of the company, than it is unethical and should be avoided (Yunanda, 131).

A peer-reviewed article in Accounting Education: an international journal points out that an Ethics Education Toolkit is available courtesy of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). The Toolkit is designed to stimulate discussion and debate regarding ethics education, and this is necessary because notwithstanding the tremendous amount of attention given to ethical education, research reveals that ethical education in accounting "…is still not covered in a significant way in most institutions" (Cooper, et al., 2008, p. 407).

In fact a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that "…ethics is not a consistent and integrated part of the education of most accounting students" (Cooper, 407). Hence, what the authors of this scholarly article are attempting to portray is the need for educators to teach moral reasoning -- and not just the do's and don'ts of accounting practices -- so students actually gain a deep background in ethical behavior vis-a-vis accounting. One way to encourage including ethics in accounting-related education is to embrace the Toolkit, which is a "comprehensive electronic package" that includes a range of topics with supporting materials, Cooper continues. Additional research presented by Cooper in this article reflects that students are not impressed with the basic tenets of ethics because of the "ambiguity that is inherent in ethical issues" (415). Hence, the use of the Toolkit is vital because it brings ethics down to a level they can grasp, debate with fellow students about, and learn from.

What should be taught to accountant students in colleges and universities?

According to a peer-reviewed article in the International Journal of Business and Social Science, the following concepts should be taught in colleges and universities: a) the nature of ethics; b) differences of "detailed rules-based and principles-based framework approaches" to ethics (including the advantages and disadvantages); c) professional behavior and how to comply with ethical standards; d) "concept of independence, skepticism, accountability and public expectations" for accountants; e) laws relating to ethical behavior; f) how to comply with the "fundamental ethical principles of integrity, objectivity…and confidentiality"; g) decision-making for the individual professional accountant; h) the consequences of unethical behavior to the "individual, profession, and society"; i) "corporate governance"; and j) "social responsibility" (Sadowski, et al., 2012, p. 17).

Perceptions of Male and Female Accounting Majors

An interesting study was conducted to take a close look at the perceptions of male and female accounting majors as to how they perceived the industry before and after the Enron/Arthur Anderson scandals. Sixty students were given a questionnaire that was designed to examine how males and females respond to the scandals. Twenty-two of the students were male and 38 were females; 87% were between the age of 18-24; and 12 were accounting majors. When asked if they considered themselves ethical, all male and female accounting majors said yes, they are ethical. (7% of non-accounting majors said they were unethical). Did they have a solid understanding of ethics prior to the Enron scandal? All male and female indicated they did have a good handle on ethics prior to Enron (13% of non-accounting majors had no response). They were asked if the scandal affected their interest in the field. Seventeen percent of females said no, it had no affect; 3% of males said no and 3% said yes to that issue. Meanwhile all of the majors in accounting agreed that "adoption of code of ethics would help organizational integrity" (Onyebuchi, 2011).

In conclusion, there is no doubt that ethics should be taught at the university level, and that given the information presented in this paper, having accounting students work as interns or otherwise go into the community to learn hands-on skills helps instill a sense of ethics regarding their chosen profession.

Works Cited

Brown-Liburd, Helen L., and Porco, Barbara M. (2011). It's What's Outside that Counts:

Do Extracurricular Experiences Affect the Cognitive Moral Development of Undergraduate Accounting Students? Issues in Accounting Education, 26(2), 439-454.

Cooper, Barry J., Leung, Philomena, Dellaportas, Steven, Jackling, Beverley, and Wong,

Grace. (2008). Ethics Education for Accounting Students -- a Toolkit Approach.

Accounting Education: an international journal, 17(4), 405-430.

Cowton, Christopher J. Accounting and the ethics challenge: remembering the professional

Body. Accounting and Business Research, 39(3), 177-189.

James, Kendra. (2010). Ethical Dilemmas in Accounting. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 19, 2012, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com.

Leitsch, Deborah. (2004). Differences in the Perceptions of Moral Intensity in the Moral

Decision Process: An Empirical Examination of Accounting Students. Journal of Business Ethics, 53(3), 313-323.

Onyebuchi, Vincent N. (2011). Perceptions of Male and Female Accounting Majors and Non-Accounting Majors on Ethics in Accounting. International Journal of Business and Social Science. 2(17), 74-78.

Sadowski, Susan T., and Thomas, J.R. (2012). Toward a Convergence of Global Ethics

Standards: A Model from the Professional Field of Accountancy.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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