1.0 Introduction| |
2.0 Issues Surrounding the Professionalism of Accounting| | 3.0 Literature Review| |
4.0 Presentation of the main Idea about the Professionalism of Accounting| | 5.0 Analysis and discussion | |
6.0 Conclusion| |
7.0 Reference| |
2.0 ISSUES SURROUNDING THE PROFESSIONALISM OF ACCOUNTING
Twenty years ago, Briloff (1986) alerted the profession to the crisis of credibility being faced because society perceived accountants to have lost their commitment to public service. The credibility of the profession is threatened when the ideals of integrity, independence, public service and ethical standards come under suspicion. Well-known scandals of one of the major leading accounting firms in the United States Arthur Andersen coupled with alleged unethical acts committed by Enron have arouse the conscious of the public and stakeholders as to the moral decline and unethical posture of public accountants unveiled a decline in moral reasoning and ethical standards of public accountants (Dellaportas, 2006; Esmond-Kiger, 2004). Over the last few years, the accounting profession has been beaten up badly in the media, somewhat justifiably. The forces at work were numerous and complex and a variety of phenomena created the entire profession had its reputation tarnished. Some forces were not new: delivering services that acted to impair independence; becoming too cozy with clients, active participation in finding ways to circumvent accounting standards, and even simple greed. The profession has paid dearly for failing to meet the expectations of investors, creditors, and other users of financial statements. Finally, the public lose their trust and confidence on the accounting profession and thus, the professional standing of accountant is jeopardized. There are several ethical issues faced by the public accountants in a result of jeopardizing the professional standing of the accountants. First, the burden for public companies to succeed at high levels may place undue stress and pressure on accountants creating balance sheets and financial statements. The ethical issue for these accountants becomes maintaining true reporting of company assets, liabilities and profits without giving in to the pressure placed on them by management or corporate officers. Unethical accountants could easily alter company financial records and maneuver numbers to paint false pictures of company successes. This may lead to short-term prosperity, but altered financial records will ultimately spell the downfall of companies when the Securities and Exchange Commission discovers the fraud. Furthermore, an accountant may face the ethical dilemma of reporting discovered accounting violations to the Financial Accounting Standards Board. While it is an ethical accountant's duty to report such violations, the dilemma arises in the ramifications of the reporting. Government review of company financial records and the bad press caused by an accounting scandal could cause the company's rapid decline and may lead to the layoff of thousands of employees. Executives and other corporate officers could also face criminal prosecution, leading to heavy fines and prison time. Thus, the accountants choose to be unethical in concealing such accounting violations. Moreover, greed in the business and finance world leads to shaving ethical boundaries and stepping around safeguards in the name of making more money. An accountant can never let the desire to earn a better living and acquire more possessions get in the way of ensuring that she follows ethical guidelines for financial reporting. An accountant who keeps her eyes on her own bank account more than on her company's balance sheet becomes a liability to the company and may cause real accounting violations, resulting in sanctions from the SEC. Other than that, successful accountants retain clients over many years and become familiar with their...