Ethical and Legal Obligations

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Ethical and Legal Obligations

Ethical and legal obligations apply to all members of society. As one in society, the obligation to act in an ethical, law abiding manner on a daily basis is vital to the integrity of daily life. Many professions have their own code of ethics. Financial reporting is not exempt from such ethical and legal standards. One’s lively hood depends on decisions made in the business world. Business transactions are done daily and can impact one’s economic stability. Trust is placed in the hands of corporate America and an obligation of financial reporting to reveal a complete honest and legal picture of an entity’s accounting practices is important in attaining trust. This paper will discuss the obligations of legal and ethical standards of practice in the financial spectrum. According to Marshall, McManus and Viele (2004), accounting is “the process of identification, measurement, communication of information about a business for the purpose of making decisions and informed judgment” (p.3). Decision makers look at balance sheets, income statements, changes in the owner’s equity and cash flow statement as documentation of the viability of an entity. Misrepresentation of the financial statements can place doubt of profitability in any company. The need for accountability and regulation of accounting practices is important in preserving trust in the business community. Entities have ethical and legal obligations in financial reporting. To ensure these obligations are upheld, agencies have been developed to regulate standards of practice. These agencies or regulators are the “Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)” (Marshall et al., 2004).The FASB is the authoritative standard implementation body for the accounting profession according to Marshall et al. The mission of FASB is to “improve reporting, focus on traits...
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