Ethical and Legal Obligations

Topics: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Balance sheet, Financial statements Pages: 4 (1195 words) Published: February 6, 2009
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...

References: Dahlin, L. A. (2007). Where have all the ethics gone? Business ethics and corporate social responsibility through the years. Proceedings of the Northeast Business & Economics Association, p.360-366. Retrieved on October 19, 2008, from EBSCOhost database.
Financial Accounting Standards Board. (2008). Facts about FASB. Retrieved on October 17, 2008, from http://www.fasb.org/facts/
Marshall, D. H., McManus, W. W., & Viele, D. F. (2004). Accounting: What the numbers mean
(6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. (2008). Our mission. Retrieved on October 17, 2008, from http://www.pcaobus.org/index.aspx
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (2008). The investor’s advocate: How the SEC protects investors, maintains market integrity, and facilitates capital formation. Retrieved on October 17, 2008, from http://www.sec.gov/about/whatwedo.shtml
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