Greed and Ethics

Current Ethical Issues of Greed in Business World Today I. Summation a. The profession of accounting has been given a negative image as a result of unethical decision making in major U. S. companies like Enron, Tyco and Adelphia. The Institute of Management Accountants has created “Standards of Ethical Conduct” which demonstrate how ethical behavior should be practiced by professionals. By examining past ethical breaches, a strategy can be developed that can help deter unethical practices from happening in the future. II. Outline b.

The Institute of Management Accountants’ (IMA) “Standards of Ethical Conduct for Practitioners of Management Accounting and Financial Management”. A resource for how ethical behavior should be practiced by accounting professionals. c. The IMA’s Standards have identified four areas of ethical professional conduct: i. Competence- Perform their professional duties in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and technical standards. ii. Confidentiality- Refrain from using or appearing to use confidential information acquired in the course of their work for unethical or illegal advantages, either personally or through third parties. ii. Integrity- Avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest, and advise all appropriate parties of any potential conflict. Refrain from engaging in any activity that would prejudice their ability to carry out their duties ethically. iv. Objectivity- Communicate information fairly and objectively. Disclose fully all relevant information that could reasonably be expected to influence an intended user’s understanding of the reports, comments, and recommendations. III. Personal Learning This article gave me a new perspective on the world of accounting.

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Previously, I had believed the misconceptions in the mass media. The general public only saw accountants in big U. S. companies as unethical, unlawful people only trying to make a quick dollar. But after reading this article, I began to understand why I had that previous, ill-conceived thought. Accountants and the profession have been given a negative image as a result of non-ethical behavior by decision makers. In some cases, the decision maker may not necessarily be an accountant or Chief Financial Officer (CFO), it could be the CEO, President, Board of Directors or any other member of management.

Another reason for the negative public image could be a result of technology and journalism. With immense improvements in technology, it has become easier to share information and current news can be seen around the world. Everybody knows that reporters and journalists look for the “juicy” news which is typically bad news. Breakdowns and misdeeds in financial and accounting activities have led to serious, negative media attention. Whenever I think about hearing the word “accountant” in the news, it is usually followed by the words “unethical” or “unlawful”.

Some companies that I can recall through negative press are Enron, Tyco, WorldCom and Adelphia to name a few. In addition to understanding why I had thought of accounting as unethical, I wanted to know how I could change that image and also what could accountants do to promote a positive reputation. I searched for general solutions that would work for any accountant and the optimal answer would be to build up public trust and learn from past mistakes. To develop a strategy that hinders unethical behavior, the profession needs to analyze why ethical breaches occurred in the past in order to avoid those same violations in the future.

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