Research on Accounting Ethics, Volume 4, 1998

Article excerpt

RESEARCH ON ACCOUNTING ETHICS, VOLUME 4, 1998

Edited by Lawrence A Ponemon, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

JAI Press, Inc.: Stamford, Conn., and London, England

Reviewed by Joseph Schachter, CPA, member, NYSSCPA Professional Ethics Committee

This volume contains studies from 37 contributing authors with accounting backgrounds. They opine on ethical problems ranging from social responsibility, recognition of ethical issues in financial reporting, tax education and preparation of tax returns, and earnings manipulation to motivations and ethical attitudes of the profession. The studies encompass the period beginning in the early 1980s and ending in the late 1990s.

Recognizing an ethical issue, making a moral judgment, and creating an intention leading to behavior are included in a study on models of ethical reasoning. It concludes that ethical issue recognition is a function of both the subject's ethical sensitivity and the moral intensity of the issue. Interactions based on stakeholder theory increased subjects' ability to recognize ethical issues but did not change their levels of moral reasoning.

Another study found that accountants engaged in tax practice frequently face moral and ethical problems arising from their dual responsibility to their client and to governmental agencies. The accounting curriculum and textbooks used in introductory accounting courses suggest there has been little or no attempt to include coverage of ethics in tax courses.

A study that examined the effects over time of an instruction program incorporating ethics components throughout the accounting curriculum indicated an increase in students' reasoning across groups. …