Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

What Accountants Can Do to Stop Corruption

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

What Accountants Can Do to Stop Corruption

Article excerpt

CPAs may not be able to stop corruption on their own, but they should be leaders of their countries' collaborative efforts to oppose it. In particular, they should do everything they can to encourage organizational controls that expose corruption early--and stop it well before auditors have to decide whether to blow the whistle. That's the substance of a new International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) discussion paper, The Accountancy Profession and the Fight Against Corruption.

According to John Gruner, IFAC'S director general, the discussion paper is in response to a challenge by World Bank President James Wolfensohn in his keynote address to the last World Congress of Accountants, which was in October 1997. The paper defines corruption broadly to include "special favors and influence" as well as such monetary sins as bribery, fraud and illegal payments. It acknowledges that accountants cannot be expected to tilt against windmills if it puts their livelihoods, and in some environments, even their lives, at risk. The full text of the discussion paper can be downloaded from IFAC's Web site at www. ifac.org/council/anticorruption paper.html.

To be effective in their stand against corruption and their commitment to truth and honesty in financial reporting, accountants must practice in an environment where the legal authorities, other professionals and institutions, and the general public are supportive. …

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