Academic journal article The Journal of Government Financial Management

Ethical Behavior: The Cornerstone of the Government Financial Management Profession

Academic journal article The Journal of Government Financial Management

Ethical Behavior: The Cornerstone of the Government Financial Management Profession

Article excerpt

Introduction

If people are the foundation and building blocks of the government financial management profession, then surely ethical behavior is the cornerstone. Indeed, human resource practitioners and researchers agree that an organization's most valuable assets are people.1 Moreover, professionals across multiple industries and disciplines recognize that ethical behavior is critical to each profession.

As ideas are pondered and efforts undertaken to build the government financial management profession, ethical behavior deserves just as much attention as other important issues facing practitioners, such as professional competency, management skills, and recruitment and retention. Given that the profession is tasked with the responsibility of effectively and efficiently allocating and expending financial resources, many of which are received from non-exchange transactions, addressing ethical behavior should be a key aspect of professional development. In particular, three areas demand attention: ethics education, the code of ethics, and ethical leadership.

Ethics education

Efforts to build the government financial management profession call for renewed commitment to ethics education among current government financial management professionals. Opportunities for continuing education on professional ethics should become readily available. For example, ethics workshops and seminars could be offered during conferences and meetings, while ethics materials could be made available for selfstudy. In addition, college students majoring in disciplines such as public administration, accounting and finance should encounter ethics content throughout their studies. Whether that exposure comes through the use of experiential learning tools and methods, such as teaching cases and role-playing, or through guest lectures by authorities on ethics, future financial managers need to wrestle with ethical questions on a regular basis before entering the profession. Those responsible for deciding on degree requirements must prioritize the integration of ethics content into the curricula. …

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