2 Integrity: The Basis for Ethics in Accounting Means acting on principleTraces back to Socrates, Plato and AristotleIs the foundational virtue of the ancient Greek philosophy of virtueHelps withstand pressures that may lead to subordination of judgmentIs a “must have” for accountants
3 Religious and Philosophical Foundations of Ethics A version of the Golden Rule appears in each of the world’s religionsEthics can be traced back to ancient Greek philosophy“What is the best sort of life for human beings to live?”Greeks believed the ultimate goal of happiness was to attain some objectively good status: the life of excellence
4 Ethics, Morals, ValuesEthics , derived from the Greek word ethikos (character), deals with the concepts of right and wrong; standards of how people ought to act.Norms, Values, and The LawMorals, derived from the Latin word moralis, deals with manners, morals, character.Ethics and morals are essentially the same.Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions
5 Ethical RelativismTheory that holds that morality is relative to the norms of one’s cultureIf correct, there can be no common framework to resolve any moral disputes between different societiesTheory is rejected by most ethicistsSocieties may differ in their application of fundamental moral principles but agree on the principles.
6 Six Pillars of Character TrustworthinessRespectResponsibilityFairnessCaringCitizenship
7 Six Pillars of Character Trustworthiness: being honest, acting with integrity, being reliable, and exercising loyalty in dealing with others.Respect: treating every individual with dignity. The golden rule encompasses respect for others through notions such as civility, courtesy, decency, dignity, autonomy, tolerance and acceptance.Responsibility: the ability to reflect on alternative courses of action, persevere and carry out moral action diligently.
8 Six Pillars of Character Fairness: treating others equally, impartially, and openly. Michael Josephson points out, “fairness implies adherence to a balanced standard of justice without relevance to one’s own feelings or inclinations.”Caring: The essence of caring is empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand, be sensitive to, and care about the feelings of others. Caring and empathy support each other and enable a person to put herself in the position of another. This is essential to ethical decision making.Citizenship: Josephson points out that “citizenship includes civic virtues and duties that prescribe how we ought to behave as part of a community.” An important part of good citizenship is to obey the laws, be informed of the issues, volunteer in your community, and vote in elections.
9 ReputationReputation: overall quality or character in the opinion of the public towards a person or group or organization. It is an important factor in many professional fields, including accounting.
10 AICPA Code of Conduct The code is divided into two sections: Principles: are aspirational statements that form the foundation for the Code’s enforceable Rules of Professional Conduct. Principles are expectations but are not legally binding. The principles of professional conduct include:ResponsibilitiesPublic InterestIntegrityObjectivity and IndependenceDue CareNature and Scope of ServicesRules: enforceable applications of the Principles
11 Modern Moral Philosophies A few of the philosophies applicable to the study of accounting ethics include:TeleologyEgoismEnlightened EgoismUtilitarianismDeontologyRights TheoryJusticeVirtue
12 Egoism and Enlightened Egoism Consequences for individual“Do act that promotes the greatest goog for oneself.”Enlightened egoistsAllow for the well-being of othersHelp achieve some ultimate goal for selfSelf-interest remains paramount
13 Utilitarianism Bentham and Mill Consider impartially the interests of all persons affected by an action and pick the greater benefit“Greatest good to greatest number”DifficultiesImpossible to foresee all consequencesConsequences difficult to measureTypesAct-UtilitarianRule-Utilitarian
14 Deontology Derived from Greek meaning duty Moral norms establish basis for actionBased on rights of individuals and motivation rather than consequencesConcerned with means rather than end resultRights TheoryMotivated by sense of obligationUniversality of moral actionsPeople should never be a means onlyJusticeEach permitted the maximum amount of basic liberty compatible with others.Social and economic inequalities are allowed only if benefit all.
15 Virtue Ethics Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle Less emphasis on learning rulesStress importance of developing good habits of characterCardinal virtuesWisdomCourageTemperanceJustice
16 Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) PrinciplesHonestyFairnessObjectivityResponsibilityStandardsConfidenceConfidentialityIntegrityCredibility
17 IMA (cont) Resolution of Ethical Conduct Discuss issue with immediate supervisor or higher authority.Clarify ethical issues with an IMA Ethics Counselor or other impartial advisorConsult attorney.