Ethics And Professional Responsibility In The Accounting And Auditing Profession From A Research Perspective: Theory Vs Practice

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Ethics and professional responsibility in the accounting and auditing profession from a research perspective: Theory vs practice



No words can express my appreciation and gratitude to my research advisor _______ through the course of this research, Professor _____has taught me numerous values that extend well beyond the realm of _________ (Your Subject Name).


I [type your full first names and surname here], declare that the contents of this dissertation/thesis represent my own unaided work, and that the dissertation/thesis has not previously been submitted for the academic examination towards any qualification. Furthermore, it represents my own opinions and not necessarily those of the University.

Signed __________________ Date _________________





1.1 Introduction1

1.2 Problem statement2

1.3 Research questions2

1.4 Rationale of the study3


2.1 Ethics4

2.2 Accounting, auditing, and Ethics5


3.1 Unstructured in-depth interviews7

3.2 Secondary data collection7

3.3 Questionnaires8




1.1 Introduction

The relation of a profession to the society that it serves and its desire and responsibility for self-regulation are characteristics of a profession (Smith 1993, 18). Sirgy, Siegel, & Johar (2005, 215) stated that a profession exists, not to compensate it members more or less handsomely, but to serve society. Sims & Brinkman (2003, 243) described a profession as a moral community of shared norms, value, and definitions of appropriate behaviour. A profession provides a normative reference or specific guideline of conduct against which individual align their behaviour (Sims & Brinkman 2003, 69). The accounting profession exhibits these characteristics in that it has provided a service to society and has established guideline of professional conduct (Ward, Ward & Deck 1993, 601).

In the early 2000s, negative publicity caused by the Enron scandal, which led to the bankruptcy of Enron and the demise of accounting firm Arthur Andersen, may have affected the public perception of the accounting profession (Ward, Ward & Wilson 1996, 147). These events have also increased interest in the moral reasoning of public accountants. A study by Walters (2006, 18) examined whether the Enron event had heightened auditors' moral reasoning, measured by the perceived moral intensity embedded in ethical dilemmas they faced. Results showed that auditors' awareness of moral reasoning increased significantly after the scandal. To improve the level of professional responsibility and ethics, changes in post-secondary instruction were imminent (Walker & Ainsworth 2001, 11). Therefore, this thesis will make an attempt to study the ethics and the professional responsibilities in the field of accounting and auditing and would make a comparison between theory and practise of accountants and auditors. 1.2 Problem statement

The concept of Ethics and professional responsibilities is very important in every field; especially, in the field of accounting and auditing (Verkerk, Lindemann, Maeckelberghe & Fennstra 2004, 31). However, over the past few decades we have seen a deviation in the theory and practise in these fields. This research will make an effort to explore the theory and practise of ethics and professional responsibilities in accounting and auditing from a research perspective.

1.3 Research questions

The guiding research questions of this research are defined below.

1. What is the concept of ethics ...
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