Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Accounting and the ethics challenge:\ud Re-membering the professional body

By Christopher J. Cowton

Abstract

Based on the P.D. Leake Lecture given at Chartered Accountants’ Hall in May 2007,\ud this paper looks beyond recent financial reporting ‘scandals’ to consider the ‘standing\ud challenge’ that ethics represents for accountants and the professional bodies that\ud represent them. It examines the notion of a profession and argues for a position that\ud recognizes both the potential benefits of professionalization and the self-serving\ud tendencies to which professions can be prone. Such a position entails a view that the\ud outcome of professionalization for society is a contingent matter rather than an\ud inevitability (whether positive or negative) and therefore something that is worth\ud attempting to influence. In developing the argument, two major areas from the\ud business ethics/corporate social responsibility literature, oriented towards business\ud enterprises but also of relevance to professional bodies, are reviewed: whether being\ud ethical ‘pays’ in financial terms; and whether formal codes are useful in promoting\ud ethical behaviour. The paper concludes by positing three models of the professional\ud body and contending for a renewed notion of membership if professional bodies are to\ud function as effective ‘moral communities’

Topics: H1, HF5601
Publisher: Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:7578

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1987). A paradigm for design, promulgation and enforcement of ethical codes’, doi
  2. (1999). Accounting and financial ethics: From margin to mainstream?’ Business Ethics: A European Review, doi
  3. (1983). Aesthetic value, objectivity, and the fabric of the world’.
  4. (1994). An analysis of the association of traditional demographic variables with the moral reasoning of auditing students and auditors’. doi
  5. (1993). An Introduction to Business Ethics,
  6. (1994). and moral seriousness’.
  7. (2006). Business Ethics, 6th Edition. Upper Saddle River,
  8. (1993). Codes of ethics: bricks without straw’. Business Ethics: doi
  9. (1991). Collins Dictionary of Sociology. doi
  10. (1999). Convergent stakeholder theory’. doi
  11. (2003). Corporate social and financial performance: a meta-analysis’. doi
  12. (2001). Corporate social responsibility: a theory of the firm perspective’. doi
  13. (1985). Data in search of a theory: a critical examination of the relationships among social performance, social disclosure, and economic performance of U.S. firms’. doi
  14. (2005). Economic ethics, business ethics and the idea of mutual advantages’. doi
  15. (2005). Ethical codes, independence and the conservation of ambiguity’. doi
  16. (1993). Ethical development of accounting students, non-accounting business students, and liberal arts students’.
  17. (1990). Ethical judgements in accounting: a cognitive-developmental perspective.’ doi
  18. (1987). Ethical perceptions of accounting students: does exposure to a code of professional ethics help?’
  19. (2006). Ethics and the Professional Accounting Firm: A Literature Review. Edinburgh: Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
  20. (1977). Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. doi
  21. (1973). Free competition and the optimal amount of fraud’. doi
  22. (1997). Influencing ethical development: exposing students to the AICPA Code of Conduct’.
  23. (2007). London: Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
  24. (2006). Managing ethics in higher education: implementing a code or embedding virtue?’ Business Ethics: A European Review, doi
  25. (2003). Misery loves companies: Rethinking social initiatives by business’. doi
  26. (1988). Moral Vision: An Introduction to Ethics.
  27. (1981). Non-cognivitism and rule-following’.
  28. (1994). on hypocrisy and moral
  29. (1958). Philosophical Investigations, 2nd Edition (trans.
  30. (1967). Professional and bureaucratic organization in the public accounting firm’.
  31. (1997). Professional codes’. doi
  32. (1984). Professional formation: The case of Scottish Accountants’. doi
  33. (1972). Professions and Power. doi
  34. (2000). Putting meta-analysis to work: accountants’ organizational-professional conflict’. doi
  35. Report on the doi
  36. (1998). Self-interest, ethics, and the profit motive’.
  37. (1997). Socially responsible investment’. In doi
  38. (1995). Sociology in Focus.
  39. (1995). Stakeholder mismatching: a theoretical problem in empirical research on corporate social performance’. doi
  40. (1997). The corporate social performance-financial performance link’. doi
  41. (1994). The development of ethical investment products’. doi
  42. (1996). The impact of ethics education in accounting curricula’.
  43. (2008). The rationality-of-ends/market-structure grid: positioning and contrasting different approaches to business ethics’. Business Ethics: A European Review, doi
  44. (1987). The rise of accounting controls in British capitalist enterprises’. doi
  45. (1977). The Rise of Professionalism: A Sociological Analysis. doi
  46. (1970). The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits’. doi
  47. (1992). The Sociology of Organizations (London: Harvester Wheatsheaf). doi
  48. (1995). The Sociology of the Professions. doi
  49. (1997). Tomorrow’s Company and the university of today’.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.