If you’re studying ethics in accounting, you’ll be well served to consider the perspective of an outsider. Often, the issue at hand is murky, but if you can separate your personal feelings from the other side, you can look at it from an entirely different perspective. Think about how the actions of one person or business will affect another. Similarly, the failure to act may be just as damaging to the company as the actions of the individual.
Rather than a hard and fast rule, undergraduate students often find it difficult to grasp complex scenarios. One solution to this is a soft introduction. Jennings, a senior lecturer at the University of Winchester, suggests that first-year students are introduced to ethics by asking them what they would do if they accidentally found an exam paper, and then applying that scenario to the accounting world. But he cautions that this approach might be too advanced for students.
A new program called Giving Voice to Values, meanwhile, encourages students to share their own values through scripted role-plays. Students who take part in the program are more likely to talk about their values, raise questions, and challenge internal management. And they’ll be more likely to be open to putting themselves in these situations when they begin their careers. So how can educators make ethics as fun as possible? With the above suggestions, you’ll be well on your way to teaching ethics in accounting. If you’re ready to take a step further, consider integrating a Giving Voice to Values program into your advanced accounting course.
The importance of ethics in accounting is never overstated. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the ethical pressures faced by accountants. Even simple ethical situations can involve multiple factors, and coding the principles will help you navigate them. As an accountant, you’ll need to make these decisions every day and sometimes the answer is not as black and white as it seems. So a code of ethical principles can help you navigate the difficult decisions that arise from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another important element of ethics is objectivity. It’s crucial for accountants to remain unbiased, and to avoid conflicts of interest. In fact, an accountant can be personally benefiting from the sale of a particular financial offer. In such a situation, he or she should always prove their independence in fact and in appearance. Regardless of the circumstances, keeping clients’ private financial information confidential is the first step to building trust in the professional relationship.
Ethical education in accounting has advanced dramatically over the past four decades, and as an educator, you can influence curriculum development in your school. By incorporating these principles into your classroom, you can help your students become more ethical and responsible citizens. By teaching ethics in accounting, you’ll decrease the chances of fraudulent financial reporting. This is a very rewarding goal and will help you achieve your goal of developing ethical accountants. However, teaching ethics to undergraduate students can be challenging.