Accountants at some point in their career will find themselves having to make a decision whether their situation is ethical or not. Professional ethics is an important aspect of an accountant’s job. As an accountant you have the commitment to each customer to demonstrate competence, confidentiality, integrity, and credibility. Competence is where you must show a level of professionalism as well as developing the knowledge and skills that you will need as an accountant. Confidentiality is when you as an accountant must keep information confidential unless authorized or legally required to release client information. Integrity is when you must communicate with the associates to avoid any conflict of interests. Lastly there is credibility which is when you must communicate information in a reasonable and objective manner.
An ethical issue could arise is in the firm you are working for. You could discover something that the firm or another employee is doing ethically wrong. You may encounter an unethical behavior or conflict. For example if you were working for a firm and you discover that a co-worker is withholding money from the firm. When you are faced with this you should try and follow you firm’s polices to try and resolve the issue. For example a policy that a firm may have would contain something along the lines of stating that each employee has the reasonability to conduct a professional and ethical business practice with integrity, confidentially, credibility, and competence. It may also tell you in whom you may need to talk to if an unethical situation does occur. If your firm does not have a policy you should consider discussing the situation with your supervisor. If you feel that your supervisor is involved in the situation then you must go to the next level of management.
If trying to resolve an ethical issue, you as an employee must understand the firms business and strategies. If you feel that you may be at risk of the ethical conflict then you should also contact your personal attorney. This is because your personal attorney can advise you as to what is best for you to do in a particular situation. They will also have your best interest, and if you feel as though you can not continue to work for your firm any longer then you should give your firm your notice and leave. At times if the situation is pressing and concerns you then this may be your best bet.
Accountants are known and respected for their honesty; by showing their integrity and competence. This is why it is important for all accountants and their firms to show and practice a good ethical practice. Ethical and professional responsibility is something that should be show and taken seriously. There are plenty of businesses that did not show these things and are now no longer in business. A good example of this is a business by the name of Enron Corporation. This financial scandal involved their accounting firm and what happened was that there was an involvement of irregular accounting procedures and caused Enron to go bankrupt. The unethical issue in this case involves an accountant and what they did was shred document that were involved in the audit of Enron and this accountant was convicted and forced to surrender its CPA licenses. This is a prim example of what could happen if involved in an unethical situation. This is also a good example of why it is important for all accountants to follow and practice good ethical values, because you do not want to end you like the accountant in the Enron case. (Nicole Gaudioso)