South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences
On-line version ISSN 2222-3436
Print version ISSN 1015-8812
JOOSTE, Leonie. Accounting ethics - an empirical investigation of managing short-term earnings. S. Afr. j. econ. manag. sci. [online]. 2010, vol.13, n.1, pp.98-111. ISSN 2222-3436.
Short-term earnings are managed in most, if not all, companies. The management of short-term earnings is vulnerable to misinterpretation, manipulation or deliberate deception even if these misleading accounting practices are prohibited by accounting regulations. Hence, the problem with managing short-term earnings is that it becomes an ethical practice, regardless of who is or may be affected by the practice or the information that flows from it. As a result of the publicity received by Enron and WorldCom on financial failures and fraud, and the subsequent legislation, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, students are expected to understand the morality issues of earnings-management practices. Therefore, the ethics of earnings-management practices affect the accounting educator. Accounting students and business managers were surveyed and the findings indicated that there is no significant difference between gender regarding the ethicality of twenty earning management practices. The results, however, show that there is a significant difference between the perceptions of business managers and students regarding the morality of earnings-management practices. However, no significant differences were found between genders.