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Koers

On-line version ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.77 n.2 Pretoria  2012

 

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

 

A critical consideration of ethical foundations for the accounting profession

 

'n Kritiese oorweging van die etiese grondslae vir die rekeningkundige professie

 

 

Pieter Buys; Susan Visser; Merwe Oberholzer

School of Accounting Sciences, North-West University, South Africa

Correspondence

 

 


ABSTRACT

When considering some of the key reasons for the desperate state of the current global economic environment, it is difficult to deny accounting's role therein. Although accounting institutes require adherence to codes of conduct, the question remains as to what happened to the stewardship function of the accounting profession. This article has critically reflected on the question, 'What constitutes an ethical accounting profession'? The key principles within many institutes' codes of conduct, such as competency, integrity, objectivity and confidentiality, have been considered against the background of utilitarianism, formalism and virtue ethics as foundational ethical theories. This article has concluded that although these principles aim to provide a framework for ethical accounting conduct, individual subjectivity on the part of the accountant will play a role in how these ethical principles become ethical practices.


OPSOMMING

Wanneer sommige van die vernaamste redes vir die desperate toestand van die huidige globale ekonomiese omgewing oorweeg word, is dit moeilik om rekeningkunde se rol daarin te ontken. Hoewel rekeningkundige instellings die nakoming van gedragskodes vereis, ontstaan die vraag na wat van die rekeningkundige professie se rentmeesterskapfunksie geword het? In hierdie artikel is krities gereflekteer op die vraag, 'Wat behels 'n etiese rekeningkundige professie?'. Die belangrikste beginsels in vele instellings se gedragskodes, soos bevoegdheid, integriteit, objektiwiteit en vertroulikheid, is beoordeel teen die agtergrond van utilitarisme, formalisme en deugde-etiek as fundamentele etiese teorieë. Hierdie artikel het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat, alhoewl sodanige beginsels daarna streef om 'n raamwerk te voorsien vir etiese rekeningkundige gedrag, individuele subjektiwiteit aan die kant van die rekenmeester 'n deurslaggewende rol sal speel in hoe hierdie etiese beginsels omgeskakel word in etiese 'praktyke'.


 

 

Full text available only in PDF format.

 

Acknowledgements

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationship(s) which may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors' contributions

The article was researched and written by P.B. (North-West University) as part of a PhD research project. The secondary authors, S.V. (North-West University) and M.O. (North-West University) fulfilled 'reviewer' functions as the PhD study's promoter and assistant promoter respectively.

 

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Correspondence:
Pieter Buys
Private Bag X6001
Potchefstroom 2520
South Africa
Email: pieter.buys@nwu.ac.za

Received: 27 June 2012
Accepted: 29 Aug. 2012
Published: 13 Dec. 2012

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