Accounting Ethics: A Practical Guide for Professionals

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Written for professional and aspiring accountants, this book addresses the specific ethical issues that accountants are often obliged to resolve in the context of their work. The authors, an accountant and an ethicist, take a case-based, pragmatic approach to the subject, examining real life dilemmas often faced in the practice of accountancy. Each chapter investigates a specific issue, such as whistle-blowing or the implications of independence, and includes several case studies that put the theoretical analysis into practical perspective. Throughout, Cottell and Perlin seek to go beyond the codes of professional behavior to confront the subtle personal, corporate, and governmental pressures that make ethical decision making difficult. In an era in which accountants have been tried publicly for aiding in corporate fraud, Accounting Ethics provides a careful and welcome exploration of the moral issues faced almost daily by professionals in the field. Following an introductory chapter that raises fundamental questions about accountability, the authors analyze and interpret the three different systems from which ethical considerations are born--deontologism, utilitarianism, and ethical realism. Subsequent chapters examine particular types of conflicts. Among the topics that receive extended treatment are moral conflicts within the firm, the issue of independence, whistle-blowing as an option, legal requirements and ethical duties, difficulties in relationships among professionals, questions of sexual difference and discrimination, and accounting's responsibility to society. Specialized jargon is kept to a minimum, making this an excellent resource for anyone practicing or considering a career in the accounting profession.