For more information, please contact our data protection representative at firstname.lastname@example.org or see our full general opinion on data protection. Ethical dilemmas arise when the accountant has to consider two or more seemingly incompatible ethical obligations. For example: they will be discussed in more detail later in the article, as they are the basic principles of the ACCA Code of Ethics and Behaviour. Utilitarians see the right approach as one that benefits the majority or serves the « greatest good. » In this way, ethical decision-making can ignore any impact on the minority, as it believes that it should adapt to the increased needs and more powerful influence of the majority. On the other hand, pluralists have a consensus to meet the needs of the majority and the minority. Finally, selfish people prefer action options that are right for them. The latter approach, apparently selfish, rightly and wrongly, was supported by Adam Smith, an 18th-century British economist, who felt that the pursuit of personal interests is often a catalyst for wealth creation through entrepreneurial innovation and risk-taking. What is ethics? Ethics is what society considers to be right or wrong. So these are standards of behaviour. First, it may overlap with a purpose of the law in which the law seeks to address behaviours that society disapproves of. However, ethical principles can be applied to prevent undesirable but legal behaviour.
For example, a politician reacted to the expenses scandal, which was heard in the UNITED Kingdom in 2009 with regard to politicians` claims for reimbursement, by claiming that she had done nothing illegal. This has not been the case, as the public still considers justified fee claims to be inappropriate and therefore unethical. Ethical behaviours can be encouraged or even applied in different ways. The audit professional must take ethical issues into account not only at the national level, but also in the global context. IFAC has a role to play in this regard. IFAC is a global representative body for public accountants, with 164 members and collaborators from 125 countries. It develops international standards for ethics, audit and insurance, education and public sector accounting standards. Under the auspices of IFAC, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) develops ethical standards and guidelines.
In return, IESBA`s work is overseen by the Public Interest Oversight Board. The ACCA code contains clear guidance on conflicts of interest. It says that members should not accept obligations that arise or only when there is a possibility of such conflicts. Members should assess conflict-related threats and take appropriate safeguards against threats. If in doubt, the accountant should disclose the dispute to the parties involved. Ethical approaches can be defined in terms of obligations. Many philosophers have argued that certain essential tasks are imperative and will always be considered as such, regardless of the circumstances. Absolutists (or dogmatics) do not accept exceptions, as these duties are considered unlivable. They often have their foundations in religion or deeply rooted values that are generally accepted by society.
The most common examples are the duty not to kill and to always tell the truth. This ethical approach is sometimes referred to as an ethical approach (by the Greek word « deon, » which means « duty »). It is not enough to identify and articulate the above principles. To put them into practice, organizations must adopt values that promote respect for principles and thus preserve the trust of stakeholders. Accountants must recognize that their obligations are not limited to what clients expect of them and must accept that they have a fiduciary duty or a duty of absolute trust to a large number of stakeholders.