Can Ethics Be Taught?

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What are ethics? Ethics are the set beliefs and values of an individual which they apply to circumstances relating to morality. To act in an ‘ethical’ manner, an individual must display integrity by doing what they believe to be right. When working within any professional body, an individual will be subjected to circumstances in which personal ethics will come into play. The Accounting profession is no different as ethical questions arise as part of any working day and can effect how an individual or the company conducts business. These questions can vary greatly in practice from selection of new customers to the rates at which those clients are going to be charged. These ethical questions are raised regularly within the workplace and each employee will react to them differently. The varying reactions will depend on the morality of each individual, or each employees own ‘ethics’. As each employee has their own set of values companies must be alert to the fact that some of their employees may have more ‘flexible’ morals than others. This ‘flexible’ morality can lead to corruption and manipulation within the workplace and can give companies serious problems. As a result of this, all of the main professional accounting bodies have begun to re-introduce mandatory courses teaching ethics to their employees. As well as this, ‘A Guide to professional ethics’ was published which contains a number of different principles in order to govern the behaviour of accountants and also to identify and reduce the greatest areas of risk with respect to unethical behaviour. How does a person form their set of morals? Ethical programming had been left out of the Professional Accounting syllabus due to the argument of whether or not ethics c... ... middle of paper ... ...hink over a length of time. Therefore although it is almost impossible to change someone’s morals, they can be guided throughout their employment for the benefit of the company. In today’s business environment it has becomes essential for accountants to have a basic grasp of business ethics. Having the guidelines in places gives accountants a relatively consistent method of addressing ethical situation (based on interpretation). Even simply having a course dedicated to ethics shows accounting students that this is an issue which is an important part of the training and will at least give them a chance to address their own morality. As well as this, teaching morality also gives the company a level of deniability when it comes to any scandals or unethical behaviour. References Can ethics be taught? By Archie Carrol Can ethics be taught? By Manuel Velasquez
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