You are on page 1of 8

The ethics of final year accountancy students

:
an international comparison

Conor O'Leary
School of Accountancy, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Derry Cotter
Department of Accounting Finance and Information Systems, University College
Cork, Ireland

Keywords

Ethics, Accounting, Auditing,
Whistleblowing

Abstract

Ethical behaviour is a critical
component of the accountancy/
auditing profession. This study
examines ethical attitudes of final
year accountancy students in Ireland and Australia. Students were
surveyed as to whether they would
accept a bribe and/or cheat in an
exam. Their attitudes towards
whistleblowing ± if they became
aware of improprieties such as
bribery and cheating ± were also
reviewed. Of the students, 58 per
cent of Irish and 23 per cent of
Australian appeared willing to
participate in fraud. These percentages plummeted when the
risk of being caught was introduced. Males appeared between
two and four times more likely
than females to act unethically. A
total of 56 per cent of Irish and 28
per cent of Australians appeared
willing to cheat in an exam with
the difference between male and
female students being significantly reduced. Again the risk of
being caught drastically reduced
these figures. Just greater than 50
per cent of Australian and just
under 50 per cent of Irish students
appeared willing to be whistleblowers. It appears as if educators
still have a long way to go as
regards providing effective ethical
education for trainee accountants/auditors.

Managerial Auditing Journal
15/3 [2000] 108±115
# MCB University Press
[ISSN 0268-6902]

[ 108 ]

Introduction
The theme of the recent UK National Audit
Conference (1999) was ethics. It is one of
those areas which usually gets highlighted
unfortunately when auditors and
accountants have been criticised in the
public domain. The accountancy/auditing
profession is usually quick to point out to the
general public the steps it takes to ensure
members act ethically at all times.
Procedures such as the issuing of Rules or
Codes of Ethical Conduct (Institute of
Chartered Accountants in Ireland, 1999 and
Institute of Chartered Accountants in
Australia, 1999) and disciplinary committees
are seen as steps the profession takes to
ensure members act, and are seen to act in
the public interest at all times. If not they will
be subject to sanction by their own
profession in the first instance.
However ethics is an issue which should
always be at the forefront of any discussions
on accounting and auditing and not just
when the profession is criticised, as
mentioned above. Commentators such as
Mintz (1995) stress the need for virtue in
accounting:
because the virtues enable accountants to
resist client and commercial pressures that
may result from conflicts between an
accountant's obligation to a client or
employer and public interest considerations
(p. 247).

As virtues are the dispositional properties
that enable accountants to meet their ethical
obligations (Mintz, 1995, p. 251) significant
emphasis should be placed on their
development within the profession. The 1996
USA General Accounting Office (GAO)
Report The Accounting Profession ± Major
Issues: Progress and Concerns (GAO, 1996)
summarised various aspects of the
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
http://www.emerald-library.com

accounting profession from 1972 to 1995.
Wyatt (1997) notes how audit independence,
an ethical issue, was the first item reported
upon. This again highlights the importance
of ethics to the profession. It should follow
therefore that trainee accountants/auditors
should be subject to ethics education in their
training process.

Background to study
The accountancy/auditing profession is
becoming more global all the time. Indeed we
now have international accounting standards
and international auditing standards.
However as Karnes et al. (1990, p. 45) note, the
above do not ensure that all business
practices will be viewed in a like manner by
members of the accounting profession from
different cultures. Indeed sociologists such as
Hofstede (1980, 1983) have demonstrated how
different cultural dimensions influence
ethical decision making.
Cohen et al. (1995) studied the ethical
decision-making processes of auditors from
three different cultural backgrounds, Latin
America, Japan and the USA. Their results
revealed significant differences between the
groups as to their ethical evaluations and the
likelihood of performing certain unethical
actions. Indeed in six out of eight vignettes
the results were significantly different.
Similarly Karnes et al. (1990) compared the
ethical perceptions of public accountants
from Taiwan and the USA. Again significant
differences in attitudes were discovered. For
example the Taiwanese accountants were far
more negative in their attitude towards
accepting an informal commission than their
American counterparts. However the
Americans were more negative in their
reaction to proposed insider trading than the
Taiwanese. Dykxhoorn and Sinning (1981)
discovered a sample of West German
auditors had an attitude towards
independence which could potentially breach
USA Securities and Exchange Commission

Australia suffered a spate of corporate collapses in the early 1990s (for example Tricontinental Bank (Australian Financial Review (AFR). three classes were chosen. The survey instruments were issued in both countries at the end of May 1999. Scenario three asked the same question except this time the scheme involved defrauding shareholders. Barker (1999) notes how the trend is continuing. if there was no chance of being caught. Second. they could accept the bribe/ offer. Students were not told this was a survey of ethical attitudes. in an attempt to gauge their ethical attitudes to certain scenarios. 1991a). The first was an auditing unit taken by final year Bachelor of Science (Accountancy) students ± a threeyear degree. This was a final year auditing unit in the Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) degree. the 1997 McCracken Inquiry (reviewing payments to politicians) and the current Moriarty Tribunal (again reviewing payments to politicians) (Irish Times. ``blow the whistle''on the offerer(s). 1991b) and National Safety Council of Victoria (AFR. All they were told was that there were no correct answers they were simply to answer according to their own feelings. The authors decided therefore to test the ethical attitudes of final year accountancy students in these two countries. The purposes of the instrument were to attempt to gauge attitudes to such questions as: . Third. Are final year accountancy students ethical? [ 109 ] . First. In Ireland the public image of chartered accountants has suffered in the past few years (Walsh. The other two were accounting units taken by final year Bachelor of Commerce students ± a four-year degree and Bachelor of Science (Finance) ± a three-year degree. Irish Punt equivalents were inserted for Australian dollar amounts. with recent media coverage of events in the banking sector again questioning the ethical performance of accountants. otherwise the instrument was identical in both countries. All six scenarios offered the students three choices. Students were to tick one answer from three possible answers provided for each scenario. The Appendix is a copy of the survey instrument utilised. 1991c)). i. they could reject the bribe/offer and report the incident to the relevant authorities. These studies tend to highlight the fact that ethical attitudes may differ between accountants from different nationalities. Test design Samples of final year accountancy students in Ireland and Australia were chosen as follows. Scenario six again introduced the one in ten risk of being caught in relation to the above action. to participate in a scheme to defraud the tax office. Survey instrument Each participant received a questionnaire which included six ethical scenarios. All participants were then issued with a questionnaire. The media attention and subsequent investigations into these collapses led to much questioning of the ethics of the accountants and auditors involved. distributed during the formal lecture period and students were given ten minutes to complete it. This class provided an overall group of 103 final year Australian accountancy students. knowing there was no chance of being caught. Estate Mortgage (AFR. At Queensland University of Technology. Scenario five asked the students if they would accept a copy of a final exam paper the day before the exam. They were simply given the survey instrument and asked to complete it independently. Scenarios two and four were the exact same as scenarios one and three except this time there was a one in ten chance of being caught. Brisbane one class was chosen. the professionals of the future. 1999). The vast majority of these students will take up jobs with public accounting firms or will work as trainee accountants or financiers in industry commencing in September 1999. The emphasis of the study was to be on trainee auditors but as the auditing unit only offered 25 students it was considered too small a sample size hence it was combined with the larger accountancy classes to provide an overall group of 139 final year Irish accountancy students. 1999).Conor O'Leary and Derry Cotter The ethics of final year accountancy students: an international comparison Managerial Auditing Journal 15/3 [2000] 108±115 rules in that area. At University College Cork. Again the vast majority of these students will take up jobs with public accounting firms or will work as trainee accountants in industry commencing in February 2000.e. The split between male and female students was practically 50/50 in both instances ± see Table I. This has primarily been due to such matters as the 1993/1994 Beef Tribunal Hearings (reviewing certain irregularities in the beef industry). Scenario one asked the students if they would accept a bribe. a three-year qualification. they could reject the bribe/ offer and say nothing.

% 103 50 53 26 (25) 20 (40) 6 (11) 34 (33) 14 (28) 20 (38) 43 (42) 16 (32) 27 (51) M&F M F 139 70 69 85 (61) 56 (80) 29 (42) 38 (27) 9 (13) 29 (42) 16 (11) 5 (7) 1 (16) 103 50 53 9 (9) 8 (16) 1 (2) 46 (45) 21 (42) 25 (47) 48 (46) 21 (42) 27 (51) M&F M F 139 70 69 37 (27) 28 (40) 9 (13) 60 (43) 20 (29) 40 (58) 42 (30) 22 (31) 20 (29) 103 50 53 21 (20) 16 (32) 5 (9) 35 (34) 15 (30) 20 (38) 47 (46) 19 (38) 28 (53) M&F M F 139 70 69 79 (57) 50 (71) 29 (42) 34 (24) 9 (13) 25 (36) 26 (19) 11 (16) 15 (22) 103 50 53 6 (6) 6 (12) 0 (0) 42 (41) 20 (40) 22 (42) 55 (53) 24 (48) 31 (58) M&F M F 139 70 69 37 (27) 26 (37) 11 (16) 54 (39) 21 (30) 33 (48) 48 (34) 23 (33) 25 (36) 103 50 53 29 (28) 17 (34) 12 (23) 66 (64) 27 (54) 39 (73) 8 (8) 6 (12) 2 (4) M&F M F 139 70 69 78 (56) 44 (63) 34 (49) 56 (40) 25 (36) 31 (45) 5 (4) 1 (1) 4 (6) 103 50 53 6 (6) 4 (8) 2 (4) 89 (86) 40 (80) 49 (92) 8 (8) 6 (12) 2 (4) M&F M F 139 70 69 21 (15) 16 (23) 5 (7) 115 (83) 54 (77) 61 (88) 3 (2) 0 (0) 3 (5) Notes: Accept = accept a bribe or offer of an exam paper. . % Sex Ref/Re No. % Inform No. Haswell and Jubb (1995) noted almost 50 per cent of male and 25 per cent of female students would accept a bribe if there was no risk of being caught. Do they perceive a difference between stealing from the tax office and stealing from private individuals? Do they consider it ethical to cheat as regards sitting an exam? How are their ethical attitudes affected by the risk of getting caught? Is there a difference between students in the two countries? Is there a difference between male and female students? and What are students' attitudes towards whistle blowing? Results Earlier Australian studies on ethics have yielded unsettling results. . In Ireland less than half of those who would accept a bribe would continue to do so if there was any risk of being caught. 25 per cent of Australian students would do the same (all results summarised in Table I). In Australia males were almost four times as likely. Ireland Accept No. Once any risk of being caught was introduced. . For example a 1990 study by Cree and Baring (1991) discovered 61 per cent of students were open to an insidertrading proposition. . Inform = refuse the bribe and inform the relevant authorities [ 110 ] . Of Irish students.Conor O'Leary and Derry Cotter The ethics of final year accountancy students: an international comparison Managerial Auditing Journal 15/3 [2000] 108±115 . Quite interestingly in this instance the difference Table I Summary of results Sex Scenario 1 M&F M F Scenario 2 M&F M F Scenario 3 M&F M F Scenario 4 M&F M F Scenario 5 M&F M F Scenario 6 M&F M F No. When it came to defrauding shareholders 57 per cent of Irish students would still participate in a fraud and 20 per cent of Australian students would. However they obviously considered them serious enough to significantly dissuade them from their initial choice of behaviour. % Ref/Re No. the percentage of potential fraud participants fell significantly. % No. in scenarios 2 and 4. The results of this study appeared to continue that trend although some might perceive the Australian situation as improving. When it came to cheating in an exam 56 per cent of Irish and 28 per cent of Australian students appeared willing to do so. . 61 per cent would accept a bribe to defraud the tax office. Students were not informed of the penalties if caught (custodial and/or fines). % Inform No. Australia Accept No. Ref/Re = refuse the bribe or offer and remain silent. In Ireland male students were twice as likely as female students to participate in either event. In Australia the comparable figure fell to approximately one third.

The null hypothesis would assume two population proportions would be equal. All results were subject to statistical analysis to determine significant differences. Again when a risk of being caught was introduced. sample 1) p^ 2 ˆ n22 (the portion of respondents choosing a particular option. significant for all groups across both countries at the 1 per cent level NSD = no signfiicant difference D = no significant difference between overall response to scenarios 1 and 3 Formula and hypothesis: H0: (p1 ± p2) = 0. This was then compared to the Table II Statistical analysis Sex Scenario 1 M&F M F Scenario 2 M&F M F Scenario 3 M&F M F Accept Ref/Re Inform Z Z ZA Z TI S Z NSD Z Z Z Z R Z ZA Z ZI NSD Z P Z P Z Z D Z ZA Z TI Z Z NSD Z Z Z Sex Scenario 4 M&F M F Scenario 5 M&F M F Scenario 6 M&F M F Accept Ref/Re Inform Z R Z ZA Z ZI NSD P NSD Z Z Z Z Z SA Z ZI Z Z Z Z Z Z Z R Z ZA Z ZI NSD NSD NSD Z Z NSD Notes: Z = P = S = ZA = Z = SA = TI = R = difference between two countries significant at the 1 per cent level difference between two countries significant at the 5 per cent level difference between two countries significant at the 10 per cent level difference between Australian males and females significant at the 1 per cent level difference between Irish males and females significant at the 1 per cent level difference between Australian males and females significant at the 5 per cent level difference between Irish males and females significant at the 0. n2 = Population of Irish/female/``risk'' scenario students responding to a particular scenario. if comparing to population of Irish/female/``risk'' scenario students. In Ireland less than half of those who discovered a fraud and decided not to participate. n1 = Population of Australian/male/``no-risk'' scenario students responding to a particular scenario. In Australia the figure was only slightly greater than half. will be equal). [ 111 ] . in scenario 6. 2 = Number of Irish/female/``risk'' scenario students selecting a particular option to a particular scenario. if comparing to number of Irish/female/``risk'' scenario students. (1994) was utilised. both samples combined) q^ ˆ 1 ÿ p^ 1 = Number of Australian/male/``no-risk'' scenario students selecting a particular option to a particular scenario. By calculating the pooled proportion estimate and comparing the separate group proportions to each other and to the pooled proportion. the percentage willing to participate fell to approximately one quarter. sample 2) 2 p^ ˆ n1i ‡ ‡n2 (the portion of respondents choosing a particular option. …p^ 1 ÿ p^ 2 † ÿ …p1 ÿ p2 † r Zˆ   p^ q^ n11 ‡ n12 where p^ 1 ˆ n1i (the portion of respondents choosing a particular option. (assumes both proportions of respondents to any scenario option. would go so far as to report to the appropriate authorities. At face value these figures would appear unacceptable in both countries.5 per cent level difference between response to scenario when a 10 per cent risk element is introduced. An analysis of those who would not accept the bribes also revealed results which could be classified as worrying. if comparing to number of Australian/male/``no-risk'' scenario students. As the objective was to compare population proportions which contain qualitative data a technique as described by Selvanathan et al.Conor O'Leary and Derry Cotter The ethics of final year accountancy students: an international comparison Managerial Auditing Journal 15/3 [2000] 108±115 between male and female students was far less significant in both countries (see Table II for statistical analysis). if comparing to population of Australian/male/``no-risk'' scenario students. a z score was arrived at.

All differences were significant at the 1 per cent level (Table II). and 6 were the exact same as 1. the business environment in Australia still carries the taint of corporate collapses and perceived audit failures of the early 1990s as mentioned above. As scenarios 1 and 3 highlight Australian male students were almost four times more likely to accept a bribe than female students and the Irish equivalent ratio was almost two times.Conor O'Leary and Derry Cotter The ethics of final year accountancy students: an international comparison statistical tables and significance levels computed as relevant. In both countries male students appeared more prepared to act unethically than females in relation to accepting bribes. Authors such as Vinten (1994) have demonstrated how whistleblowers. All results (together with a copy of the formula used) are displayed in Table II. who by definition take exceptional risks to act ethically. Scenarios 2. Also emphasis is placed on ethics in the Auditing [ 112 ] subject they study in their final year. A few reasons can be put forward to explain this. Why male students are more likely to act unethically is a matter for conjecture but the results are consistent with those of the Haswell and Jubb (1995) study mentioned above. Then remedial action such as increased emphasis on ethics education and discussion is proposed. In both countries. 11) notes how Irish Company Law does not offer satisfactory systems for confidential reporting to external auditors by concerned employees. males were more inclined to accept a bribe than cheat in an exam but female students were more inclined to cheat in an exam than accept a bribe! The effect of risk on the bribe/offer situations was consistent across countries and genders. Following on the 1988 Fitzgerald Inquiry into Police Corruption in Queensland (the Australian State from which our sample was chosen) and the subsequent formation of the Electoral and Administrative Reform Commission (EARC). just over half of the Australian students and less than half of the Irish students surveyed were prepared to inform the appropriate authorities when they became aware of a significant illegality (scenarios 1 to 4). The next most interesting finding relates to the difference in ethical attitudes between the sexes. This again highlighted a worrying trend consistent with previous studies. incorporates a mandatory Business Ethics subject in the first year. Rather ethics is studied as part of the general accounting/auditing area. the difference between Australian male and female responses to accepting bribes was significant at the 1 per cent level (scenarios 1 and 3). The attitudes suggested by this survey continue to support this view. Becoming an informer is still perceived as . Finally students' attitudes towards whistleblowing were examined. Accountancy students in Australia intending to continue a career in chartered accounting know there is a separate Ethics Module they must study and pass in order to gain admission to the Institute. No such specific emphasis on ethics exists in the Irish chartered accountancy training programme. However when it came to cheating in exams the difference between the sexes was significantly reduced. Finally. This would appear to suggest that placing an emphasis on ethics education at the tertiary level may play some part in increasing the awareness of accountancy students of the importance of such matters. Barker (1999. whistleblower protection legislation was passed in the early 1990s. What appears to make people act more ethically is the risk of getting caught. are usually received very poorly by society. However the Australian experience has been it takes a few years for the full ramifications of such inquiries to permeate into the minds of the accounting/auditing profession. p. Referring to Table II.5 per cent level to the 1 per cent level. The bank disclosures in Ireland and some of the tribunals of inquiry ± also mentioned above ± which are bringing the business ethics of some people into question. Managerial Auditing Journal 15/3 [2000] 108±115 Interpretation of results As is evident from the Tables. 4. 3 and 5 except for the risk of getting caught yet all responses were significantly different. Hence these students know they will be asked ethical questions in an examination situation before they qualify as chartered accountants. are still continuing at present. Hence ethics is still very much a debated topic. It has nothing to do with a change in the circumstances of the situation before them. which the Australian students are undertaking. But when it came to exam cheating the significance level fell to the 5 per cent level. The difference in these legal frameworks could be construed as supporting a more sympathetic attitude to unethical behaviour in one country as opposed to the other. For Irish students the difference fell from the 0. As mentioned in an earlier section. First. In all cases once an element of risk was introduced the numbers prepared to act unethically plummeted. and probably of most note is the fact that the undergraduate Bachelor of Business Degree. Irish students indicated they were significantly more prepared to act unethically than their Australian counterparts.

C. February. (1981). Cree. As discussed above there may be several reasons for this. An alternative viewpoint of course is that despite the apparent emphasis Australia has put on ethics education. 10. 14. Why are male students so significantly more likely to act unethically as opposed to their female counterparts? Why do students of both sexes still appear so reluctant to become whistleblowers? Why do female students appear more inclined to act unethically to qualify. So many other variables may also affect the issue. 15 August.W. K. and Sinning. and Baring. It would be facile to suggest that raising the ethics educational requirements in Ireland would be the solution to the problem. there was no statistically significant difference. References Australian Financial Review (1991a). Cohen. The perception gauged from students' attitudes is that acting ethically does not appear paramount in their approach to working in the profession. Culture's Consequences: International Differences of Work Related Values. Barker. Dykxhoorn. S. pp. Australian Financial Review (1991b). One would consider therefore that ethics would be an important part of the training process for students intending to join a profession. ``Auditors sued for $300 million''. 21-2. (1983). 102-3. Scenario 3 was included to see if students would make such a distinction. Vol. Commenting on the results of the above survey. Whether or not students would actually act as they say they would in the comfort of an anonymous questionnaire is always debateable. Beverly Hills. Hofstede. Pant. September. 12. students did not appear to differ significantly in their attitudes towards stealing from shareholders and stealing from the tax office. ``Wirtschaftprufer. pp. 37-64. Yet it cannot be denied that placing more emphasis on education does appear to make students more conscious of the importance of ethical issues. Hofstede. D. M. House of Representatives. pp. Hence even if there is satisfactory emphasis on ethical training. pp. Interestingly. J.J. Australian Financial Review (1991c). [ 113 ] . ``Desperately seeking ethics''. Accountancy Ireland. 10-11. 7. Charter. and Sharp.J. CA. (1995). General Accounting Office. Journal of International Business Studies. United States (1996). ``Auditors lose NSC court action''. pp. When the students were put in the situation whereby they knew the person well who was about to act unethically (scenarios 5 and 6) the percentages prepared to whistleblow collapsed to 8 per cent in Australia and 3 per cent in Ireland. Haswell. P. G. The Accounting Profession ± Major Issues: Progress and Concerns. ``Unethical tendencies''. Fall. (1980). cultural. Committee of Commerce. (1999). (1991). Not only would more emphasis in the area appear appropriate but also more research to ascertain if the type of ethics education being provided is effective. April. ``The cultural relativity of organisational practices and theories''. Other issues also appear in need of attention. social. Australian Accountant. Behavioural Research in Accounting. a code of ethics is critical in distinguishing professionals from other associations of workers of a similar ilk. May. The only factor which appeared capable of influencing students to act ethically was the fear of getting caught. H. P. Indeed. p. ``Tricontinental sues Peat Marwick''. January. p. 16 August. (1995). yet appear more inclined to act ethically having qualified? Finally consider the major differences between the attitudes of students of the two countries. Sage. perception of auditor independence''. G. G. Accounting Review. ``An exploratory examination of international differences in auditor's ethical perceptions''. Any study such as this has limitations.E. but as Table II demonstrates even though the percentages were slightly lower in scenario 3 as compared to scenario 1.R. ``The lesson of the moneylender and the tax-gatherer. pp. 21 August. Report to the Ranking Minority Member. 97-107. p. L. 75-89.Conor O'Leary and Derry Cotter The ethics of final year accountancy students: an international comparison Managerial Auditing Journal 15/3 [2000] 108±115 unacceptable. the levels of unethical behaviour ± as indicated in this study ± still appear far too high. is the type of training appropriate and is the message really getting across? It would appear that those in charge of training the accountants/auditors of the future still have a long way to go in the area of ethics education. However the percentages all appear large enough to warrant consideration that at least a fair proportion of respondents would act as they have indicated. economic. One difference mentioned was the emphasis on ethics education. Washington. and Jubb. the accounting/auditing profession in either country could hardly be satisfied with the outcome. Conclusion The cornerstone of any profession is the ethical standing of its members in society. DC. Hence it appears as if blowing the whistle on your employers is still unacceptable but blowing the whistle on a friend is almost inconceivable..

You confirm this for yourself. B. Welker. 127-31. He and the three remaining directors split the amount equally each year. G. 2.ireland. (1994).R. (1995).000 per annum for three years. Members Handbook. 45-64. thus understating the return due to shareholders. (1990).000 a year. Keller. A.. He is offering you $80. Please tick one option: Would you: (1) Accept the bribe for the three years and tell no one? (2) Resign immediately and tell no one? . Your boss offers to split the proceeds five ways. Dublin. Vol. Wyatt. The scheme is perfectly disguised and as the external auditors have expressed themselves delighted with the company and have no intention of doing anything but minimal work over the next three years. Whistleblowing: Subversion or Corporate Citizenship? Paul Chapman Publishing.000 per annum for three years. ICAI. UK Ninth National Audit Conference (1999). Accountancy Ireland. p. Please tick one option: Would you: (1) Accept the bribe for the three years and tell no one? (2) Resign immediately and tell no one? [ 114 ] (3) Inform the tax office and/or relevant Corporate Authorities immediately? Scenario (2) The scenario is the exact same as above. pp. and Wu. each taking $100. Members Handbook.000. pp. After six months you notice the firm has a very clever accounting scheme in force which allows it to understate its profit by $400. A. Your boss offers to split the proceeds five ways. Colchester. G. and Bartel. F. A. Issues in Accounting Education. there is no way they can possibly get caught. on top of your salary. Karnes. and you have no chance of being caught. February. ``A bi-cultural comparison of accountants' perceptions of unethical business practices''. Vinten. Brain. The scheme is perfectly disguised and as the tax office is under-staffed. Selvanathan. on top of your salary. 2. and has leaked that it cannot do any audits on manufacturing firms for the next three years. J. S. 3 No. Australian Business Statistics. You confront your boss. After six months you notice the firm has a very clever tax evasion scheme in force which allows it to underpay its tax bill by $400. the chief accountant. the chief accountant. It will run for another two years and then will be scrapped. there is no way they can possibly get caught. the accounting profession major issues: progress and concerns''. and he admits the scheme is illegal. You confirm this for yourself. 247-67. pp. Walsh. Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) (1999).com/ newspaper/archives ``Untangling the tribunals''. H. except this time your boss tells you there is a 1 in 10 chance of being caught by the tax office. Appendix: Scenarios utilised Scenario (1) You have completed your degree and have spent six months in your first job. 11 No. He is offering you $80. except this time your boss tells you there is a 1 in 10 chance of being caught by the external auditors. and you have no chance of being caught. Accounting Horizons. Sterner. Selvanathan. each taking $100. Accounting. http://www. Mintz. apart from basic compliance. London. Vol. Vol. It will run for another two years and then will be scrapped. He and the three remaining directors split the amount equally each year. ``Review. (1999). S. ``Virtue ethics and accounting education''. ICAA.. Please tick one option: Would you: (1) Accept the bribe for the three years and tell no one? (2) Resign immediately and tell no one? (3) Inform the external auditors and/or relevant Corporate Authorities immediately? Scenario (4) The scenario is the exact same as above. You are the assistant accountant at a large manufacturing company. 3. You are the assistant accountant at a large manufacturing company.000 a year. W. 3. R. Auditing & Accountability Journal.M. (1994). Thomas Nelson. 10 No. and he admits the scheme is illegal.. (1997). 26-27 March...000. Please tick one option: Would you: (1) Accept the bribe for the three years and tell no one? (2) Resign immediately and tell no one? (3) Inform the tax office and/or relevant Corporate Authorities immediately? Scenario (3) You have completed your degree and have spent six months in your first job.Conor O'Leary and Derry Cotter The ethics of final year accountancy students: an international comparison Managerial Auditing Journal 15/3 [2000] 108±115 Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA) (1999). Irish Times (1999). Sydney. You confront your boss. ``A proud profession''. Australia.

Conor O'Leary and Derry Cotter The ethics of final year accountancy students: an international comparison Managerial Auditing Journal 15/3 [2000] 108±115 (3) Inform the external auditors and/or relevant Corporate Authorities immediately? Scenario (5) You are preparing for your final accounting examination to complete your Degree. He asks you what you are doing and you tell him. You were very good friends and he was always a good friend to anyone else you had heard about. You have been promised a job by a leading company in their accounting department. you must come with him to get the paper after the printery is locked up. Please tick one option: Would you: (1) Accept Michael's offer and get a copy of the paper? (2) Thank him for the offer but decline? (3) Thank him for the offer. As no one will know you have no chance of being caught. There is a 1 in 10 chance of being caught by the security guards who must report fully on all break ins. decline. It promises to be a very difficult paper with an average pass rate. and immediately inform his employers of his offer to you? Scenario (6) The scenario is the exact same as above. except this time Michael tells you. Please tick one option: Would you: (1) Accept Michael's offer and get a copy of the paper? (2) Thank him for the offer but decline? (3) Thank him for the offer. He offers to get you a copy of the paper and deliver it to you tomorrow. and immediately inform his employers of his offer to you? [ 115 ] . decline. He then tells you he is working for a printing company which prints your University's exams. provided you pass this final exam. In fact he can remember printing off your exam that very morning. Two days before the exam you bump into Michael who went to school with you but you haven't seen in three years.