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    An Investigation of Ethical Environments of CPAs: Public...
    research summary posted June 22, 2017 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 04.04 Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions 
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    Title:
    An Investigation of Ethical Environments of CPAs: Public Accounting versus Industry
    Practical Implications:

    Overall, having a clear understanding of ethical environment perception is important because it shapes behavior, influences views of reality, and identifies the relative strengths and weaknesses of ethical environments. The results from this study suggests organizations in industry may need to place an additional emphasis on developing and strengthening their ethical environments. They can accomplish this goal by providing ethics training, incentivizing ethical behavior, and having an ethical leadership style.

    Citation:

    Bobek, Donna D., D. W. Dalton, B. E. Duaghterty, A. M. Hangeman, and R. R. Radtke.2017. “An Investigation of Ethical Environments of CPAs: Public Accounting versus Industry”. Behavioral Research in Accounting 29.1 (2017): 43.

    Keywords:
    ethical environment; public accounting; Big 4 firms
    Purpose of the Study:

    After numerous accounting scandals occurred at the turn of the 21st century, many argued the decline in ethical values and ethical environments within the accounting profession were to blame. This study investigates certified public accountants’ (CPAs) perceptions of the ethical environments in which they work. The authors compare CPAs in public accounting vs. CPAs in industry as well as CPAs working at Big 4 firms vs. CPAs working at international, national, regional, and local public accounting firms. It is hypothesized by the authors that accountants who work in public accounting will have a stronger perception of ethical environment than industry CPAs will. This is due to public accounting firms’ emphasis on professionalism, whereas industry tends to focus on commercialism. 

    Design/Method/ Approach:

    There are 904 participants from 4 different states. 803 of these participants work in public accounting while the remaining 101 are from industry. Respondents of the study assessed the ethical environment of their work ethic on a sliding scale. Regression analytics were performed on the results to test the perception of ethical environments

    Findings:

    The authors find the following:

    • CPAs working at public accounting firms perceive significantly stronger ethical environments compared to CPAs working in industry.
    • CPAs working at Big 4 public accounting firms perceive significantly stronger ethical environments compared to CPAs working at international/national, regional, and local public accounting firms.
    Category:
    Independence & Ethics
    Sub-category:
    Moral Development and Individual Ethics Decisions
    Home:

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