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|Can we teach auditors and accountants to be more ethically competent and publicly accountable?
|Ethics and Auditing, 2005 / Campbell, T., Houghton, K. (ed./s), pp.265-288
|ANU E Press
|Education and training in ethics has been given increased importance and urgency by recent corporate collapses of high-profile companies. These events have encouraged the media and public to question the ethical standards and behaviours of auditors and accountants. There is a high level of cynicism and scepticism in the profession that ethics can be ‘taught’ to auditing and accounting students and practitioners. This chapter seeks to counter these perceptions by arguing that the ethical awareness of auditors can be raised by attacking certain widely-held ‘myths’ about the nature and teaching of ethics. These myths include cynicism that the teaching of ethics can make any difference, or that ethics is simply a matter of personal opinion, or that the study of ethics must start with the study of ethical theory rather than practical experience. This chapter emphasises that ethics is about power relationships and responsibility, and that developing the practical skills of students and practitioners in values clarification, ethical decision-making and ethical policy-setting can not only raise ethical awareness in the professions of auditing and accounting, but also improve standards of practice. It is argued that improving ethical competence in the profession and striving for excellence in practice are not just starry-eyed ideals, but achievable with relevant curriculum planning and the use of effective teaching methods.
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