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Justice & Change In A Global In Accounting

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Justice & Change In A Global In Accounting

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Discuss about the Justice & Change In A Global World.

Accounting firms, at the present day, show a clear lack of adherence and realization towards the shared responsibility for the common good. There is a need on part of the accounting firms to adhere to the drafted standards and the laws in this regard, to the true letter and spirit (Klein, 2015). But, the growing corruption in this field has marred the path towards the adherence to such standards. Instead, the accounting firms help the business houses and conglomerates, in evading these standards by finding the loopholes, which beat the purpose of the drawn standards (Duska, Duska and Ragatz, 2011). In the following parts, a discussion is carried over the lack of accounting firms in working towards the common good. Moreover, the emphasis of this discussion is over highlighting the manner in which these challenges can be addressed.
The non-adherence to the common good on part of accounting firms is further evidenced from the number of recent accounting standards which have left the investors and the workers to bear the devastating effects of these breaches. And even though criminality and corruption are to be blamed for such incidents, the unethical accountants who falsify the numbers for protecting the equally unethical clients also have to be blamed for. Another reason for the failure in the accounting firms working towards common good is the increased burden on the private and public accounting firms in succeeding towards the common good objectives. The pressure which the accountants have to face while creating the financial statements is immense. By using the creative accounting mechanisms, the unethical accountants have alerted the financial statements (Pratt, 2010). This is in addition to the out-dated technology being used by the accountants, which make it easy for the unethical accounting firms to alter the data. Along with this, the issue of failure on part of the accountants to act in a responsible manner towards the whistleblowers again beats the common good.
The first manner in which this issue can be resolved is through community engagement. Through the process of community engagement, the workers, investors, organizations, community groups, along with the accountants and the accounting firms, can come together and mutually decide to work towards the common good (The State of Victoria, 2013). A key reason for the failure of the accounting firms to work towards a common good, and instead opting for corrupt ways, is the lack of proper leadership, in addition to the increased pressure and even lack of proper administrative capacity. These can be easily resolved through the use of community engagement.
The objective of community engagement is to join hands with the communities in need of assistance, and based on the principle of preferential option for the poor, the commitments are made (Levy, 2014). Replacing the preferential option for the poor, in this case, the community engagement has to be adopted by the accountants towards adherence to the law, in spirit more importantly. And even if the concentration is upon the poor, the well off accounting firms, can help in the lower level accountants in removing the problems which they face in terms of poor or inadequate infrastructure, or merely making them aware of the possible manner, in which the same could be misused by anyone.
Community engagement could also be used to safeguard the whistleblowers, by protecting and safeguarding the individuals who raise their voice against the corrupt accountants. Through the use of community engagement, the skilled accounting firms or accountants could be hired for helping the entire professional community of the accountants, in working in an ethical manner and helping in attaining the common goal. The ethical accounting firms need to provide the example of being an ethical firm, and the resulting benefits of it (McPhail and ‎Diane, 2009).
Another mode which can be taken help of for dealing with the failure of accounting firms is through teaching the significance of human dignity. Each and every individual, who has been born on this earth, has human dignity with them, at all times, and only proper perception is required to see the presence of human dignity. And just because one of the accounting firms has forgotten about this, does not imply that the others have too. With the proper motivation, the people can be made aware about the importance which the human dignity serves, especially to those, who ignore it and pay no regard to the human dignity (O’Mahony, 2012).
In case the accounting firms are taught the significance of human dignity, they can be properly made aware about the need to not indulge in unethical practices, which results in the other humans being hurt. The accountants are required to keep in mind that others too have their interests in what they do, and the consequences have to be borne by the other people, due to the unethical actions of the accountants. By keeping their self-interests supreme, along with the ones who support them in such unethical behavior, they forget to respect the human dignity (Donaldson, 2015). Hence, there is a need for the accountants to be re-taught the basic principle like human dignity. This becomes crucial in the case where the whistleblowers are treated in the most dignified manner, which makes it difficult for them to even survive. The significance of human dignity gets amplified in such cases. There is a need for the accounting firms to be motivated towards understanding, as well as, spreading the significance of human dignity (Wendel, 2014).
Advocacy is the way through which community engagement can help in raising the issue of human dignity. Advocacy can be stated as such an act, which advocates, supports and promotes a particular cause through a personality with power in the world, to specially speak on behalf of those who do not hold such power. For instance, if the present head of International Monetary Fund (IMF), i.e., Christine Lagarde, advocates that there is a need to adhere to the standards drawn internationally for the accounting practices, in order to avoid the incidents which can be deemed as financial blunders, would help in raising awareness about the significance of adoption of ethical practices by the accounts and the accounting firms (BBC News, 2016). Or instead of the head of the IMF, the executive director of International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, or IFRS Foundation, Yael Almog, could help in spreading awareness on these issues. Advocacy would help in making the accounting firms following the examples of the advocates, i.e., Yael Almog or Christine Lagarde, to indulge in such practices, which respect the human dignity and working towards the common good (IFRS, 2012).
Bringing back the ethical behavior amongst the accountants and the accounting firms, require the merger of the three, i.e., of advocacy, community engagement and human dignity. The leaders, apart from the two mentioned above, of this field, have to show the way to the others, that by adhering to ethical practices, not only is the common goal achieved, but it also helps in safe and tension free practices, which do not attract criminal or civil penalties, like the unethical practices do.
To conclude this discussion, the unethical practices being adopted by the accounting firms and the accountants pose as a great threat to the common good, as instead of working in a manner where the responsibilities are shared, the personal inserts is kept supreme. To deal with these issues, there is a need to adopt the measures highlighted above.
BBC News. (2016) Profile: Christine Lagarde, ‘rock star’ head of the IMF. [Online] BBC News. Available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-13452436 [Accessed on: 15/05/17]
Donaldson, T. (2015) Toward a theory of business. Research in Organizational Behavior, 35, p. 181–207.
Duska, ‎R., Duska, ‎B.S., and Ragatz, J.A. (2011) Accounting Ethics. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
IFRS. (2012) Yael Almog appointed as Executive Director of the IFRS Foundation. [Online] IFRS. Available from: https://www.ifrs.org/Alerts/PressRelease/Pages/Yael-Almog-Jan-2012.aspx [Accessed on: 15/05/17]
Klein, G. (2015) Ethics in Accounting: A Decision-Making Approach. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Levy, J. (2014) Community engagement is not about being nice; it’s fourth pillar of CSR. [Online] The Guardian. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/sep/08/community-engagement-pillar-business-csr-sustainability [Accessed on: 15/05/17]
McPhail, ‎K., and Walters, D. (2009) Accounting and Business Ethics: An Introduction. Oxon: Routledge.
O’Mahony, C. (2012) There is no such thing as a right to dignity. International Journal of Constitutional Law, 10(2).
Pratt, J. (2010) Financial Accounting in an Economic Context. 8th ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
The State of Victoria. (2013) What is Community Engagement?. [Online] The State of Victoria. Available from: https://www.dse.vic.gov.au/effective-engagement/introduction-to-engagement/what-is-community-engagement [Accessed on: 15/05/17]
Wendel, W.B. (2014) Ethics and Law: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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