Cowton, Christopher J. (2013) Accounting ethics. In: International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester. ISBN 9781444367072

Accounting ethics has become a matter of public rather than merely professional concern largely through certain well-publicized “scandals” around the beginning of the 21st century. Although the field cannot be considered a mature one and much remains to be done, academic writing and professional pronouncements, such as ethics codes, address many of the issues that accountants face in their various roles (e.g. confidentiality, conflicts of interest). Many of these issues and questions of implementation (e.g. training and enforcement) bear similarities with other professional codes. This article considers the professional context of accounting ethics, but its principal aim is to focus on what is taken to be the key distinguishing issue in accounting ethics; namely what it means – or does not mean – to talk of truth in accounting and what that implies for contemporary concerns that financial statements might not provide an honest account of a business.

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