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Accounting Ethics Assignment: Contention & Similarities of Organizational Culture

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Accounting Ethics Assignment Task: Develop a research proposal on the topic “Accounting ethics and organizational culture: a study of the points of similarities and contention”.

Answer

Introduction
The topic chosen for this research on accounting ethics assignment is “Accounting ethics and organizational culture: a study of the points of similarities and contention”. In any business enterprise, the organizational culture plays a vital in terms of determining the overall working ethics of the organization. Therefore, accounting ethics are tremendously motivated by the culture of an organization that involves the system of values and ethics in a business. Over the years, the majority of corporate scandals or frauds have taken place through the procedure of accounting manipulation, where the most common phenomenon has been the window dressing of accounts (UWF, 2018). Culture has demonstrated to be a significant power on the lucidity of accounting disclosures within organizations across various parts of the world. One major cultural influence is confrontation to planned change from the existing process of accounting to a new process of accounting (ICOFP, 2019). Overall, cohesion can be created between the organization and the members by organizational culture in the form of social control in the company based on information system faces. Values within an organization’s culture tend to influence the perception of problems and situation along with the entire decision-making choices that set the limit of decision making’s ethical behaviour. Overall, ethics are sets of moral principles that tend to direct a person's behaviour, and such morals are structured by religious influences, social norms and cuktural practices. The concepts of ethics are applicable to all the conducts’ aspect that is applicable to the proceedings of organizations, groups and individuals.

This research will be based on analyzing the similarities and contention between accounting ethics and organizational culture. Therefore, the main research question is “What are the similarities and contention between accounting ethics and organizational culture”? Over the last few decades, there has been tremendous improvement in technology, and this has led to better transparency of accounting activities, but despite the technological advancements, there have been several accounting scandals that have shocked the entire corporate world (Costa, 2017). After witnessing the various accounting scandals, various questions have been raised about the organizational culture’s role in terms of establishing ethics. It has been observed that in the case of accounting scandals, the auditors have lacked ethical approach and auditing responsibilities, which led to the presentation of misleading and fraudulent financial statements (Ramos Montesdeoca et al., 2019). The ethical codes represent the fundamental accounting principles that are chosen by accounting professionals to enhance their professional skill along with maintaining the trust of the public and demonstrating fairness and honesty. Therefore, accounting ethics refers to specific guidelines and rules that are set by the governing bodies based on which every person associated with accounting must prevent financial information’s misuse (Thakur, 2019). However, despite the implementation of accounting ethics, there are several ethical issues that are mostly raised by organizational culture.

This research will reflect on the relation and dissimilarities between organizational culture and accounting ethics so that a better outcome can be generated regarding the use of accounting principles and mitigate future accounting scandals. The outcome of the research will be generated on appropriate research methodology and design along with a detailed literature review that will relate to the previous studies on the same topic.

Significance of the research
There will be tremendous significance of this research as it will relate to organizational culture and accounting ethics that is extremely critical under the modern-day context of the business environment. In addition to that, it is a well-known fact that the accounting practices around the world are in desperate need of globalized ethical principles that will maintain the standards of accounting with a high level of integrity. There have been several types of research in the past related to this topic; however, the outcomes have not been satisfactory in terms of gaining relevant results that can draw a proper conclusion on the similarities and contention of organizational culture and accounting ethics (Tedla, 2016). In addition to that, this research will also hold significance in terms of making the accounting professionals understand their ethical and moral duties, which is a key factor in the current business environment. However, there will be several implications of the research as the accounting ethics and organizational culture massively varies from one country to another, so it will be a big challenge to consider all the requirements of every country (Trobez et al., 2017). There will also be implications on the application of accounting ethics in every organizational culture given the vast diversity of organizational policies across the world. Overall, this research based on the chosen research methodology and design can potentially generate satisfactory outcomes in terms of understanding the similarities and contention between organizational culture and accounting ethics. The main research question will be systematically answered based on the approach of this research.

Research aim and question

Research aim
The aim of this research is to obtain evidence regarding the contention and similarities of organizational culture and accounting ethics so that a better framework can be developed regarding the policies that can help to overcome accounting frauds. Over the years, it has been observed that accounting ethics have been specifically established to meet the growing complexities in accounting, particularly due to the factor of globalization (Gunz & Thorne, 2020). Therefore, the analysis from this research contributes in terms of reducing accounting complexities that exist in modern-day organizations. In addition to that, this research also aims to consider the accounting ethics of several SMEs, which can generate the basic concept of the main requirement that are required to overcome obstacles in the accounting practices of the SMEs. Despite the localized approach of this research, the main objective is to gather global standards that can tremendously influence the understanding of the relationship between organizational culture and accounting ethics.

Research question
What are the similarities and contention between accounting ethics and organizational culture?

The answer to this question can tremendously influence a clear and in-depth understanding of the relevant accounting ethics that must be inserted into every organizational culture so that the accounting professionals ensure practice with full integrity, which can potentially minimize the probability of accounting errors. Overall, this research question will carefully sort out all the points that can help in understanding the relationship between organizational culture and accounting ethics.

Literature review
Accounting is the process of measuring, identifying and communicating information regarding finance so that better decision-making and judgement can be made based upon the information provided (Sreshtha, 2021). Therefore, accounting can also be referred to as the language of business that allows information passing along with well-functioning of the financial structure based upon the reliable and accurate information of accounting. However, the profession of accounting has experienced several crises over the last few decades after the exposure of several accounti8ng scandals that have caused the collapse of some reputed organizations. The main reason behind all the accounting frauds was unethical accounting practices along with fraudulent financial reporting and misappropriation of expenses and assets. KPMG conducted a survey, and the conclusion obtained from the survey stated that the high-profile accounting scandals and embarrassing failures of corporate giants had questioned the integrity of accounting professionals, which has stressed the importance of an increase in accounting ethics (Blomestein, 2019). Accounting ethics is one of the most important concerns in today's business environment as an inadequate and inappropriate understanding of ethical principles and misleading interpretation influences the accountants to get indulged in unethical practices and behaviour. Simple awareness regarding the professional accounting standards and code of conduct does not guarantee ethical practice on behalf of the accountant, so it has become mandatory to understand the ethical decision-making process as a significant proportion of professional judgments depends upon the attitude and ethical beliefs of an individual. The ethical decision-making process of an individual depends on several factors such as religion, culture, education, age, etc., so it has become important for business organizations to develop an ethical culture that will promote integrity and honestly among individuals. This literature review aims to reflect on a critical review of the extent to which organizational culture can influence accounting ethics of the highest standards.

Every organization has a culture that is made up of their unique business and human approach that significantly influences the beliefs and ethical norms of their employees (Cancialosi, 2017). Therefore, employees, despite the different cultural backgrounds, consider the organizational culture as a top priority in their respective workplaces. Several empirical studies have shown that organizational culture is one of the major behavioural factors that influence the notion of ethical practices. If an organization's culture fails to insert ethical practices, then there is a strong likelihood of scandals and fraudulent activities. It has also been observed that accountants who work under high uncertainty organizational culture are more likely to get involved in unethical practices. Therefore, organizational culture forms the foundation of accounting ethics by determining unethical and ethical practices. Accountants who have different religious backgrounds consider ethical decision-making as personal standards and values based upon their religious beliefs, so it has become important to insert organizational culture into their religious beliefs. This will also ensure that the accounting ethics respect every cultural and religious background. Overall, upholding and understanding accounting ethics has become essential for business activities as the survival and stability of a business organization massively depends upon the quality and consistency of an organization's cultural values. Previous studies have demonstrated that businesses that possess higher ethical commitment tend to get engaged in lesser earnings management along with a higher market valuation that is related to higher financial performance. Accounting ethics, along with bringing profitability, also tends to increase customer loyalty that helps the investors gaining trust based on organizational goodwill. Unethical accounting practices, on the other hand, that involves practices such as manipulation of accounting figures to display misleading results possess a tremendous threat to investors' money. Therefore, for professional accountants, it is important to maintain high ethical standards as they play a vital role in terms of keeping the invested money safe by acting ethically (Parmar et al., 2018). All the facts mentioned in this literature review a strong relationship between organizational cultures and accounting ethics as the ethical principles of accounting is tremendously influenced by the organizational culture. Thus, modern-day business organizations must ensure that their organizational culture efficiently promotes ethical principles in terms of accounting as financial statements are extremely sensitive, and even the slightest of misleading information can lead to severe financial losses for the public, investors, shareholders, stakeholders, etc.

Research methodology and design
The purpose of this research is to explore the importance of accounting ethics in accounting practices along with identifying the relation of organizational culture with accounting ethics. Therefore, the study of this research is based on secondary data that is a collection of information with the intention of answering the main purpose. After analyzing the purpose of this research, a qualitative research approach can be deemed as the relevant way to efficiently and effectively combine the elements of analysis, data collection and analysis that will ensure skilful interpretation of the results. The qualitative approach method will provide an in-depth understanding of the relationship between organizational culture and accounting ethics by identifying the common phenomenon. The data used for this study will be obtained from several publications, websites, databases, etc., that include Science Direct, ProQuest, Emerald, Google, and Google Scholar. In addition to that, the findings from the research methodology will provide a structure that will be related to the themes mentioned in the literature review.

The influence of organizational culture on accounting ethics will be completely addressed in this research so that the results generate relevant outcomes related to the research question. The design of this research will be a structured approach in terms of understanding various researchers approach to the concept of accounting ethics. Overall, the research sample can potentially generate significant results in the aspect of ethical accounting practices. The research data can potentially point out the influence of organizational culture and beliefs on the decision-making of accountants based on the moral ability of reasoning. The findings from this research can also outline the actual factors that have a strong influence on ethical behaviour that is based on the cultural background through ethical training and education. Despite the previous studies not delivering a clear conclusion on the influence of accounting ethics in the overall business performance, the main objective of the data analysis is to establish partial connections that indicate unethical accounting practices and fraudulent activities.

Overall, ethics holds an essential role in accounting to ensure efficiency, accuracy, integrity, presentation and confidentiality of accurate financial information. The research methodology will consider several factors that indirectly or directly influence ethical decision-making, such as religious beliefs, gender, moral reasoning, culture, etc. There is a massive significance of the variables on ethical decision-making under specific circumstances. Organizational culture has a substantial influence on accounting ethics and moral reasoning that can be potentially confirmed by the previous empirical studies. The results can be conflicting as different organizations have different organizational values, and thus there is a sense of exclusivity based on the confirmation of results. A total of 8 peers reviewed journals has been taken for this research, and the selected articles can be considered suitable for the purpose of this research.

Religious beliefs are crucial factors that help in determining the ethical behaviour, and they can also indicate a positive relationship between organizational culture and ethical practices. After carefully scanning the 8 peer-reviewed journal articles, the data collected will generate the results that can help in combining the accounting ethics and organizational values. After analyzing the data from the research, a proper conclusion can be drawn to generate awareness regarding the concepts that will help in understanding the requirements of accounting ethics in the modern-day business environment. The research design must be carefully aligned with the requirements of various organizations where the aspect of accounting can help in identifying the potential flaws that can cause accounting frauds or fraudulent representation of the accounting statements. The ethical practices of accounting massively depend upon the factors of training and education that can be provided through organizational culture. Overall, an organizational culture massively shapes the behaviour of its employees, and in terms of accounting, it holds even a greater significance of the accounting practices. It is extremely difficult and challenging to measure the analysis of research tools that can generate an overview of the ethical practices’ importance in the field of accounting principles. The conflicting results of the selected articles can be identified can also tremendously influence certain circumstances where the concept of accounting ethics can develop moral ability and ethical decision-making; however, there is a need for further research in this area that can have a positive influence on the ethics of accounting.

References
Blomestein, H. J. (2019). (PDF) How to Restore Trust in Financial Markets? ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304722424_How_to_Restore_Trust_in_Financial_Markets

Cancialosi, C. (2017, July 17). What is Organizational Culture? | Complete Definition and Characteristics. GothamCulture. https://gothamculture.com/what-is-organizational-culture-definition/

Costa, A. P. P. da. (2017). Corporate Governance and Fraud: Evolution and Considerations. Corporate Governance and Strategic Decision Making, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.68489

Gunz, S., & Thorne, L. (2020). Thematic Symposium: The Impact of Technology on Ethics, Professionalism and Judgement in Accounting. Journal of Business Ethics, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-019-04404-4

ICOFP. (2019, April 26). Impact Of Organisational Culture On The Procedures Of Accounting. International College of Financial Planning. https://www.icofp.org/blog/impact-organisational-culture-procedures-techniques-accounting/#:~:text=Culture%20has%20proven%20to%20have

Parmar, B., Kelly, D., & Stevens, D. (2018). Ethical and Professional Standards READING ASSIGNMENTS Reading 1 Ethics and Trust in the Investment Profession Reading 2 Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct Standards of Practice Handbook, Eleventh Edition Reading 3 Guidance for Standards I-VII Standards of Practice Handbook, Eleventh Edition Reading 4 Introduction to the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS). In cfainstitute.org. https://www.cfainstitute.org/-/media/documents/study-session/2019-l1-readings.ashx

Ramos Montesdeoca, M., Sánchez Medina, A. J., & Blázquez Santana, F. (2019). Research Topics in Accounting Fraud in the 21st Century: A State of the Art. Sustainability, 11(6), 1570. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061570

Sreshtha, C. (2021, January 5). What is the Meaning Of Accounting? - Definition, Aspects, Types and Uses. Economics Discussion. https://www.economicsdiscussion.net/cost-accounting/meaning-of-accounting/32813

Tedla, T. (2016). The Impact of Organizational Culture on Corporate Performance. In scholarworks.waldenu.edu. https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3612&context=dissertations

Thakur, M. (2019, October 22). Accounting Ethics (Definition, Examples) | Why it is Important? WallStreetMojo. https://www.wallstreetmojo.com/accounting-ethics/

Trobez, S., Vesi?, M., Žerovnik, G., Ye, X., & Žužul, D. (2017). THE EFFECT OF CULTURE ON BUSINESS ETHICS. Dynamic Relationships Management Journal, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.17708/drmj.2017.v06n01a05

UWF. (2018). The Importance of Ethics in Accounting | UWF Online. UWF Online - University of West Florida Online Programs. https://getonline.uwf.edu/articles/business/ethics-in-accounting.aspx#:~:text=Ethical%20codes%20are%20the%20fundamental

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