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Accounting Ethics

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Professional and personal ethics- should there be a difference?

First and foremost I believe it is imperative that a definition for both person and professional ethics is established and then the question of whether they should differ can be addressed more comprehensively.

So firstly, what are personal ethics? We all have them but so many people seem to be unsure as to what they really are. "Ethics is a code of values which guide our choices and actions and determine the purpose and course of our lives." (Ayn Rand 1955) If we continue on the road to understanding we learn that ethics are learnt and adopted over time. “Moral character is shaped by family, church, and education.” (Prof Kenneth Andrews, 1989) This clearly illustrates that personal ethics are not a generic set of principles adopted homogenously by all people but that there is are many differences between individuals personal ethics and what some people would say is right and moral, others would say is not, and others would simply be indifferent.

Professional ethics, on the other hand, are defined as the ‘giving of one’s best to ensure that clients’ interests are properly cared for, but in doing so the wider public interest is also recognized and respected’. (Howard Land, Unknown date). The specific code of ethics that a professional adheres to depends on the line of work in which they find themselves and to which certification of charter they belong. It is essential to note that all codes of professional ethics are in place for the good of the client and the general public. Clearly their intention is good- companies want to ensure consistency of values and that employees operate in an honest manner in the work place, which is aimed at benefiting society as a whole.

The most important distinctions drawn from these definitions are firstly...

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