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Earnings Management and Ethics

In: Business and Management

Submitted By nilocool
Words 2758
Pages 12
Amans, Patrick
Hilario, Kedron
ACTG 6650
Dr. Ward
29 July 2015
“Ethics and Its Ties to Earnings Management”
Many professionals and accounting researchers have raised the question -Is ethics directly linked to the practice of earnings management? Earnings management is defined by Beaudoin, Cianci, and Tsakumis (2012, p.507), as “the manipulation of revenues and/or expenses to obtain a desired financial reporting outcome.” He and Yang’s article offers that the definition of earnings management is “a process in which managers use judgment in financial reporting and in structuring transactions to alter financial reports to either mislead some stakeholders about the underlying economic performance of the company or to influence contractual outcomes that depend on reported accounting numbers” (He and Yang 2013). So either way one looks at it, earnings management is a form of deceit. In Shafer’s (2013, p.45) paper, the author defines ethical climate by referencing Victor and Cullen (1988) as, “the prevailing perceptions among employees of organizational practices and procedures that have ethical content.” More often than none, findings have shown that companies tend to engage in earnings management through management’s actions, and not just through accounting choices. Corporations tend to conduct earnings management to meet earnings forecasts, as well as, to decrease financing and tax costs. One side of the spectrum would argue that it is perfectly fine to manage earnings, as long as it is within the generally accepted accounting principles. Others would argue that managing earnings is unethical from any standpoint. Furthermore, some would find it okay to manage earnings if it were in the best interest of shareholders, but find it is unethical if interest lied in the hands of the manager’s wealth. It is clear that there is a fine line between what...

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