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Professionalism of Accounting

In: Business and Management

Submitted By idayu1203
Words 3627
Pages 15
TABLE OF CONTENT

1.0 Introduction | | 2.0 Issues Surrounding the Professionalism of Accounting | | 3.0 Literature Review | | 4.0 Presentation of the main Idea about the Professionalism of Accounting | | 5.0 Analysis and discussion | | 6.0 Conclusion | | 7.0 Reference | |

1.0 INTRODUCTION

2.0 ISSUES SURROUNDING THE PROFESSIONALISM OF ACCOUNTING
Twenty years ago, Briloff (1986) alerted the profession to the crisis of credibility being faced because society perceived accountants to have lost their commitment to public service. The credibility of the profession is threatened when the ideals of integrity, independence, public service and ethical standards come under suspicion. Well-known scandals of one of the major leading accounting firms in the United States Arthur Andersen coupled with alleged unethical acts committed by Enron have arouse the conscious of the public and stakeholders as to the moral decline and unethical posture of public accountants unveiled a decline in moral reasoning and ethical standards of public accountants (Dellaportas, 2006; Esmond-Kiger, 2004).
Over the last few years, the accounting profession has been beaten up badly in the media, somewhat justifiably. The forces at work were numerous and complex and a variety of phenomena created the entire profession had its reputation tarnished. Some forces were not new: delivering services that acted to impair independence; becoming too cozy with clients, active participation in finding ways to circumvent accounting standards, and even simple greed. The profession has paid dearly for failing to meet the expectations of investors, creditors, and other users of financial statements. Finally, the public lose their trust and confidence on the accounting profession and thus, the professional standing of accountant is jeopardized.
There are several ethical issues faced by the public accountants in a result of jeopardizing the professional standing of the accountants. First, the burden for public companies to succeed at high levels may place undue stress and pressure on accountants creating balance sheets and financial statements. The ethical issue for these accountants becomes maintaining true reporting of company assets, liabilities and profits without giving in to the pressure placed on them by management or corporate officers. Unethical accountants could easily alter company financial records and maneuver numbers to paint false pictures of company successes. This may lead to short-term prosperity, but altered financial records will ultimately spell the downfall of companies when the Securities and Exchange Commission discovers the fraud.
Furthermore, an accountant may face the ethical dilemma of reporting discovered accounting violations to the Financial Accounting Standards Board. While it is an ethical accountant's duty to report such violations, the dilemma arises in the ramifications of the reporting. Government review of company financial records and the bad press caused by an accounting scandal could cause the company's rapid decline and may lead to the layoff of thousands of employees. Executives and other corporate officers could also face criminal prosecution, leading to heavy fines and prison time. Thus, the accountants choose to be unethical in concealing such accounting violations.
Moreover, greed in the business and finance world leads to shaving ethical boundaries and stepping around safeguards in the name of making more money. An accountant can never let the desire to earn a better living and acquire more possessions get in the way of ensuring that she follows ethical guidelines for financial reporting. An accountant who keeps her eyes on her own bank account more than on her company's balance sheet becomes a liability to the company and may cause real accounting violations, resulting in sanctions from the SEC.
Other than that, successful accountants retain clients over many years and become familiar with their businesses, financial positions and economic prospects, while also becoming familiar with their personal lives. Such familiarity may give root to personal feelings when difficult financial decisions must be made. The close personal relationship with the client will influence the accountant’s work if the client requests the accountant to help in concealing any material financial misstatement or altering the poor performance of the financial statements into a more prospective status.
As a conclusion, it is inevitable that ethical dilemmas are faced by accountants in a society where there are many expectations to be met. A survey by Finn (1988) confirmed that there are ethical conflicts and issues faced by the practitioners in public accounting, such as difficulties faced when the clients request some form or tax alteration when they attempt to fraudulently misstate their information and conflicts of interest between investing in securities and the profession’s standards relating to independence.

3.0 LITERATURE REVIEW
What is a profession? Dr. Imad Faour (2008) stated that professions share certain characteristics comprising expertise, monopoly, public interest, and self-regulation. Expertise is adopted through the higher education and extensive training. They are selling advice, not things. Besides, the expertise also required to have the professional judgment, not just the technical skills. If answers could always be obtained from the reference to written materials, such as laws, codes, or detailed standards, the individual would be a technician, not a professional. Furthermore, Dr. Imad Faour also stated that knowledge is a power. Some of the experts own certain knowledge, it leads the society gives them even more power by allowing them a monopoly and then causing some of them will not follow the code of ethics. Hence, society provides the self-regulation with privilege to the profession if the members of profession do not follow the code of ethics.
Michael Schudson (1974) stated that a sense of vocation may be something that few people develop in any job or craft or profession and that many perhaps never seek. Michael stated that a sense of vocation relies first of all on outside support by a framework of institutional and personal bonds that respect the worker and reward his efforts. Secondly, a sense of vocation has an inside dimension: the person finds meaning in his or her work and seeks fulfillment through it. One needs to feel that the task at hand can be done and is worth the doing. It may be that the internal sense of vocation develops most strongly in persons or groups who feel themselves least aided by general social regard. If the external sense of vocation is the reality of the world of scarce resources and stingy regard, its internal sense of vocation is the building of myths by which we make ourselves human. Finally, a feeling of necessity about a sense of vocation, a feeling that one’s own involvement in the work is not wholly accidental and that the recognition one’s work obtains is not entirely undeserved. It involves a feeling of competence in contributing to the task at hand.
It is broadly recognized that the “accounting profession is an important facet of our society” (Wyatt, 2004, p 53). Accounting has arose from the society and has been said to be socially established and socially establishing (Hines 1988) and it can be carried out to the meant of accounting influences society as well as accounting is influenced by society. The issue of influence was deliberated by Solomons (1978), in terms of the politicization of accounting where governmental policies can be reflected in accounting standards. Solomons (1978) judged that the accounting profession should not confuse in its role in struggling for representational faithfulness of accounting standards with achieving “national objectives”. According to Wyatt “the public rightfully expects”, the accounting profession must to be practical, intellectual and to have a regard for the public. These characteristics have been significance in defining any profession in the last century (Cogan 1953, Goode 1957) and remaining committed to these characteristics is how the accounting profession has been expected to serve the public interest.
Eleni Tourna stated that, recently, accounting historians searching the history of accounting vocation were reliant on celebratory and often financial statements which were invariably authored by the retired presidents and former secretaries of the professional organizations (Carnegie and Napier, 1996). Different theoretical approaches established in the sociology discipline have been taken to describe its formation and development. Structural-functionalist approach was the dominant in the literature until recently. Traditionalist accounting historians predicate that accounting developments can be and need to be described by reference to changes in the economic environment. The last quarter of century, a new search for the evolution of accounting profession has begun, the central component of this venture has been the wresting of accounting from the purely technical towards the behavioral, social and contextual (Willmott, 1986; Kedslie. 1990; Manicas, 1993; Arrington and Francis, 1993). Many practitioners of the "new accounting history" would stand that their approach is to regard accounting as predominantly a cultural phenomenon rather than a technique or tool whose characteristics are neutral if not benign (Carnegie and Napier, 1996).
In recent years, the significance of professionalism and ethics in accountancy has grown due to a series of corporate and accounting scandals. In response, the accountancy profession globally has introduced and embedded ethics and professionalism as core areas of accountancy education and training. The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has introduced an International Educational Standard on ethics for member accountancy bodies, but the need for greater focus on ethics and professionalism for technician and foundation level qualifications is also recognized and reflected in revised educational guidelines and occupational standards. As a consequence many professional accountancy bodies now include ethics and professionalism as a core part of their curriculum and within assessment strategies at all levels. Many regulatory bodies exist which play the role of professional body functions to promote, define, oversee, support and regulate the member of the bodies. Such regulatory bodies are ACCA, ICAEW, MICPA, CFA and CIMA. Besides, AICPA is established to improve the quality of work performed by public accountants since the business environment is frequently changing and the demand for ethical accounting in financial reporting are performed. While PCAOB has been established to protect investors and restore the public’s confidence in the CPA.

4.0 PRESENTATION OF THE MAIN IDEA ABOUT THE PROFESSIONALISM OF ACCOUNTING
There are five attributes identified by Ernest Greenwood, Professor of Social Welfare, Emeritus in 1957, which act as a basic attributes for professions and to distinguish professions from non-professions. To prove that accounting is a profession rather than vocation, we looked into the five attributes:
4.1 Systematic theory/ Body of knowledge
Accounting has broad theory in the form of standards, disclosure requirement, policies and principles, an accounting profession needs special training and distinct body of knowledge which can be acquired during extensive formal educational process in order to perform their stewardship function in this field.
Accounting is deems to be a profession as one need to go through in depth learning process and has to be certified by professional bodies. Examples of the professional bodies include ACCA, ICAEW, MICPA, CFA and CIMA. Such professional bodies give an entry into respective professions; they ensure that the eligible candidates are accorded with professional status. To acquire qualifications as an accounting profession, one has to complete a course of study, get through chartered accountancy examinations at various levels, and then undergo kinds of practical training, computer training and management training.
On the other hand, vocation does not need to undergo any extensive training and it is not necessary to have specialized knowledge regarding his job. Unlike a profession, the one who engaged in vocation need no to undergo higher education. Moreover,a profession gets his return from his particular skills and specialized knowledge, for example, other than accounting profession, lawyer, doctors, engineers and scientists are fall under this category. However, for those who fall under the category of a vocation, for example, drivers, clerks and workers are paid only for what the outcomes they have produced in their job.
4.2 Authority
A profession tends to be autonomous. This is due to the clients of a profession are normally lack of specialized knowledge and skills as the profession, they are unable to evaluate and judge the services received from professional. So, a profession have significant control over the nature and extent of the services they render.
As compared to a profession, a vocation is supervised by another person with the authority and discharge their abilities based on instructions. They have no power of autonomy because their assessments are usually can be taken by any person as this kind of work does not require high degrees of knowledge and skills. So, profession is said to be stand on a higher and respected status than a vocation.
4.3 Community sanction.
Once profession’s authority has been recognized by public, series of powers and privileges will be enforced by community powers. These powers and privileges are supported by legislation, which include professional licensing, minimum criteria to enter profession which include education and experience, apprenticeship and performance standards.
A profession is said to be enjoyed a higher social status than a vocation as profession acquires a monopoly, which is granted by government for certain services.
4.4 Ethical codes
Another difference that can be seen between a profession and a vocation is that a profession is guided through certain ethical codes and is regulated by a certain statute. A code of ethics is defined as a regulative set of principles that declares the standards of behaviour which require behavioural acts from member of organization and make the profession’s commitment to the social welfare.
A profession needs to adhere to standards of behaviour that are systematic and public interest oriented in order to give the best service required by clients as well as to gain trust and confident from clients regarding the professional’s conduct . a profession must be motivated more by quality rather than self interest. A profession must declare that he or she has complied the ethical codes stated and any breach of it may bring significant consequences. In contrary, a vocation is not bind to and need not to follow the ethical codes as to profession. This means that person in vocation tend to carry out their duty on arbitrary basis based on their personal judgement. They can freely adjust the quality of their service to fit client’s budget.

4.5 Culture
Culture, is created by a combination of social values, norms and symbols that generate a common configuration unique to profession. The cultures tend to protect, enhance and increase perceived status for profession. Because of this, a profession have a career orientation that leads him or her to high personal involvement in their work and satisfaction other than just because of monetary rewards, but also their title. So, profession tend to have higher social status in term of prestige, respect, honour, financial resources and living style.
On the other hand, people in vocation just need to be taught how is the culture goes, what is the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to any similar issues. A vocation tends to motivate by only the amount of pay.

5.0 ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
5.1 Specialised academic and training
Profession is a job that requires special academic and training while vocation does not need. In order to become a profession, one need to attend at least a Bachelor Degree so that he or she will be equipped with the knowledge required. Besides that, one may need to attend for special training to acquire the skill needed. For instance, accountant needs to undergo practical training in order to be recognised as an accountant. However, vocation does not need to undergo any training. One needs not to attend classes to acquire knowledge before commit into vocation.
5.2 Existence of regulatory body
There is regulatory body for the profession but not for the vocation. The regulatory body which is known as the professional body functions to promote, define, oversee, support and regulate the members of the bodies. This is required by the Company Act in Malaysia. Some of the examples of the professional bodies are ACCA, ICAEW, MICPA, CFA and CIMA. These bodies will set examination to those that interested to join the professional body to ensure the competence of the candidate. After that, they will be the one that provide licence to the candidate before he or she can be known as practicing profession. On the accounting perspective, one need to complete the degree and practise 3 years in the accounting firm before registered at the MIA (Malaysian Institute of Accountant). For those who pursue professional papers such as ACCA, MICPA, ICAEW and CFA, they need to pass all the papers before recognised as the member of the professional body. All this is not requiring for one that intends to practise vocation. There is no regulatory to monitor them and no mandatory requirement for one to sit for examination.
5.3 List of profession Basically, one that works as the occupation list mention below is practising profession instead of vocation. Such careers are accountants, actuaries, advocated, architects, archivists, audiologists, dentists, diplomats, doctors, economists, engineers, financial analysts, information and communications technology professionals, journalists, lawyers, military officers, neuroscientists, occupational therapists, optometrists, nurses, pharmacists, philosophers, physicians, pilots, professor, psychologists, scientists, social workers, software engineers, speech language pathologists, statisticians, surgeons, teachers, translators, interpreters and veterinarians.
5.4 Adherence to code of ethics and corporate governance
One that practise profession will need to adhere to code of ethics and corporate governance. On the other hand, one that practices vocation will not need to follow the codes. Code of ethics is drawn out as guidance to the profession to follow in order to safeguard the interest of the related parties. In this case, more uniformed actions will be taken by the professionals when facing similar situations. However, vocation is not bind to this codes and one has the freedom to do take necessary steps based on his or her own judgement. One need to declare that he or she is following the codes stated and any breach of it may cause serious damage. For instance, failure to comply with the code of ethics and corporate governance might causes the shareholder lost interest based on the profession’s conduct. This will causes the company unable to raise finance from the outsider.
5.5 Special skill
In order to practise vocation, one needs to have special skill or known as the gifted. There is no way to learn this special skill. This skill is always described as the gift from the god for each individual and it will be unique. One need not to train on the skill but it will come in handy as compare to the other persons. This skill will be used during the career. On the other hand, exercising profession is not using special skill but to trained skill. Therefore, one can choose what profession that he or she wants to involve in and make special effort to train on the skill. However, one cannot choose on the type of special skill required. Thus, there is some instance of flexibility element in profession but not on vacation as it is destined. A person can switch his or her profession as the principal point of reference is the preference, while the principal point of reference of vocation is the God’s will.
5.6 Autonomy
A person that practices profession will have autonomy. He or she will get to control over his or her own affairs. Profession get to enjoy higher status and prestige by the society and is deemed to be respected categories. This might due to the contributions of those that work as a profession in the society as their role is vital. Professional gets to have special power to control the area under his or her expertise or interest. However, this is not sees on those that practising vocation. The latter is those that tend to listen to the instruction and discharge their abilities based on the instructions by the profession. Besides that, society tends to appreciate the profession rather than the vocation.
5.7 Purpose
The purpose of one that works in the profession is for earning a living. However, those that involve in the vocation is more towards personal interest. The latter is more towards voluntary and may view as an optional in the daily life. Therefore, it can be conclude that profession is conducted on full time basic while vocation is part time basic and it is a small proportion of life. Vocation might be concluded when one need to unleash the talents and passion is involved. One will have flexibility on the vocation exercise and the principle of accountability to the other parties is not the dominant factor. There might be another instance when one was not employed in the golf industry, but he or she is very much interested in it, so the person can have it as vocation. It was noticed that people tend to be more satisfied and looking forward on their vocation rather than their profession.

6.0 CONCLUSION

7.0 REFERENCE

Faour, I., (2008). Professionalism & Ethics in Accounting Education. Journal of The Certified Accountant, 35, 82-85.
Schudson, M., (1974). On the Sense of Vocation. American Academy of Arts & Sciences, 103(4), 316-325.
Kaidonis, M., The Accounting Profession: Serving the Public Interest or Capital Interest?, Australasian Accounting Business and Finance Journal, 2(4), 2008.
Tourna, E., The Changing Nature of the Contemporary Accounting Profession. Journal of Faculty of Organization and Management, Sheffield Hallam Unniversity, 1-32.
Koumbiadis, N., Okpara,J., (2008). Ethics and Accounting Profession: An Exploratory Study of Accounting Students in Post Secondary Institutions. International Review of Business Research Papers, 4(5), p147-156.
Pierce, A., (2012). Ethics and the Professional Accounting Firm: A Literature Review. Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. Arthur, R., (2003, August). Accounting Professionalism – They Just Don’t Get It. Paper presented at the AAA Annual Meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii.
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/ethical-issues-facing-accounting-profession-18307.html…...

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...Professionalism: The Nursing Profession Villanova University- NUR 1102 Professionalism: The Nursing Profession Professionalism is a quality that is practiced on a daily basis by individuals in many adverse fields of employment. Atsede Fantahun (2014) said, “professionalism is defined as the conceptualization of obligations, attributes, interactions, attitudes, and role behaviors required of professionals in relationship to individual clients and to society as a whole” (p. 2). A professional is expected to display competent and skillful behaviors in relationship with their area of concentration. Nurses are required to bear a tremendous amount of responsibilities and are expected to uphold all values of the nursing profession. A serious nursing shortage is causing multiple issues in the nation’s health care system. Many experienced nurses are leaving the field and young people are not selecting nursing as a potential career. Because of this, reassessment of professionalism in nursing is recommended. The word professionalism has a multi-dimensional concept behind it. This means that there is a single basic interpretation, or any one way to assess it. Although it is multi-dimensional, it is possible to deliberate on by looking into the individual, inter-personal, and societal fractions. In nursing, professional practice is known to be a strong loyalty to compassion, caring and strong ethics, development of self and others, accountability......

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