Timely and reliable accounting information is essential. Not only firms themselves but the markets they serve, and particularly the investment community, depend on it. Accounting data and their interpretation must be above suspicion, says Riahi-Belkaoui, and to be sure of that, corporations and other users of accounting information must be certain that accountants subscribe to and practice morality set to high standards. What these standards are, and how they are deficient, distorted, and sometimes even fallacious, are the themes explored here. In doing so, Riahi-Belkaoui's book leads readers through the complexities of what the author identifies as the five aspects of accounting morality: fairness, ethics, honesty, social responsibility, and truth.
Riahi-Belkaoui begins with a discussion of fairness as a concept of justice, illustrated by the intellectual contributions of Rawls, Nozick, and Gerwith. From there he moves to ethics in accounting, and a review of such ethical perspectives as the utilitarian, the deontological, and the notion of fittingness. He also takes up the subject of ethical codes, and asks how do we discipline the accounting profession; then, how do we teach and research accounting ethics? Chapter 3 treats a variety of ethical issues and several key cases, among them the ESM Government Securities Case, the Drysdale Affair, and the Wedtech and Penn Square cases. In Chapter 4 Riahi-Belkaoui turns to honesty in the accounting environment and to discussions of the nature and framework of fraud, including what he calls outcome situations arising from corporate fraud. Chapter 5 explores the relationship between accounting and social responsibility, and makes clear that there is a need for an effective paradigm to define and help implement a socially responsible accounting. Finally, in Chapter 6 he comes to grips with the problem of truth in accountingfirst, the notion of truth, then the impossibilities as well as the possibilities of attaining it. Morality in Accounting will be of special value to the producers and users of accounting, and to graduate and undergraduate students of the accounting discipline.
About the Author
AHMED RIAHI-BELKAOUI is Professor of Accounting at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the author of several accounting texts and more than 20 professional and scholarly books, mostly for Quorum, including Multinational Financial Accounting (1991), Cost Accounting: Theory and Practice (1991), and Judgment in International Accounting (1990).
Table of Contents
Fairness as a Concept of Justice in Accounting
Appendix 1.A: The Legitimate Concern with Fairness: A Comment
Ethics in Accounting
Appendix 2.A: Ethics Committees and Consultants in Public Accounting Firms?
Examples of Ethical Issues and Cases
Appendix 3.A: Accountants and "Insider Trading"
Honesty in the Accounting Environment
Accounting and Social Responsibility
Truth in Accounting