Ethics in the accounting profession in the opinion of 'finance and accounting' students at the University of Gdansk

Arleta Szadziewska , Jarosław Kujawski


The scandals emergent at the beginning of the 21st century, associated with fabrication of the information contained in the financial statements, have jeopardised the social confidence in accounting and financial specialists. They began to be perceived not as responsible and law-abiding professionals, but as dishonest and greedy people, susceptible to fraudulent behaviour. Consequently, in order to rebuild the flawed image of the accounting and finance specialists, professional accounting bodies not only published the codes of ethics that are binding in this profession, but also began to enforce the knowledge of the principles contained within the codes, as a prerequisite for obtaining the qualifications offered by these organizations. In this context, vital importance has been attached to answering the following issue-raising questions: a) whether it is it important for the accounting and finance specialists to follow the ethical principles, b) whether it is permissible to violate the ethical principles by the persons working at such positions, c) will teaching ethics influence the ethical behaviour of the future accounting and finance specialists. The paper presents the outcomes of a survey study constituting a part of a research project called “Ethics in the Accounting Profession”. The study was carried out on a group of 146 students studying full-time MSc, part-time BA and post-graduate (post MSc) accounting programs at the Faculty of Management of the Gdansk University, who link their prospective professional careers with the field of finance and accounting. The questionnaire was composed of 28 questions, grouped into three sections concerning: the personal data of the interviewed, the ethical issues involving accounting specialists, and the ethical problems associated with tax avoidance. The results obtained revealed that as many as 91.1% of the surveyed students (133 respondents) consider ethics an important feature in the accounting profession. Moreover, more than 70% of them underline the necessity to follow the rules of professional ethics, even at the expense of a possible loss of employment. This proves that the persons employed as accounting specialists are perceived as honest, responsible and law-abiding. The research provides information on the perception of the importance of ethics in the accounting and finance profession, as viewed by the persons intending to work in this profession. Another important aspect of the research was to determine whether the inclusion of ethics in the teaching curricula contributes to raising the students' awareness of the ethical dilemmas that arise in business practice.
Author Arleta Szadziewska (FM/DA/FAU)
Arleta Szadziewska,,
- Financial Accounting Unit
, Jarosław Kujawski (FM/DA/MAU)
Jarosław Kujawski,,
- Management Accounting Unit
Publication size in sheets0.90
Book Chova L. Gómez, López Martínez A., Torres I. Candel (eds.): ICERI2018 Conference Proceedings: 11th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation, Seville (Spain), 12-14 November 2018, ICERI Proceedings, 2018, IATED Academy, ISBN 978-84-09-05948-5
Keywords in Englishethical principles, accounting profession, students, University of Gdansk, Poland
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)15
Score sourceconferenceIndex
ScoreMinisterial score = 15.0, 28-01-2020, ChapterFromConference
Publication indicators WoS Citations = 0.000
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