The presentation focused on ethics in the business environment, specifically in the field of accounting. We focus so much on independence and have integrity in accounting, but it is something that is very important in all aspects of business. We were told that codes of conduct are living things. They need to change and develop as circumstances and situations change. The codes need to reflect the goals that they are trying to achieve. Independence is something we hear about very often. It is so important because when financial decisions are based on biased information it can lead to disaster.
We have seen many instances of this through out history, from Tulip Mania in 1636 to Enron and Madoff. And there are bound to be more in the future. Being independent in fact or mind is the ability to maintain objectivity regardless of relationships, intellectual honesty, and accessible only by the individual. Being independent in appearance is based on perceptions of users. It can be regulated and enforced. Being independent in appearance is dependent upon the definition and current professional practice.
There are many things that threaten independence such as self-interest, self-review, advocacy, familiarity, and intimidation. Safeguards created by the profession, legislation, or regulation helps take care of these things. I think that is very easy to say you will act independently. It’s actually doing it that is challenging. You may think that you are doing so, but in reality that bias could potentially be stuck in your head. If someone gets into a situation where they know the client and thinks they will act independently things could change when they find out what’s really going on with that client.
Integrity is also another very important quality to posses in the business environment. It is being straightforward, honest, truthful, fair dealing, and a refusal to be associated with misleading information. In a lot of the frauds we have looked at in class I think that this is a big part of what was missing. They had no integrity they did what they wanted to appear successful and wealthy, even though they were really just misleading customers and clients a lot of the time. Both independence and integrity are very important to the ethics of a business.
In my opinion they are two of the most important qualities a professional can have, not just in the accounting world but in all of business. I am interested in going into the recruiting and human resources side of business. What I have learned about ethics from this presentation and other accounting classes I believe will be relevant to me in that field as well. Human resources is a lot of dealing with people are their problems. To do this you must be independent and not biased against people. You must act with integrity and have all the same rules and standards apply to everyone.