Application of Deontology Ethics Theory in Accounting

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Deontology “defines right actions act in accord with in terms of whether individuals just set of principles that regulates their conduct” (Moore, 2014, p. 472). In the Bible, Luke states “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:31, ESV). This the same belief of deontology. Deontology calls individuals and professionals to duty. Christians are called to duty by God. Deontology focuses on the rights an individual has and why does a person behave the way they do. Deontologist think about the rules and that individuals have a duty to do the right thing at all times. A deontological ethics system follows the professional norms and values set out by an organization. Deontologist believe that the shared values of any group constitute the norms in which the group operates.

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“Deontologist think rationally when facing moral dilemmas instead being grounded in their moral reasoning when facing moral dilemmas” (Meyers, 2015, p. 468). By thinking rationally deontologist are able to think about the right way to handle the circumstance where there are no ethical rules are broken. The result of rule is calculated within the set of rules or principals. Am I treating the circumstance fairly and which objectively to everyone involved?

Accounting Profession Ethical System

The individual has an obligation to the organization to follow the organizational culture. Individuals are representatives of the organization in which he or she works for. Personal beliefs can cause conflicts in a professional setting. Conflicts arise if the individual’s beliefs do not match the professional organizations culture. An individual’s personal beliefs should be keep out making professional decisions and judgements. Individual can make professional decisions and judgements based on the organizations rules and regulations.

Accounting professionals are required to make ethical decisions and judgements based on the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct is the framework for ethical decision making. “The ethical decision-making framework is to provide the tools needed to identify and think through ethical issues” (Martinov-Bennie & Mladenovic, 2015, p. 192). The AICPA Code of Professional Conduct gives governance and guidance to Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) on how to serve the public interest.

The ethical system of utilitarianism believes in no moral authority, the end result justifies the act, individuals are to be individualist, and moral authority is up to the individual themselves. Does this sound like what AICPA calls accounting professionals to adhere to? The answer is no. The accounting profession is based on absolutes, even though accounting theories change over time, the rules and standards stay the same. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) along with the AICPA gives governance and guidance on how CPAs are to serve the public not individual business owners or shareholders.

There are six principles that the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct list that every accounting professional should adhere to. The deontological view in the accounting profession is the system most supported by the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. Deontology is based on the holistic application perspective. The holistic application perspective focus on the whole instead of the individual. The public interest principle “calls for members of the profession to “act in a way that will serve the public interest, honor the public trust and demonstrate a commitment to professionalism” (AICPA, 2016, p. 5). Accounting professionals are called to duty to protect the public from fraud and or incorrect financial reporting. God showed public interest by allowing Jesus to die on the cross for the sin of the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV).

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