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Do virtues matter? Accounting ethics education in Hong Kong

Do virtues matter? Accounting ethics education in Hong Kong The purpose of this study is twofold: to investigate the correlation between the perception of respondent accountants (N = 164) on ethics elements and their demographic factors and to examine the gap between the expectations of employers (accountants) and the coverage of ethics in the education of professional accountants.Design/methodology/approachBoth qualitative and quantitative methods were used to collect the data. An analysis of the relevant documents (syllabi and codes of ethics) was conducted to generate and group appropriate items that represent ethics themes. This led to 17 themes such as integrity, conflict of interest, ethics theories and resolving ethical dilemma. Using inputs from the qualitative study and relevant literature, a questionnaire was framed for the quantitative phase of this study.FindingsWithin accounting ethics education, more emphasis and awareness is required on the themes of integrity, independence, corruption and insider trading. Four categories emerge for the ethics themes related to education in accounting: “Integrity to Accounting Profession”, “Regulatory Compliance”, “Practical Ethical Issues” and “Sense of Responsibility”. The results of this study reveal there are gaps between ethics education and accountants’ expectations. It is found that accountants perceive more virtue-related elements be put in accounting education.Practical implicationsThis study will make accounting educators, accountants and accounting professional associations to be more aware and work together to bridge this gap as well as contribute to a more effective ethics education for accountants in Hong Kong.Originality/valueEnd of education is character and not merely the acquisition of intellectual prowess. With Aristotle’s wisdom and the learnings from the many corporate scandals, it would be safe to conclude that education should result in nurturing hearts and character and not just the transfer of worldly knowledge. While there are many studies focusing on perceptions about ethics, ethics education of business students or academics, there are hardly any studies available on accounting professionals’ perceptions on ethics education, especially in Hong Kong. The authors found that accountants want more virtue-related ethics elements included in accounting education. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Ethics and Systems Emerald Publishing

Do virtues matter? Accounting ethics education in Hong Kong

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References (37)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2514-9369
eISSN
2514-9369
DOI
10.1108/ijoes-11-2021-0207
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this study is twofold: to investigate the correlation between the perception of respondent accountants (N = 164) on ethics elements and their demographic factors and to examine the gap between the expectations of employers (accountants) and the coverage of ethics in the education of professional accountants.Design/methodology/approachBoth qualitative and quantitative methods were used to collect the data. An analysis of the relevant documents (syllabi and codes of ethics) was conducted to generate and group appropriate items that represent ethics themes. This led to 17 themes such as integrity, conflict of interest, ethics theories and resolving ethical dilemma. Using inputs from the qualitative study and relevant literature, a questionnaire was framed for the quantitative phase of this study.FindingsWithin accounting ethics education, more emphasis and awareness is required on the themes of integrity, independence, corruption and insider trading. Four categories emerge for the ethics themes related to education in accounting: “Integrity to Accounting Profession”, “Regulatory Compliance”, “Practical Ethical Issues” and “Sense of Responsibility”. The results of this study reveal there are gaps between ethics education and accountants’ expectations. It is found that accountants perceive more virtue-related elements be put in accounting education.Practical implicationsThis study will make accounting educators, accountants and accounting professional associations to be more aware and work together to bridge this gap as well as contribute to a more effective ethics education for accountants in Hong Kong.Originality/valueEnd of education is character and not merely the acquisition of intellectual prowess. With Aristotle’s wisdom and the learnings from the many corporate scandals, it would be safe to conclude that education should result in nurturing hearts and character and not just the transfer of worldly knowledge. While there are many studies focusing on perceptions about ethics, ethics education of business students or academics, there are hardly any studies available on accounting professionals’ perceptions on ethics education, especially in Hong Kong. The authors found that accountants want more virtue-related ethics elements included in accounting education.

Journal

International Journal of Ethics and SystemsEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 31, 2023

Keywords: Ethics education; Virtues; Accounting; Practitioners; Hong Kong

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