The good accountant

The good accountant

Fri, 15 Jul 2016 10:48:00 BST

Professor Chris Cowton, Dean of the Business School and founding Director of FEGReG, gave a keynote presentation on virtue ethics and accounting at the ASEPUC Congress held at the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain on Friday 17th June.

The mixed academic and professional audience heard Professor Cowton explain how virtue ethics could usefully complement other perspectives on ethics. He set out how a "first approximation" of the "good accountant" could be derived from the five fundamental principles contained in the IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. IESBA is the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, established by the IFAC (the International Federation of Accountants), and the code has been adopted in more than 100 countries worldwide.

According to Chris' analysis, grounded in the profession’s own language, the good (or virtuous) accountant might be viewed as: straightforward, honest and truthful; objective, sceptical and independent; competent and diligent; discreet; and upright

In other words the 'virtuous accountant' embodies or personifies ethical accounting principles. Such a conception opens up new ways of reflecting on accounting ethics, including self-reflection and self-development.


The paper, Virtue theory and accounting, expands on these ideas.



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