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Building ethical capability for accounting professionals: a needs analysis study

Accounting profession Business ethics Financial services industry Governance Training Australia

This report presents findings from the first study that empirically examines the ethical capability needs of accounting professionals in Australia. The analysis is based on questionnaires and face-to-face semi-structured interviews conducted with accountants from public practice as well as a range of industries. We provide an overview of the challenges that accountants face while conducting their duties, and propose a set of recommendations to help in designing training programs that can potentially enhance accountants’ capabilities in dealing with ethical issues.

Our data analysis identifies misleading or inaccurate reporting, lack of transparency in accounting decisions and breaches of confidentiality as the main ethical issues accounting professionals are confronted with. Furthermore, it summarises the types of support expected by accountants from their professional bodies, employing organisations, regulators and government.

Based on this evidence, the report makes policy recommendations concerning: systemic solutions; openness and transparency in inter-stakeholder communications; peer support; participation and empowerment; service enhancement; and ethical capability building program design.

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