What Are the Ethical Responsibilities in Accounting that Everyone Should Know?

An accountant is one of the most important employees in a company. They will be the ones that will help the chief financial officer as they will crunch the numbers and create financial statements for them to report to the CEO.

That being said, accountants are usually bound by the rules that are set by the organization they work in, as well as following some professional standards that were set by the accounting industry, in general.

Because of the wealth of information that accountants can get their hands on, it is important that every accountant should always uphold ethical standards and responsibility at all times. That is why if you are going to look for accounting services in Malaysia, you should definitely know about the accountant’s ethical responsibilities.

Today, I am going to talk about these ethical responsibilities so that you will know.

Clients

When accountants deal with their clients, any information that they can obtain about them should remain confidential at all times. Anyone who is caught spreading sensitive information to unauthorized individuals is going to be at a huge disadvantage.

The only time that it is okay to divulge information would be if they are summoned and ordered to do so by a court of law.

Shareholders

Even if the accountant is bound by the rules that are set by the companies they work in, it is still important that they become objective in everything that they do. Since they are going to be the ones responsible for writing the organization’s financial statements, the information that is written there should always be truthful and unbiased at all times. This is especially true if they conduct internal audits.

Accountants should have independence in the sense that they do not have any vested or financial interest in the client and company they work in, which also implies that the accountant is able to conduct internal audits in an objective and unbiased manner.

Firm

All accountants will always have ethical obligations, especially when it comes to the firm they work for. Their task would be to record and document information that has been completed and nothing else. This means that ‘ghost ticking’- or auditing procedures that have not been completed in an objective way- is strictly prohibited as it is deemed as ethically wrong. If found guilty, accountants in question may put their reputation and the firm they work at risk.

In some cases, accountants and auditors are required to render a minimum number of hours and may feel pressured to meet these strict requirements by recording fewer number of hours than they have actually rendered. This is known as “Eating Time” and is a highly prohibited practice in every accounting firm.

This phenomenon is akin to falsifying documents and anyone who does this would have their ethics questioned.

Company

Accountants may know a lot of information long before anyone in the company does. For instance, Revenue accountants may have knowledge of new acquisitions before any other employee does.

Payroll accountants may get a hold of the information sheet that tells them exactly how much is earning, among others.

Therefore, accountants should always remember that they are bound not only by the rules that are set by the organization they work in, but they are also held responsible for their ethical obligations as well.