Accounting and ethics: the case of selected accountants in the Kumasi Metropolis

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A lot of concerns have been expressed about unethical decisions and actions of accountants. These have been fuelled by the unravelling of serious accounting malpractices in the business world in recent times which have led to the collapse of many a big business. Since the discovery of these unethical phenomena, the question that has been in the inquiring mind has been whether professional accounting codes of ethics are potent enough to make the accountant ethical. The expectations of stakeholders in businesses and the general public have been mainly the introduction of stiffer measures against culprits. This research studies the causes of accounting malpractices whether or not there are effective codes of accounting ethics, and to suggest measures to be put in place to at least mitigate the situation in organisations. The study centred on accountants in the Kumasi metropolis, specifically at the central business district (Adum) and its immediate surroundings. To achieve the research objectives, primary data were collected for analysis through questionnaires, interviews and discussions. Others were from the internet and literature sources such as books, journals, newspapers, published conference proceedings, etc. Cross-tabulation, cluster analysis and factor analysis were employed to analyse the interview data whiles simple frequency was used to analyse data from interviews and discussions. The study revealed that the causes of accounting malpractices in our area of research have to do with (1) lack of adequate training in business and accounting ethics, and (2) inadequate formulation, promulgation and implementation of ethical and welfare policies and procedures.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Business, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy, 2009