n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - The ethical reasoning process of auditors in a client's confidential matters : a focus on Nigeria

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



The Code of professional conduct issued by Accountancy bodies prohibits Accountants / Auditors from breaching the rule of confidentiality. Auditors who are members of the accountancy profession in Nigeria are not allowed to disclose any confidential information concerning their clients without the due permission of the client. However, there are certain exceptions to the rule. Auditors may disclose information of his client without permission in response to a legitimately issued and enforceable subpoena. This study was conducted to investigate the reasoning process of auditors in Nigeria when faced with an ethical dilemma involving sensitive client information. The survey approach, involving three scenarios was used. The findings show that auditors usually adhere to the code of professional conduct in taking decisions. The study also shows that decisions taken in line with the code are not always in accord with good ethical reasoning. It is therefore recommended that the accountancy profession needs to emphasize the greatest 'good criterion' in drawing up codes of ethics for members.

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