oa Meditari : Research Journal of the School of Accounting Sciences - Factors affecting ethical judgement of South African chartered accountants
The start of the twenty-first century was marred by a spate of company collapses that involved fraudulent accounting activity. In many cases, company executives, many of whom belonged to the accounting profession, perpetrated the fraud. As a result, internationally, the accounting profession has suffered an enormous loss of goodwill, and its reputation as a profession with integrity has been severely harmed. Accounting professionals are no longer accorded the high regard they commanded in the past.
The consequences for the profession have been far-reaching: accounting now faces a long, uphill battle to restore its reputation and to regain the trust of the international business community.
This study replicates two famous international studies in the South African context. The focus of the study was to establish whether factors such as the Code of Professional Conduct of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), the corporate ethical environment and their age influence the ethical judgement of individual accountants. The first such study was conducted in the United States of America (USA), and it was followed by similar research in Turkey. The results of these two studies suggested very different factors that could influence accountants' ethical judgement. The study reported in this article investigated South African chartered accountants; and its results were similar to those obtained in the US study.
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