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Executive Summary of Ethical Behavior and Decision Making
Ethics are the moral principles that are designed in such a way that it acts as a guide of an individual behavior. Moral values are influenced by social, cultural and religious practices followed. It provides a base to the judgment what is worn and right.
Ethics are important for human life. It is method through which decision for action is taken, without which the action is without any objective. There are many factors which play an important role in the success of an organization. For long term continuity of the business organization has to follow all the ethical standards set by the authorities who are licensed otherwise the goal won’t be achieved and organization will have to face many difficulties if not compliant with those standards. It builds a strong bond. It is a measure which directs people how to behave towards each other, understand and fulfill their duties towards society and live their lives. So, moral management should have ethical leadership. Management should be adopting problem solving measures in order to avoid any unethical circumstances, as the unethical decisions might affect the financials and stakeholders’ interest.
Part A: Applying the Theories of Ethics
Business ethics are used to describe the application of ethical values towards business activities. Ethics covers all aspects of moral behavior and is important for the action of individual, group and organizations. These are professional ethics. Professional ethics need to be followed by all professionals of an organization who have specialized knowledge and skills while delivering the services to customers or public. In the given case Fiona wills’ as a chartered accountant of the firm Caldwell, Burns and Burns Public accountants must take the highest level of honest decision and follow the integrity in the record keeping and in the preparation of financial statements. So, the ethical standard which are set by the authorized body and licensing authorities need to be followed.
Theory of Egoism
Egoism is concerned with mainly a person need to perform some actions and while performing the action an individual increases his or her self-interest (Salmieri, 2016). A person is performing that action for self-interest only. So, as per ethical egoism theory an individual need to kept aside his or her self interest and work on the principle of benefit to the maximum people, for that person need to make sacrifices of self-interest.
As mentioned in the above case Fiona Willis’ has to keep aside the self- interest and has to follow the ethical standards which work on the principle of benefit to the maximum and following the guidelines issued by the licensing authorities (Lamb, 2020). She should work with honesty and follow the integrity of the organization. In case she faces issues the she needs to opt for problem solving techniques to provide information useful in evaluating alternatives.
Theory of Deontology
This theory is that kind of theory for which choices are morally required, forbidden or permitted. These are the moral theories that guide and make assessment of alternatives for what an individual is what he or she needs to be. It works on the principle of belief, risk and cause.
In the case of Fiona Willis’ had worked with the wrong approach adopted by him during the presentation of report, due to which it had caused risk to the organisation reporting got incorrect. She could have maintained the scorekeeping record so that the results of various actions are realized or not (Heinzelmann, 2018). So, she could have found out the cause of decision taken by the higher management of the organisation and in case of discrepancies might had discussed the same and find out the correct solution which will benefit many by adopting the ethical standards. She might have done the reconciliation and competitive analysis of the report before arriving at any solution.
Theory of Utilitarianism
This theory is one of the best theories and most effective moral theories. As per this theory the main purpose is to make life the things better by increasing the positive approach and excluding the negative approach. It mainly focuses on individual action as it affects the organisation goal (Zimányi & Geczi, 2018). As per the case discussed of Fiona Willis’ it needs the action of an individual as chartered accountant of the organisation effects the financials and it’s reporting. If individual conflict of interest is there he or she needs to work as per the standards of ethics set by adopting the positive approach. The approach neglects the moral codes that commands given by the leaders. By applying this theory Fiona Willis’ have the right to discuss the drawbacks and impact of the decision made in the past impacted the result when Fiona Willis’ took over the assignment (de Lazari-Radek & Singer, 2017). She might have adopted the measures according to the specialization that she had and made the changes by convincing the higher authorities that how it impacts financial if ethics is not followed and it will impact many stakeholder at large due to a single wrong decision which is taken in favor of the organisation.
As per the case Caldwell was feeling uneasy about his own behaviour due to increased demand from Marshall’s end, due to which he adopted wrong methodology by overruling accountant which should not been adopted by Caldwell for the same as it impacted the performance of accountants due to pressure from Caldwell end. Caldwell might have denied politely for manipulation and followed the ethical way of doing the business and might have presented some control measures that will affect the organization performance and effected the organization goals in a right manner. Alex Caldwell could have adopted some preventive control measures and follow the conduct and ethics of the business by segregating right and wrong measures.
Alex Caldwell and Fiona wills could have worked on the basis of the seven principles of public life:
Unbiased behavior- Professionals has to work on the principle of public interest. The decision made by them need to be unbiased and should not be in the interest of an individual it should benefit to the internal as well as the external users of an organization. The code of conduct needs to be followed in arriving at unbiased results. In case there lies conflict of interest than the accountant should inform its employer regarding any kind of business or political connection as per the professional ethics.
Integrity- The holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any restriction imposed to people working under them as it influences them in their work. They should not take decision for any kind of financial or material benefits. The decision should not be such that it effect the reputation of the organization. The integrity needs to be followed by the professional.
Evidence – The holders of public offices should work on best evidence and without any partiality and self-interest. The maintaining of evidence will work as a guidance to maintain the integrity and act as a proof of any decision made is on the basis of guidelines issued and the organization followed the code of ethics.
Accountability- They are accountable to public for any decision made by them impacts the public interest. The internal and external users are dependent on the decision of the organization, so the accountant needs to take decisions by following the code of ethics as they are accountable to the stakeholders.
Transparency- The decision needs to be taken in transparent manner nothing should be hidden. In case any information is hidden then it leads to misstatement and misleading the stakeholders and internal users of the organization as they are dependent on the transparency of the relevant information disclosed by the professionals.
Leadership- They should exhibit the above discussed principles in their own behavior, Honesty.
Part B: Ethical Decision-Making Model
Identification of Issues
Need to identify the issues is very important to have an ethical decision making. Information has to be gathered and clarity needs to be taken on the important measures. Making the structure and eliminating the wrong assumptions and adopting right measures. Another aspect that is covered in this model is what measures are being adopted and what are not and making Judgment of the problem from several perspectives and avoiding simple solutions (Schwartz, 2016).
Issues identification is very necessary for Caldwell for making decision and arriving to the conclusion. For that he needs to gather information from Marshall and had taken important measures to avoid manipulation and pressure from Marshall end.
Applied theory of ACA code
After the issues have been identified refer the code of ethics -ACA see whether issue is mentioned there. If issues are mentioned then adopting those measured for accurate solution to the problem. It is very essential careful reading is required for that purpose. Any kind of confusion will be resolved.
When the issues were identified by Caldwell, he might have referred the code of ethics to take a structured decision with evidences. He could have referred the code of ethics by ACA and check whether issues were mentioned there in the list or not. If issues that he was facing he can overcome those challenges by referring to those guidelines as issues and had arrived at nice solution to the problem.
The problem needs to be seen from every perspective. Make the decision which principle needs to be adopted to take the particular action. Use the most current professional decision-making theories to get the updated resolution and an effective decision (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2020). Consultation with experienced professional is also required to come to the conclusion. And consultation with the country and state level professionals as they are trained on it
Caldwell could have consulted country and state level professionals for the issues he was facing.
Need to be creative while making any decision and coming to the resolution. Brainstorming conclusion need to be taken.
The information that has been gathered for that priorities need to be set. Evaluation is required for all alternative solution that effects the decision making of the stakeholders and internal users (Li et al., 2018). Those option need not to be take care of those don’t provide any kind of result. Caldwell could have set the priority as per the nature of the task in order to achieve the set goal. As evaluation is required for all alternatives solution that effect the decision making of the stakeholders and internal users.
Review of the action is required. Evaluation need to be done in an appropriate manner by adopting fair practice. The perspective should be given importance individual perspective and organisation and external users who are impacted by the particular decision.
The implementation is all about action of a plan. It is very necessary to know whether the action taken has positive consequences on the result and benefited in large.
Part C: Using APES 110
The code requires the member to follow the fundamental principles. The conceptual framework needs to be followed to identify, evaluate and threats to compliance with fundamental principles. It is established by the profession, legislation to evaluate the threat in an organisation decision is at acceptable level or not. The framework is independent audit performance and in addressing the threats (Accounting professional and Ethical Standards Board, 2020). To follow the code understanding and knowledge plays a very important role. All the relevant provisions of a particular section need to be known along with additional material.
The entire requirement needs to be read and then applied. Code imposes obligation on member. The word may be used take permissions to a particular action and the word might denote the possibility of matter arising in a particular decision (Lee, 2018). Application material is for application of the conceptual framework to a particular set of circumstances and to comply with the requirement.
So as per the above discussion conclusion has been derived that the while preparing cost / financial reports the opinion needs to be unbiased. So, as per the standards the disclosure of any confidential information related to the organization or client need to be done only in case of any evidence need to be presented in case of any legal requirement. As per the professional ethics accountants has to inform his or her employer in case of any business connections which need to be informed. There should not be any kind of bargain or any kind of bribe charged from client. The professional need to take all the measures to get the consultation from licensing authority. He or she should not attempt to gain over the members by accepting a commission in securing management work. Undertake only those work for he or she is capable to perform as per the skills the person possesses and area of expertise. All the material facts need to be disclosed in so that financial information presented may not lead to misguidance or any kind misstatement. The report needs to be presented as per the generally accepted accounting principles.
The design of management accounting system has to take into consideration the needs of decision of managers. There need to be complete visualization of business in which the usefulness is added to the services provided by an organization. It takes them into consideration the new code which consist of the challenges faced by the managers. Every action of the organization results in profitability. Cost, quality, time and innovation plays a very important role in success of an organization. A strategic framework for analysis of competitive advantage need to be adopted for the performance.
Business ethics is important to follow good ethical behavior. So, moral management should have ethical leadership. Management should be adopting problem solving measures in order to avoid any unethical circumstances, as the unethical decisions might affect the financials and stakeholders’ interest.
Running a business in an ethical manner brings a strong bonding between the management and its team. Employees make better decisions in short period of time this increases productivity and effects the performance of the employees. The decision made on the basis of integrity and honesty results in the benefit of the whole organization. Consistence ethical behaviour comes with the approach of increased public image. To maintain a positive approach business should work on the ethical foundation and adopt fair market practices will attract more investors.
Accounting professional and Ethical Standards Board, (2020). Code of Ethics APES 110, retrieved on 7 September 2020, from: https://apesb.org.au/apes-110-code-of-ethics-1/
de Lazari-Radek, K., & Singer, P. (2017). Utilitarianism: a very short introduction. Oxford University Press.
Lamb, M. (2020). Reconciling Flourishing Egoism with Common Morality.
Lee, M. K. (2018). Understanding perception of algorithmic decisions: Fairness, trust, and emotion in response to algorithmic management. Big Data & Society, 5(1), 2053951718756684.
Li, H., Zhang, X., Ng, S. T., & Skitmore, M. (2018). Quantifying stakeholder influence in decision/evaluations relating to sustainable construction in China–A Delphi approach. Journal of cleaner production, 173, 160-170.
Salmieri, G. (2016). Egoism and Altruism. A Companion to Ayn Rand, 130-156.
Schwartz, M. S. (2016). Ethical decision-making theory: An integrated approach. Journal of Business Ethics, 139(4), 755-776.
Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, (2020). Egoism, substantive revision, retrieved on 7 September 2020, from: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/egoism/
Zimányi, R. G., & Geczi, G. (2018). Justice at Sport Clubs According to the Theory of Utilitarianism and Libertarianism. Physical Culture and Sport. Studies and Research, 77(1), 55-60.