Hello in this presentation we will discuss ethics and profession objectives, we will be able to at the end of this define profession define ethics as it relates to accounting. Explain the factors that increase the likelihood of fraud, describe internal controls profession, the definition of a profession, a profession is a calling or requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation. When thinking about profession, we often think about a doctor or a lawyer being two of the primary professions that we first think of. And when we consider those professions, we note that the major component of those professions are that they’re providing a service and a service which most people do not have intimate knowledge about.
In other words, if we were to go to the doctor for example, if and had a problem and then Doctor was to give us some information, some advice, we would not have the information ourselves to be able to verify that advice very readily. It would take a lot of research in order for us to really understand the the prescriptions that are given to us. Now in today’s society with Google and all these other resources out there, it is possible for an individual more often to check in on the information. But to really understand a profession, we would really have to do a lot more research than any normal individual could do in order to really verify the advice being given to them by the professional, in this case, the doctor. Therefore, the doctor really has an uneven amount of knowledge when considering a transaction.
When we consider transactions from an economic standpoint, we typically think of a free market being an ideal situation when the individuals involved in the market in this case, the doctor selling They’re services and the individual consuming the services are having an equal amount of knowledge we’re assuming many times within a transaction, that there’s some equality in terms of the knowledge and therefore, the price can be given to ideally through the market through negotiation within the market.
When we’re dealing with professions, however, we have this this unequality in terms of the knowledge, and therefore there’s more responsibility many times in terms of the profession, to be honest within the profession, and there’s more likelihood or more ability for a fraud, fraudulent type of transactions to take place, when there’s unequal knowledge, and therefore, the profession needs some type, oftentimes of regulation in order to really keep the profession in a position where the people acting within the profession can have the trust from the society. In order to do the work that they do, because if they don’t have the trust from people within the society, they could be the best doctor the best lawyer out there. But they won’t be able to practice and do what they could do for their individuals for their clients, unless the clients are willing to, to trust what what the doctor and lawyers have to say, therefore, the idea of the profession because of this uneven knowledge really comes down to the concept of trust.
We need these trusts within the profession in a way that we don’t need them. In many other types of profession. For example, if we went to the grocery store and were to buy groceries, we can quickly assess fairly readily whether or not they’re still in fresh fruit or something like that. And we can we can, the transactions are usually not large enough, in that we’re going to have many different transactions that we can then switch stores after first go into a store and we can shop around. When considering a profession. However, we’re typically dealing with things that might be fewer transactions. And we might have more on the line when we’re considering something in terms of a doctor’s decision, or in terms of a legal decision. And therefore we don’t have that the same kind of opportunity, we don’t, that we would have in some other kind of transactions.
Therefore, the concept of trust is going to be a lot more important in the profession. Trust is going to be important in any business, of course, but within a profession, it’s going to be really important because the people that are dealing with the professional need to basically be able to trust the professional and the professional. The profession itself then benefits from trust, not just the individuals within the profession, but the whole profession will benefit from a greater trust. And we can see that from examples. We’ve seen this in past history movies are always playing types of examples where a lawyer or a doctor are basically scamming individuals.
In that case, you can imagine a situation where someone claims claiming to have medical knowledge goes to a small town and sells sells tonics that are claiming to cure everything that that can be out there with, with the tonic and whatnot and then moving to another town before anybody knows that the tonic doesn’t doesn’t do anything we those type of ideas are things that have happened in the past and things that are often portrayed in movies. Now, when that happens, however, note what’s really going on is that the person claiming to have medical knowledge is in essence claiming to be a professional in the medical field, and therefore they’re making money off of the brand name of a profession. They’re basically saying, I’m this kind of kind of doctor, I’m this kind of professional. And therefore you should trust what I am saying and purchase this thing from me in which will cure your problems.
And if that if that does not happen, then that person may profit and may leave, but the next person that goes into town that may really actually have some understanding. has a lot less likelihood and less ability to help the people with actual knowledge and actual cures. After that type of situation has happened. So the level of trust will go down, if certain individuals that claim to be within in a profession are making money off of bringing down the brand name of the profession, in essence, they’re making off of money off of selling the goodwill, of the brand name of the profession. Therefore, the profession itself typically has incentive has a lot of incentive in order to self regulate.
So these types of areas, we can see it happening Of course, in the medical profession, we see it happening in the legal profession, that those two professions are going to get together and start to format institutions that will help to self regulate the profession in the hopes that more people can be helped by the profession by including or increasing the brand of the profession, increasing the And then of the people that are involved in that profession. Now, of course, the legal profession came came about a bit later on from the law. And the now of course, the legal profession came about a bit later on from the elite. Now, of course, the accounting profession came a bit later on from the legal profession and the medical profession, because there became a much more need for accountants to have much more specialized knowledge as business became more complex.
As businesses grow as businesses get larger, as specialization and more regulations are involved in different areas of the business, in terms of payroll areas and other regulations in terms of, you know, audits and all this kind of stuff that are increasing the complication within the accounting field, that leads to more specialization that will be needed within the accounting field. And this a lot of this happened when the concept of incorporating took place when The idea of having a separate legal entity in terms of a corporation was put into place, then of course, a lot of things got more complicated in terms of how are we going to regulate that separate corporations and a lot of different information is needed from those financial standpoints. And therefore the the concept of the need for within a society, the accountants to self regulate to have some form of regulation in order to build trust within an area so that people can then take the certain use services in terms of accounting in order to help generate value within a community.
And of course, that happens in terms of the normal accounting profession. And now of course, subcategories within the accounting profession. So we have people working, specifically in audit, we have people working specifically in payroll, and many different other areas which in essence, are going to be areas specific or branches off of accounting. The accounting profession as a whole ethics definition Merriam Webster, xx, ethics, plural and form but singular or plural in construction, the discipline dealing with what is good and bad, and with moral duty and obligation or ethics definition, there’s going to be a ton of definitions to ethics, I’m just going to pull a few of them just to give an example of the definitions of ethics and then discuss a bit about these definitions and how they relate to ethics as they are related to the profession of ethics, ethics, plural and form but singular or plural in construction, the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.
A set of moral principles a theory or system or moral values that present day materialistic ethic, on old fashioned work ethic, often used in plural but singular or plural in construction on elaborate ethics. Christian ethics, ethics, plural and form but singular and plural and construction, the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group of professional ethics, a guiding philosophy, a consensus of moral importance, forge a conservative ethic. So notice that ethics is gonna have a lot of different things or a lot of different definitions that can be applied to ethics. ethics, of course, is something that has been studied for a very long time and it’s still going to be studied for basically ever in terms of what is ethics and what types of ethics what things are ethical or not.
And in terms of the profession, then what we need to do is narrow down this discussion, we need to narrow down the discussion of total ethics and at least apply it to or specify it in the form of ethics as it relates to profession and more specifically as it relates to the Counting profession when considering ethics as it relates to the accounting profession, we can think of narrowing it down in some kind of a utilitarian type of concept, in that when we’re dealing with ethics of a profession, we typically want people to act within the profession in a way that would be beneficial for the profession as a whole. So if we take our example that we were looking at, in terms of somebody selling a medical, some type of medicine that doesn’t work in order to basically scam individuals claiming to be a professional within the medical profession, that then may benefit that individual and in terms of profits, however, it would be harmful to of course, the profession as a whole that profession as a whole would have problems. And therefore, one way to consider this and one one idea of ethics in general, this utilitarian kind of concept would be good for the for the group as a whole.
What would Be good if all people within the group in this case that group been the professionals, which would lead to something that would be good for basically everybody within the group, meaning things that would be beneficial to the brand name of the people within the group those would typically be one kind of way that we may consider how ethics might be considered within the profession within a profession or basically any type of profession. Another idea that will be within the profession is how are we going to basically regulate how should professions be regulated? We know that the accounting profession we generally have these generally accepted accounting principles gap. We know that there’s going to be federal regulations in many different areas in terms of the Securities and Exchange Commission often has regulations over the financial activities.
Note that however, the Securities and Exchange often delegates a lot of that authority from the federal standpoint in terms of the Securities and Exchange Change to private to the private sector in terms of the people within the profession, meaning people within the profession have that incentive to self regulate. And it’s often beneficial to allow that to happen. So although we have the Securities and Exchange Commission here, which is going to be a federal regulation, we also have the Financial Accounting Standards Board The faz B, which is often represented or responsible for issuing the actual regulatory faz B regulations. And the faz B then is actually not a government agency, but a private organization.
And that’s this idea that the private organization has that incentive to self regulate. And it’s usually a good idea to incentivize or put in place that structure for the self regulation, because the people within the profession, having that bad incentive to self regulate generally, are better at putting together the policies in order to To set up that that self regulation within a profession, fraud is going to be another component of ethics within an accounting profession, something that we’re always going to be concerned about within the accounting profession. Fraud has to do with intention. So when we’re thinking about something that happened, we’re usually saying, Well, something, something happened, was it fraudulent, that usually means that something happened with intent for it to happen. And so this happens all the all through the legal code.
And it seems obvious, but when you consider the outcomes, it may not seem as obvious as it looks in first glance, meaning, for example, if somebody hit somebody or somebody got hit by a car, then if someone died from being hit by a car, then we would ask the question if the driver of the car accidentally ran into somebody, or did they do it on purpose. And the interesting thing here is, of course, the outcome is the same someone had died from being hit by a car and someone of course was driving the car. And therefore you would think that the consequences would then be the same. But they’re typically not we’re typically going to say if it was an intentional thing, then that’s premeditated kind of murder, possibly. And if it was unintentional, maybe it would be like manslaughter, two things that have vastly different outcomes in terms of what the code is going to say.
So intention is different from outcome in terms of the legal code. And so fraud will have that intention. Of course, from a financial standpoint, in terms of accounting, we’re talking about things typically that would have happened would be theft within within an organization or fraudulently reporting the financial statements in order to make them look better for the stockholders for the for the stockholders, or in order to get bonuses or whatnot. In terms of management, those would be the type of things that could take place in terms of fraud internally. And again, the question is, well, did this happen? I mean, was there an error in the past Financial Statements intentionally? Or was there? Was it just an error? Was it an intentional misrepresentation of the financial statements or intentional? Or was it just an error, not always an easy thing to to prove intention, of course, but something that that is going to be the component of fraud. Now, when we’re considering the organization, there are what we call the fraud factors. And these are going to be components.
There are what we call fraud factors. And these are going to be those components that are going to contribute to fraud when we ask somebody, if we were to ask them, How How can a company prevent fraud from happening within within the organization? First, they might say, hey, fraud typically happens from employees is the most common fraudulent cases and theft and whatnot that will take place is actually the employees and therefore we would want to hire make sure we hire ethical employees, employees that want to commit fraud and while that is one component, that is very important to reducing fraud. It’s really not the only component to reducing the fraud because even ethical people that are in an environment that is not ethical will still have problem the likelihood of fraud happening is still going to be high for one and for two, it’s difficult to know exactly the you know, in an interview process, exactly what type of individuals we are, we are putting in place and therefore, although we want to have a good interview process, we also want to have the environment in such a way that it reduces what we would call the fraud factors.
And fraud factors include opportunity, pressure and rationalization. So these are the kind of the components that have been studied as in terms of what is there when fraud happens, what are the components that are usually present, in terms of those cases where fraud has taken place? One is going to be of course opportunity, meaning if somebody thinks that they can commit fraud such as finance A fraud such as theft, then and they don’t think they are going to be caught for that theft, then the likelihood of it happening would go up. The second would be pressure. And that would seem obvious if there’s financial pressure. In particular, when we’re talking about financial fraud, then if there’s if there’s a financial problem, then the likelihood of fraud goes up. And the third is an interesting one. And that’s going to be rationalization. And rationalization is important because we typically think that we actually think about what we’re going to do, and then we do it.
And that’s usually that might be the case when we make big decisions. But most of the decisions we make, we actually tend to make the decision kind of intuitively. And then our brains are really good at rationalizing what we actually did what the what the actions that we’re taking, and therefore that rationalization process will actually lead to oftentimes a fraud that will at least continue once it starts or and or increase after After it has started. And therefore, when considering that we want to make sure that the fraud then is stopped early and in or caught before before it happens, because otherwise that rationalization process may lead to more fraudulent behavior and more fraudulent behavior that goes on to an extended period of time. So then the question then, of course, for the company is how can we reduce these types of things? How can we reduce the opportunity, the pressure and the rationalization, and part of that would be the internal controls that we would want to put in place.
So, clearly things like, if there was an opportunity out there, if we just had our money that we just happened to store all of our all of our money in the middle of a lunchroom, and we have no cameras in there or anything, and everybody eats in there, then that would that wouldn’t be that would would lead people to possibly think that they could steal the money and not be caught. And although that doesn’t justify doing that, It it it is it is going to increase the likelihood of course fraud happening. And it will also increase the likelihood of rationalization happening. rationalization often taking the place in something like this they would say, Well what the company is is is that the rationalization what often sound something like this they will say, well if the company is that unconcerned, they’re gonna put the money in the middle of the lunchroom, then they deserve you know, basically for it to be stolen and so it’s okay for me to steal it or something like that.
And of course, that’s wrong that that’s not correct way of thinking. But you can see how that rationalization would happen. Another common rationalization is like saying that the company is has a lot of money and they do well and I’m poor I you know, I don’t have as much money I have, I have need for money. And the company is just a you know, a cold entity, whereas I’m a person that could use the money and therefore it’s like taken from the from the rich and giving to the poor, the company being the rich and me being the poor. is another kind of rationalization that could take place again, not correct kind of rationalization doesn’t justify, you know, taking money from the corporation.
But you can see how that those are kind of rationalization processes they could happen. Internal Controls then would of course, one try to safeguard safeguard the assets would be one of the first internal controls that we would put in place, and we’d want to put in some other internal controls often the separation of duties so that would take more than one person in order to commit theft would be some of the other types of internal controls. The main internal control that we look at in terms of financial accounting is of course, the double entry accounting system itself. Things like bank reconciliations are another key component. In terms of the internal controls. We are now able to define profession define ethics as it relates to accounting. Explain the factors that increase the likelihood of fraud, describe internal controls.