A cross-country comparison of the codes of professional conduct of certified/chartered accountants

Journal of Business Ethics 35 (2):111 - 129 (2002)
This research examines the extent to which similarities and differences exist in the codes of professional conduct of certified (chartered) accountants across the following countries: the United States, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Ontario (Canada), Australia, India, and Hong Kong. These eight countries exemplify some of the diversity in economic, political, legal, and cultural environments in which public accountants practice. The professional codes of ethics establish the ethical boundary parameters within which professional accountants must operate and they are a function of these environments.The results of the study reveal that commonalities exist on some ethical rules indicating that some rules are indeed "culture free". Cross-country variations, however, exist as to the specificity and elaborateness of the rules. Such variations can be attributed to cultural and legal differences, as well as the length of time each professional organization has been in existence. An understanding of the similarities and differences in the codes is important to individuals who may work in these countries. Professional accountants involved in international business must understand the implications of the decisions they make in light of the ethical codes and moral values of their counterparts in foreign countries. After a discussion of the similarities and differences in the codes, the implications of these comparisons for accounting practice are discussed.
Keywords Certified Public Accountant  Code of Professional Conduct  Chartered Accountant
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