, Volume 8, Issue 8, pp 617-629

Ethical dilemmas for accountants: A United Kingdom perspective

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The paper provides an introduction to some of the professional ethical dilemmas facing an accountant in the United Kingdom. The first part deals with those dilemmas which accountants would normally accept are covered by the term “ethics”. These include the problems associated with adequately fulfilling a duty to shareholders and conflicts of interest (including whistleblowing) by the accountant acting as independent auditor or as an employee. The second part deals with wider aspects of ethical dilemmas stemming from reconciling the implicit understanding that the accountant is being objective with the fact that accounting rules make it very difficult to sustain that objectivity.

Andrew Likierman, Professor of Accounting at the London Business School graduated from Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, is a qualified accountant and has worked in both the private and public sectors. He started the first regular UK MBA ethics course but more usually publishes in the field of financial control.