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IMA Ethics Series: Earnings Management and a Case of Ethics

The first half of the course compares accounting students' and professionals' perceptions of the ethics of earnings management from before and after the accounting scandals that led to passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX).

The results suggest that professionals and students in the era following the passage of SOX find earnings management more questionable and less ethical than their pre-SOX counterparts. Overall, the high-profile accounting scandals appear to have had a bigger effect than SOX on the perceived ethics of earnings management.

The second half of the course features a case that won the 2010 Carl Menconi Case Writing Competition.  This competition recognizes a business ethics case with specific application to management accounting and finance issues and that uses the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice as a reference or guidance tool.  The problem presented in this case involves the economic, legal, and moral issues surrounding a lumber company and whether it should continue to release creosote and PCP chemicals into a neighboring river.

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