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IMA Ethics Series: Earnings Management and a Case of Ethics

IMA Ethics Series: Earnings Management  and  a Case of Ethics

What are the accounting and finance profession's key ethical concerns?

Part 1 compares the perceptions of accounting students and accounting professionals regarding the ethics of earnings management. Consider the perspectives of students and professionals from both before and after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). The authors provide an overview of the extensive pre-SOX research and then offer the results of their recent survey, which provided post-SOX data. Their findings 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. The resultant implications are then discussed, particularly with respect to what they mean for the need for additional legislation and more effective risk management.

Part 2 features a case about the Lorman Lumber Company 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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