Your client is the public because they are relying on you to give them assurance on the financial statements that they are looking at. The level of your clients should be first at the top is the public, your current and future shareholders, and last should be your management. When owing primary loyalty, it will depend on the decision that you are having to make. But you should put the stakeholder’s interest in consideration when making a decision. Even if you are acting as an employee you are still bound by professional standards because it is your lawful responsibility as a professional accountant.
Professional accounting can be both a profession and a business. The reason why is because a business is providing a service and profession is a job that you do. Also, profession means that you have special skills or knowledge which is what accounting is. It also provides a service for people so it can be both. You should not offer a service when the client is unethical because no client is worth ruining your reputation over.
Another reason to decline service is if there is a conflict of interest or they are trying to break the law. Its best just to serve one client at a time because then you only have one interest to worry about. Also you won’t have to deal with the two different ideas or opinion which could cause a divide between the two clients. There ought to be occasion where you should break the guideline to give confidences unless you are asked to from a legal case.
The term fiduciary relationship means you have a legal responsibility to perform in the interest of others. An accountant has special knowledge for numbers and analyzing since they have those skills, they have a duty to act ethically and to be honest. Society is relying on an accountant to provide a trustful service when dealing with their financial issues or decisions. If an accountant doesn’t provide a fiduciary relationship this means that they are giving false or misleading information which means that they are acting unethical. By not giving a fiduciary relationship the accountant can ruin their reputation which will also means that they will lose their job.
Most ethical decisions that an accountant face is complex because they have to base their decisions on the laws and guidelines that they have to follow. Accountants have to also think about all the people that the decision might affect. This can be hard because you don’t know all the consequences that the decision can have one everyone. The reason why is because it is hard to predict the future. For instance, hard time could come like a natural disaster which can cause the stock to go down. Also the law can change and new can come about which can make decisions even more complex because you have to put the new laws into your thinking process.
You should place your duty to the public above the duty to a client as an accountant when the public will be in danger. Meaning that if a client is trying or is acting unethical then as accountant you are to uphold your ethical standards and principles. When you do then you will be helping the pubic with their financial decisions and you will be providing a fiduciary relationship which is something that the public expects you to have. The public relies on accountants to provide the most ethical information so they can base that on their decision. If you put your duty to your client above your duty to the public then you are more likely to act unethical which can cause you to lose your job and you might go to jail.
The key idea for ethical behavior in an accounting profession is to protect the public interest then you are more likely to protect your own credibility as well. You will also be less likely to try and fix the books or any information to make yourself more dependable. This could then cost your job because you were acting unethical and for breaking the law. When you focus on your own credibility you are more likely to act unethical and forget all the laws and guidelines that you are supposed to follow. When you focus on protecting the public interest then you are thinking of all the effects that your decisions might have on society as a whole.
Some professional accountants don’t report ethical wrongdoing because they don’t want to be classify as a whistleblower. They don’t want to get discriminated by the company because they couldn’t keep a secret to themselves. They don’t want to risk not having job because the boss could get mad at the accountant for telling and he might fire the accountant. The accountant may not have the courage to standup and tell because they don’t want to be the only one to do it. If people see they are the only one standing up for something they start to think that they aren’t standing up for good thing. Another reason they may not report is because it doesn’t benefit them. Some people think that if they don’t get nothing out of telling then what’s the point.