In towards his professional body and the public

In order to resolve an ethical dilemma a certain approach to ethics is needed. According to the teleological (also known as consequentialist) approach, ‘the end justifies the means’. It is very tempting to follow either the egoism or the utilitarianism approach in this case, as according to the scenario, the company would go into insolvency and 400 jobs (including the Financial Controller’s) would be lost if the accurate financial statement were produced. The good of the employees which would be made redundant would be a priority. It seems like a good idea but it is in fact in conflict with the Code of Ethics. The deontological approach is the right one to follow in order to comply with the rules and regulations as the Financial Controller has an obligation towards his professional body and the public to do the ‘right thing’. In order to determine the appropriate action, the professional has to analyse the situation. Here, Kant’s categorical imperatives become very helpful. In the scenario, the Financial Controller is asked to not disclose relevant information, thus fabricating the financial statements. According to the First Formula of the Categorical Imperative, which Duska refers to as “more complex utilitarianism” (Duska, Duska and Ragatz, 2011), the action is judged by its convenience. From the company’s perspective it would be more useful to follow the Financial Directors tactic to avoid bankruptcy and save 400 jobs. We also have to consider, the ‘will-contradiction’ which becomes very obvious. According to this formula, we have to consider what would happen, if the will to not to disclose the relevant financial information, would become a law. It would mean, that the financial statements become meaningless.     ADD INFO ABOUT SECOND FORMULA (65) AND THREE KEY RULES FOR DEONTOLOGICAL APPROACH (PAGE 14 PROFES.COM. ORANGE BOOK)      SECTION 2: In the light of the existing conflict, the Financial Controller is obliged to comply with the Code of Ethics. In order to follow the rules and regulations the aforementioned has to consider the five fundamental principles: Integrity, Objectivity, Professional Competence and Due Care, Confidentiality and Professional Behaviour; all of which are affected to certain extent. The principle of integrity requires from the professional honesty and straightforwardness, which in this case are seriously compromised. The section 110.2 CIMA Code of Ethics states that: “A professional accountant shall not knowingly be associated with reports, returns, communications or other information where the professional accountant believes that the information (…) omits or obscures information required to be included where such omission or obscurity would be misleading” (, 2018). The Financial Controller is asked by the Financial Director to not to alter the figures in the accounts and not to disclose the information relevant to the bad debts, thus painting a false picture of the company’s financial position. This, respectively, affects the principle of Objectivity and Independence as the superior is trying to influence the manager’s decision. To work in accordance with the Professional Competence and Due Care principle the standards have to be followed. Withholding relevant information is a serious offence against the Code of Ethics. Section 370.10 CIMA Code of Ethics says specifically that a professional would be in violation of the “Acts Discreditable Rule” and the “Professional Behaviour Principle” if he provides, or fails to correct, untrue financial information. (CIMA Code of Ethics, 2017) In this case, the Financial Controller has applied the Professional Behaviour principle. He tried to resolve the issue internally by bringing the situation to the attention of the Financial Director who unfortunately did not wish to co-operate. She did not want to alter the figures in the draft accounts and did not wish for The Financial Controller to do so. In these circumstances, the principle becomes affected again as the professional has to work in accordance with the rules and regulations which are clearly being compromised in this situation. It would also be expected to resolve the issue internally to avoid disclosing confidential information. The principle of confidentiality has to be taken into account when seeking external advice.  

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