PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTING ETHICS: A VISUAL ANALYSIS OF PUBLIC PERCEPTION
DOAJ:Business and Management
DOAJ:Business and Economics
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AbstractThe decline in both the number and quality of students choosing accounting programs has been a worldwide source of concern to scholars and practitioners. According to Albrecht and Sack (2000), that decline is a consequence of several factors, such as changes in business environment, decrease in salary levels and development of alternative careers perceived as more attractive by students and lack of information and/or misunderstanding related to accounting careers. For Carnegie and Napier (2010), comprehension of such external images related to accounting careers and accountants is important for assessing the roles of these professionals in a wider social context. The success of the accounting profession, according to Belski et al. (2004), largely depends on how it is viewed by the public, considering that the image of the accounting profession has been damaged in the recent past by the widely publicized accounting frauds, scandals and failures involving accounting firms and accountants. To support a better understanding of this phenomenon, the objective of this study is to identify and analyze whether the accounting profession is negatively stereotyped by public perception according to ethics. Based on an adapted photo-survey, with 1,034 randomly selected respondents, and tests of differences between means, the central hypothesis of this study was rejected: it is not possible to state that accounting professionals are negatively stereotyped for professional ethics. Also, there were no significant differences based on gender, academic background or education levels of the respondents, but on the other hand is possible to confirm a positive perception based on confidence interval analysis. Implications for practice and recommendations for future studies are both presented in the last section.