Conor O’ Leary
School of Accountancy
Queensland University of Technology
Accounting Research Institute and Faculty of Accountancy
Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
The Malaysian accounting profession is committed to promoting education that results in a strong ethical culture within accountants. However, some consider ethical training unproductive since trainees may have their ethical values formed pre-commencement. This paper investigates the impact of ethics instruction on final year accounting students, the future accountants of Malaysia.
85 final year accounting students were given 5 ethical scenarios, and asked what action they considered appropriate. They were then subject to two ethical training methodologies, a traditional lecture/ tutorial process and a group assignment. After a significant gap, students were represented with the ethical scenarios and asked what action they now considered appropriate. In all five instances student offered a more ethical response the second time. Also, participants rated both training methods and their combined impact as effective. These results suggest it is beneficial to include ethics teaching – and indeed emphasizing its importance – in accountancy courses, if the profession’s goal of ethical practitioners is to be achieved.