Creative accounting: ethical perceptions among accounting and non-accounting students
Faculty of Applied Economics
Antwerp :UA, 2005
Research paper / UA, Faculty of Applied Economics ; 2005:16
University of Antwerp
This paper seeks to investigate the level of ethical awareness, as well as the attitude towards creative accounting, among accounting and non-accounting students of the post- Enron generation. Creative accounting is in essence not illegal and investors may sometimes even benefit from its application. However, creative accounting distorts reality, which may mislead users of financial statement information and is therefore generally considered unethical. We presented students with a list of statements concerning specific creative accounting situations. Our results show that accounting students tend to find creative accounting less acceptable than non-accounting students. They also seem to have a stronger ethical awareness, which may be the result of accounting ethics courses. However, we do not find a significant relation between students attitude towards creative accounting and their personal ethical orientation. This is in contrast to prior research on the ethics of earnings management. Moreover, we do not find significantly different opinions for men versus women in our study. Again, this contradicts the results found by earlier research and suggests more homogeneity among the next generation of professionals.