University of Gdansk (POLAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 7593-7604
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0362
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
The scandals emergent at the beginning of the 21st century, associated with fabricating information in the financial statements, have jeopardised the social confidence in accounting and financial specialists. They began to be perceived not as responsible and law-abiding professionals, but as dishonest, greedy, and susceptible to fraudulent behaviour people. Hence, in order to rebuild the flawed image of the accounting and finance specialists, professional accounting bodies not only published codes of ethics that are binding in this profession, but also began to enforce the knowledge of the principles contained within them for obtaining the qualifications offered by these organizations.

In this context, vital importance has been attached to the answers to the following issues:
a) whether it is it important for the accounting and finance specialists to follow the ethical principles,
b) whether it is permissible to violate the ethical principles by the persons working at such positions,
c) will teaching ethics influence the ethical behavior of the future accounting and finance specialists.

The paper presents the outcomes of a survey study that constitutes a part of a research project called “Ethics in the Accounting Profession”. The study was carried out on a group of 146 students studying at the full-time, part-time and post-graduate studies in accounting at the Faculty of Management of the Gdansk University, who link their prospective professional career with the area of finance and accounting. The questionnaire was composed of 28 questions, grouped into three sections concerning: the personal data of the interviewed, the issues of ethics involving accounting specialists, and the ethical problems associated with tax avoidance.

The obtained results revealed that as many as 91.1% of the surveyed students (133 respondents) consider ethics an important feature in the accounting profession. Moreover, above 70% of them underline the necessity to follow the rules of the professional ethics, even at the expense of a possible job loss. This proves that the specialists employed as accounting specialists are perceived as honest, responsible and law-abiding.

The observation covered the students of selected specialties with extended programs in accounting and finance taught at the University of Gdansk. Therefore, the conclusions drawn apply only to this group of people. In the future, research should also be conducted among the students of other specialties at the "Finance" and the "Tax Advisory" faculties, which are offered at the University of Gdansk. In addition, the subject of the future research should be to determine the importance of ethical principles in the recruitment process for the positions of accounting and finance specialists.

The research provides information on the perception of the importance of ethics in the accounting and finance profession on the part of the persons intending to work in this profession. It was also important to determine whether the inclusion of ethics in the teaching curricula contributes to raising the students' awareness of the ethical dilemmas that arise in business practice.
Ethical principles, accounting profession, students, University of Gdansk, Poland.