Ethics is concerned with individual character; it relates to morals and the treating of moral questions. Teaching ethics involves the study and evaluation of the moral consequences of reflective choices of actions among alternatives that are not clear, or that are in conflict with one another. Although it can be debated whether we should teach ethics, the question arises as to whether accounting educators should take up the challenge and sensitize their students to the ethical issues they will face throughout their professional careers. As an integral part of the first undergraduate programme in accountancy in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic developed a compulsory full-year subject, ethics in accountancy, for its final-year accountancy students. The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Accountancy course, which was implemented in 1988, was accredited to replace the traditional professional diplomas under the UK model. In 1990 the subject ethics in accountancy was first taught to about 230 final-year students in Hong Kong. This paper reviews the process of developing the subject from its initial form to its present structure. Based on practical experience, the paper addresses the issue ‘Can ethics be taught?’ and the questions of why, what and how.
- ethics accountancy classroom experience students
- responses subject development accounting ethics