Accounting Ethics – The Importance of Ethical Practices in Business and Personal Finance

What is ethical accounting? The idea of accounting ethics deals with the moral and values-based judgments and decisions an accountant or accounting agency confront daily in their practice. Due to the nature of their work as communicators of financial information to business managers, shareholders, and the general public, as well bookkeeping and auditing of business entities, accountants and accounting agencies are held to the highest standards of transparency and morality in regards to their research and the information they convey. Accounting can be used as a way to study how and why a business may succeed or fail, but above all it is a public service; those who practice it must make judgments and decisions that can sometimes supersede the interests of their clients in favor of the interests of the public at large.

Failure to apply ethical standards to accounting creates the opportunity for manipulation of facts and information that, if used to mislead, could cause a person to invest under false pretenses, or a business to represent its finances fraudulently to its shareholders. It is of the utmost importance that the public be able to trust accountants and accounting, because their financial future, and that of their family or business, could be at stake.

Why is it important that accountants and accounting firms be ethical?

Over the years there have been several large accounting scandals in the United States, and in the world at large, which caused private investors and public shareholders to lose billions of dollars, and giant businesses and accounting firms to fold, because of falsified or incorrect information given out about the companies in which the money was invested. The Enron scandal is perhaps the most recent and glaring example of unethical accounting causing widespread negative effects, including the loss of $25 billion in shareholder assets, the closure of the Arthur Anderson auditing firm, and the subsequent loss of 85000 jobs when the unethical practices were reported and the company dissolved.

Ethical accounting is not only important to private businesses or individuals for reliable information about their respective financial states, but has a responsibility to the public to provide transparent evaluations of publicly held business entities. Ethical accounting can help eliminate the serious problems raised when incomplete or incorrect information about business or individual is disseminated, saving money and jobs and helping to increase stability in financial markets.

The Importance of Personal Finance Today

Personal Finance is the application of financial principles to the financial decisions made by a family unit or an individual. It addresses many facets of financial issues such as creating a budget, how to save, financial risks and how to spend the monetary resources available over time.

In the world we are living today, Personal Finance and planning is no longer the luxury of the rich, but has become a necessary part of life. Preparing for ones future is essential and there is never a good time to start like today.

To many people, the thought of Personal Finance is like speaking a language from mars to them, and they have no clue where to start. It can be mind boggling when terms like budgets, balance sheets and income statements are spoken. However this should not sound an alarm, since most of us engage in personal finance decisions without knowing it. For instance when making decisions of where to live, which car to buy, where to take your children to school among others. These decisions have a factor of finance involved in them somewhere.

There is an emergence of personal finance advisors in the recent past, who have come up to assist people who need coaching or financial advice for a fee. They come in handy especially for those of us who don’t have strong financial background and require help.

Whether you choose to do it yourself or get the help of a personal finance advisor, there are some common basic things that one needs to look at. The order of these may vary from person to person or from one advisor to another.

To begin with, one needs to look at their current financial position. That is take a honest look at what you owe and what you own. Then you proceed on to setting your financial goals both in the short term and in the long term. You may think in the lines of the kind of lifestyle you want to have in the future. Finally and most import is to come up with a strategy or a road map that will help you achieve the financial goals set and follow them through. This could include saving and investing a portion of your income for example.

One other thing that one needs to consider is the tax element depending on which country you live in. Tax can be a major expense that most people never give a second thought to, thus ending up missing out on opportunities they have to reduce it. Most tax regimes have some incentives or relief given to the tax payer to encourage them to save or to invest in certain things. For instance, payments made towards retirement, life insurance or specific purchases such as buying a home through a mortgage. It would be prudent to investigate on the possible saving available to you from a tax perspective.

Whichever way you look at personal finance, it is vital for every one of us to take charge of our finances by avoiding common pitfalls that many have had to endure, because they never took time to consciously look at their personal finance. Are you going to leave your finances to fate or are you taking charge of your financial destiny today? The choice is yours.