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A comparative analysis of the cognitive moral development of independent public auditors in selected public accounting firms and bank examiners in selected federal banking regulatory agencies :

Nova Southeastern University,
Publication Date
  • Bank Examiners
  • Philosophy


The subject of accounting ethics has emerged as one of the most talked about topics in recent times. Yet, in many regards, the notion of ethics is as elusive as the air one breathes. All societies and the populace therein hold in high esteem what they perceive as good moral values and principles. Yet, consensus on what constitutes good moral values and principles can be as diverse as the world's peoples. The profession of accountancy has received its fair share of criticism from the public and lawmakers after being engulfed in accounting scandals in recent years. Like the accounting profession, the banking arena also has had its bouts with unethical practices, although it is highly regulated by federal and state authorities. Most noteworthy among the unethical practices is the banking scandal of the 1980s. Both accountants and bank examiners are critical to the nation's financial health, and the public places a great deal of trust in these financial professionals. The moral reasoning ability of financial professionals has been brought into question recently. This research will compare the moral reasoning abilities of accountants in selected public accounting firms to the moral reasoning abilities of bank examiners in selected federal banking regulatory agencies to determine if there is any difference between the two groups. Lemon (1996) believed that professional accountants are expected to be ethical, and are required to deal with difficult ethical issues.

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