Professionalism is a very critical aspect in different career fields. Professionalism entails the competence or skill that is expected of a professional in a particular field. It could also be defined as the expertness that is portrayed by a professional individual. A professional on the other hand is a member of an occupation that is founded upon some specialized educational training. Accountancy is a career that is highly ranked in the economy and hence the need for professionalism. Accountants are engaged in different sectors for instance in the government departments, business and industry as well as CPA firms (Walker, 2004). This piece of work gives an investigation into the aspect of professionalism with much emphasis being given to Accountancy and the professionalism involved therein.
Professionalism and Accountancy
What is the nature of the accounting profession?
The accounting profession is a recognized career and it is held with a lot of esteem. However, not many deeper aspects are known to the lay man and many tend to think that it is all about calculations and manipulation of figures and numbers. Just as other professions such as law and medicine, the accounting profession has evolved over time with changes in the economy and society being incorporated to ensure that professionalism in the field is always maintained and that the changing social and economic needs of the society are looked into. Initially, accounting only dealt with the issue of meeting the financial related information needs of a relatively few owners of business firms. With the complexity of business and society which increases day by day, the accounting profession has expanded in an effort to meet the need of a variety of interested parties. Today, accounting is a medium for reporting financial information in regard to a business or organization to a variety of groups of individuals. There is both internal and external accounting, which is management and financial accounting respectively. The public accounting profession has also been regarded as a source of assurance to investors, the local governments the federal and State that audited firms usually comply with the stipulated rules and regulations (Howieson, 2003).
The following are examples that demonstrate issues that have been experienced in accounting profession. The WorldCom and Enron companies’ scandals are enough justification of the importance of professionalism in accountancy and how failure to adhere to it leads to collapse of different organs of an organization and finally to the whole organization. Lack of proper audit in WorldCom led to a lot of fraud related practices which in turn led to various losses in terms of fines. Enron was also not favored by poor accounting practices but rather faced various negative consequences for instance imprisonments of people involved, litigation fines and investors and creditors losses. In conjunction with other factors, the above examples show that professionalism in accountancy is very essential and avoids negative consequences like fraud which in turn leads to losses (Conrad, 2010).
What Does It Mean To Be A Professional Accountant?
According to Parker (2001), there is more to just the mention of a professional accountant. A professional accountant is an individual who has the indispensable skills and experience in setting up and maintaining accurate financial records for various parties, individuals, businesses as well as the government. A professional accountant undertakes various activities in a professional manner for instance designing and controlling systems of records, preparing financial statements, auditing books and providing financial advice to various parties. In carrying out the above tasks, a professional accountant upholds professionalism in terms of values like confidentiality, ethics and accountability as learnt through training and also in various accounting professional bodies (Williams, 2004).
What Are The Characteristics Of A Professional Accountant?
A professional accountant is a very important person in our day to day lives due to the many responsibilities he or she is entitled to and the benefits they have to individuals, organizations, and the society at large. A professional accountant possesses the following characteristics; commitment to strong values for instance accountability, reliability, integrity, moral reasoning, ethics, honesty and confidentiality among others. A professional accountant also upholds professional standards and approaches within various disciplines for example reporting, analysis, offering advice and support in decision making hence adding value to stakeholders and clients. Solid education is another trait that provides a wide range of skills and knowledge within the accounting services. Being a member of a recognized accountancy body is also a characteristic of a professional accountant. This ensures that he or she is subject to the disciplinary powers of the body. A professional accountant should also be committed to the professional development taking place so as to improve his/her skills on a continuous basis (Palmer, Ziegenfuss, & Pinsker, 2004).
From The Perspective of Those who benefit From an Accountant’s Services, What Is That a Professional Accountant Does That Adds Value?
Accountancy is a field that is so exhaustive and hence touches on almost everybody in the society. This is because accountants are employed in different sectors both private and public. In order to understand the accounting field well and the value a professional accountant adds to the society, it is good to take a social perspective. Accounting is an effective tool of communication and hence helps people to succeed in various practices. A professional accountant adds value to various people through the services he or she offers in his or her day to day practices for instance financial advice. Professionalism in an individual enables him or her to carry out practices diligently with a heart of making sure that the clients served are fully satisfied with the services unlike where a person would work unprofessionally.
Contrary to what many people perceive accounting to be, a field of mathematics and counting, it is a broad field with many positive contribution to the society. Accounting is a profession of communication that enables other functions in an organization to operate smoothly. Accounting information provided by a professional accountant serves various significant functions, for instance, assisting people to make informed decisions for example in regard to allocation of scarce resources (Zeff, 2003).
Conrad, A.C. (2010). Morality and Economic Crisis – Enron, Subprime & Co. UK: Disserta Verlag.
Howieson, B. (2003). Accounting practice in the new millennium: is accounting education ready to meet the challenge The British Accounting Review, 35(2), 69-103.
Palmer, K.N., Ziegenfuss, D. E., & Pinsker, R.E. (2004). International knowledge, skills, and abilities of auditors/accountants: Evidence from recent competency studies. Managerial Auditing Journal, 19 (7), 889-896.
Parker, L. D. (2001). Back To The Future: The Broadening Accounting Trajectory. British Accounting Review 33 (4), pp. 421-453.
Walker, M. (2004). Recovering accounting: an economic perspective. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 15, pp. 519-527.
Williams, P. (2004). Recovering accounting as a worthy Endeavour. Critical Perspectives on Accounting 15 (4-5), 513–517.
Zeff, A. S. (2003). How the U.S. Accounting Profession Got Where It Is Today: Part I. Accounting Horizons, 17 (3), pp. 189-205.