Ethical Competences in Accounting Higher Education: An Expectation Gap between the Profession and University

Ethical Competences in Accounting Higher Education: An Expectation Gap between the Profession and University

M. Àngels Fitó (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain), Joan Llobet (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain) and Soledad Moya (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/jksr.2011100103
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The integration of the Spanish University System into the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) introduces, among other aspects, competency-based learning (MECD, 2003). For a discipline like accounting this context implies the challenge of introducing ethics into accounting education, since ethical values have been included as a fundamental part of the generic competencies that graduates are required. The following study analyzes, in the light of the importance that academics and professionals give to ethical competences, to which extent universities have committed with ethics, considering the information provided in their respective websites relating their first cycle degrees. The outcomes obtained show the little presence of ethical competencies in the information published in the websites of the offered courses.
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2. Background: Ethical Competences In Accounting In The Professional And Academic Field

Traditionally, accounting teaching was based on the transmission of a set of technical rules without emphasising its social dimension and therefore neither its ethical component. Neither have the consequences of the recent financial scandals and the sequels of what is known as “creative accounting” generated the necessary debate to increase the presence of accounting ethics in the classrooms (Amat, 2002).

Similarly, with the creation of EHEA, there have been deep changes in the basis of the higher education system that partially overcomes the previous limitations and definitely incorporates the learning of values and attitudes into the new study programmes.

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