Objectivity and Confidentiality as Ima Ethical Standards

Posted on 27. Feb, 2008 by in Legal ethics

Jennifer Burns asked:

Objectivity is another core accounting principle. Objectivity refers to unbiased reporting of clients’ financial information. Even though at times accountants may be pressured by clients, objectivity is essential in correct reporting of financial data for stakeholder decisions. As an educational institution can be regarded as that of a profit organization, it is important for students to remain unbiased in making own opinions about the educational processes. Aside from this, when deciding on professional qualities of tutors and evaluating the peer work working in groups, it is important not to mix own feelings, attitudes, and prejudice with professional qualities and work requirements attributed to an individual. Only when doing so, a student can expect similar behavior in return, which establishes the basic conditions for operations of an educational institution.

In accounting, confidentiality of client’s or employer’s affairs can be overridden only when legal, ethical, or professional requirements call for disclosure of information. In academic community, the issue is less complex, as it cannot be penalized legally except for, perhaps, by poor reputation. Still, it is important to make a distinction about information that can be made public and the one that should remain private, for example – academic performance of students. In order to ensure equality of opportunities and students’ right for privacy, the decision whether to reveal certain information or not should be left to a student.

To sum up, the four IMA standards, competence, integrity, objectivity, and confidentiality are the base not only for accounting practice, but they are the backbone of every democratic institution. Even though there is a difference in consequences realizing from inability to follow the principles in academic and professional spheres, it is only due to nature of the industry itself. In accounting practice IMA standards must be followed because of possible administrative penalties, whereas in educational institution they remain to be a matter of ethics without fear being employed as a stimulator. Nevertheless, the four principles should be applied, as they both ensure good performance of an educational institution and have a positive impact on students’ individuality, skills, and professional qualities.

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