I often ask the following question at accounting educator conferences: “Can you teach ethics?” In response, I get a variety of answers, but many, perhaps a majority of instructors say: “No, you can’t teach ethics. Ethics is taught at home” or “Ethics is learned long before college.” This leads to the question: “What is ethics?” It is of course rooted in a person’s basic values and morals. Ethics relates to the decisions that people make based on their values and morals. Accounting teachers have little to do with affecting the values and morals that students bring to class. However, accounting instructors play an important role in educating students about how to apply ethics to accounting.
This article is from the Accounting Instructors’ Report, an electronic journal that provides teaching tips and insights to those who teach accounting and other business courses.
Belverd E. Needles, Jr., Ph.D., CPA