Ethical Issues involved with Technology in the accounting profession
The rising demand for efficiency, accuracy, security, and speed has called for the use modern technology in the contemporary accounting world. The nature of the business evolves on the day-to-day basis, and the accounting experts have to bring themselves up to speed in order to make broader contributions to the business, for example, auditing information systems and commenting on non-financial measures. The efficiency associated with incorporating new and advanced technology in the accounting field is exactly what CPA firms, financial organizations among others need and, therefore, the challenges associated with incorporation of technology into the businesses are inevitable.
This paper emphasizes on the need for accountants to remain impartial and devoted to the ethical guidelines of their profession in their service delivery. More often, accountants encounter ethical issues in their daily professional life. However, these individuals have a duty to remain vigilant in order to safeguard financial records. The customers entrust accounting institutions to protect their finances and, therefore, the accountants have an ethical and professional responsibility to ensure that the financial records are not manipulated by external forces.
Cloud computing (the internet)
Cloud computing, for example, has whipped up an array of change, challenges, opportunities, and obstacles. An accountant, therefore, should be in a position to identify the threats and come up with the appropriate safeguard. The use of internet in the accounting profession has posed a number of challenges on the integrity, confidentiality, objectivity, and professional behavior. Cloud computing (internet) has raised several concerns regarding the safety of the customer’s and the firm’s data, with the increased number of hackers today Warren, Gorham & Lamont, inc., 1984). The accounting firms have a professional responsibility to protect their clientele, and they can only do this by ensuring their systems are protected through the creation of firewalls that are not easily broken. The susceptibility of the files in this type of technology to corruption and fraud depends on how secure the system is. This is the responsibility of professionals in accounting and IT to ensure that the systems are secure (Warren, Gorham & Lamont, inc., 1984).
Although there is a substantive risk while using cloud computing, the efficiency and the speed of completing the task makes it worth the risk. However, if the systems are not well protected, and the financial records are vulnerable to corruption, then it becomes a too big risk, that might not be worth taking. The traditional file storage system does not face file corruption and hacking challenges, but it is slow, less efficient and susceptible to human error.
Use of Smart phones and tablets
Smart phones and tablets are commonly used as banking tools in the contemporary accounting world. The convenience that is associated with the use of these gadgets has made them a widespread technology. Tablets and smart phones give consumers the ability to monitor their accounts easily with the tap of a button. However, smart phones and tablets increase the chances of the users falling victim of fraud (Easttom & Taylor, 2011). To prevent fraudsters from accessing the customers banking information, the accountants should use multifactor login procedures, identification authentication, and encrypted communication procedures. The accountants should be able to provide safety procedures to their clients to ensure that their tablets or smart phones do not fall prey of the hackers. These precautions, among others, include installing anti viruses on their gadgets and keeping it updated and setting of passwords.
Accounting information systems (ERPs)
The individual and departmental information systems that were used in the past have been since replaced by ERP systems. The use of these systems has had significant impacts on customers and firms. Businesses keep on evolving, and as they do so, the accounting professionals are expected to make contributions that are more significant. The firms have become dependent on the modern technology in order to improve their competitiveness and abide by the regulations. The accounting profession, on the other hand, has had to undergo significant related transformation. In most businesses, the accounting department is inevitably intertwined with other active areas of the firm. The information systems are simply integrated commercial ERPs and, therefore they are part and parcel of the success or failure of a business (Reckers, 2002).
This software is complex, and sometimes need continuous monitoring by the IT specialists. This might not be only challenge since the introduction of new technology in an organization takes time. The efficiency of the software depends on whether it is used properly or not. In many cases, the employees do not have the knowledge of how to use the new technology. The overall effect of this knowledge deficit is poor job performance due to in the effective use of the technology. The security of the financial records would be at risk, considering the fact the accountant in charge does not have the capacity to identify the potential threat before coming up with an appropriate safeguard, leaving the accountants job satisfaction questionable.
This paper proposes a critical examination and research on the following research topic:
The Ethical Issues involved with Technology in the accounting profession
The introduction of modern technology in the banking and accounting sector has improved the efficiency of the whole process but with a handful of challenges, which affect the consumer. In that regard, this proposes the following research question:
What are the ethical issues that arise after incorporating modern technology in the accounting profession?
Why this topic is important
The need for more efficient accounting services has been every business’ objective. Modern technology and the introduction of accounting software has eased the process of financial record keeping and computations through automation. In their quest to boost their competitiveness, accounting firms have adopted latest technology. However, modern technology has had both negative impacts to the customers and the firms. The financial records have been manipulated by external forces in the form of hackers, leaving customers in limbo.
This research will perform a SWOT analysis of modern technology in accounting and determine whether the risks anticipated outweigh the benefits or otherwise, which would put the decision makers in a better position to make a decision. The financial risk has been on a rising trend. As the technology advances, it becomes easier to perform a relatively complex accounting task in lesser time. This means that most of the work will be done using software and cloud computing. With systems that are not well protected, the financial information is vulnerable. Chances of hackers getting into the system are high (Arnold, 2011). To prevent such scenarios, researchers have to come up with a way of identifying the threat and putting a safeguard in place.
Through research from academic journals, conducting field interviews, monkey surveys, and obtaining information from IT professionals, adequate information can be obtained about the research topic, which would then enable the researcher to answer the research question.
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Arnold, V. (2011). Advances in Accounting Behavioral Research: Vol. 14. Bradford: Emerald Group Pub.
Easttom, C., & Taylor, J. (2011). Computer crime, investigation, and the law. Boston, MA: Course Technology.
Reckers, P. (2002). Advances in Accounting. Burlington: Elsevier.
Snoeyenbos, M., Almeder, R. F., & Humber, J. M. (2001). Business ethics. Amherst, N.Y: Prometheus Books.
Warren, Gorham & Lamont, inc. (1984). Computers in accounting. New York: Computers in Accounting.