Utilitarianism theory is the philosophy that considers the greatest good as where the happiness of a hefty number of people is satisfied (Hawley, 2011). This philosophy is essential when making decisions for the society that would benefit it the most regardless of the suffering it brings to other individuals. It is morally right if the actions yield happiness and not pain. Most theorists claim that that achievements like living a quality lifestyle is part of their happiness. Nonetheless, government policies are considered utilitarianism in the policy making since they are aimed at benefiting many people.
Secondly is the deontological theory. It could also be called the duty ethics. This is because in most occasions, the theory focuses on the action and the intention behind it. It also unlike the utilitarianism, insists that the end does not and will never justify the means. This in other word means that a bad action cannot be justified by the predicting a good end result. This ethic therefore follows the universal laws of humanity that insists that people should never be treated as a means. Therefore, the laws suggest that humanity follow the simplest of rules such as do not steal, do not kill, and such without thinking of the end result. In conclusion, this theory follows the moral theories that guide our choices.
Another of the ethics in discussion is the virtue ethics. This ethics might be linked to the moral character of the one performing the action. The general concept behind this action is the person’s character rather than how well they remember or follow the rules. Instead of following the rules that are imposed, the theory places emphasis on developing good character traits such as kindness and patience. Such decisions are assumed to go a long way in helping the individuals make better decisions in life. They are the voices that help an individual become a better person in life. With the reluctance of rules and consequences, decisions are dependent on the kind of person who is performing the act. This theory help show the desirable character in an individual and this is what is called virtues while the opposite are the vices.
Finally is the natural law theory. This rely on the fact that human have reason and should use it in making decisions. It actually assumes that using reason is a moral obligation and should come as naturally as it is to sleep, eat, and other normal activities. Natural law acknowledges the existence of atheists and theist (Jonsson, 2011). The atheists are assumed to use only reason to make decisions that are deemed morally correct. For the theists, there is usually a system in most occasions that govern their decisions and thus their actions. In general, the laws that guide human action is the law of survival usually that natural action assists living organisms in everyday survival and should therefore come naturally to the human majority.
Validity of the theories
The validity of the utilitarianism action is indeed open to criticism since as explained earlier, it would be morally acceptable to kill someone painlessly and unexpectedly and give birth to another to create satisfaction thus ensuring happiness. This theory is always so faulted since it comes up around when the British used slaves making the majority happy and hence the slaves were suffering and living at deplorable standards. Another of the criticism that would challenge the validity of this theory is the fact that what would be pleasurable to one individual would be torture to another. A good example is the case of abortion. If aborting the baby is deemed as a good reason to save a mother’s life, the fetus is abortion without considering the pain it suffers. This indeed challenges the validity of this world wide accepted theory.
The validity of the deontological theory shows it has its strength and weaknesses depending on the situation at hand and the action taken. This is however, a very special theory since it stipulates that once u follow the rules that have been acknowledged to someone, one cannot be held responsible for their action despite the consequences whether good or bad. This ethic takes care of the biasness and human error that is so easy for human beings to fall to (Garnett, 2012). This shows that there is a reason to why rules are made and should be followed to the latter without any exceptions. This takes care of human mistake that would have been easily made and misconceptions that may arise due to not knowing the subject as well.
The validity of the virtue ethics is more accepted than challenged worldwide. However, the principles of this ethics are quite similar to other widely established theories and thus beg the question whether the principles of this theory could ever stand on their own without ever been associated and confused with the utilitarianism and the Kantian school of thought (Harrison & Rooney, 2012). On the other hand, this ethics are well understandable by everyone despite their background. The ethics are very understandable in the traditional sense in that one does not need to be educated but of good moral standing. The practice of its principles helps build character in the young and activates thinking since one has to decide if the action they are about to partake is morally right or wrong.
The effectiveness of the natural law is quite practical. This is true since natural law has been incorporated in many constitutions serving side by side with morality hence showing its validity. This ethic is not only valid but also vital to legal validity and the both can only work hand in hand. Such examples make the people have faith in it. However, there have been critics who claim that natural law is purely based on the older thinking that is flawed and incomplete in understanding the human dynamics.
Accountants have many options of ethics to choose from when making decisions on how to execute the resources that they have been held responsible to distribute. In most occasions, accountants use the utilitarianism theory since it is easy and straightforward. A good example is if a country chooses to move its operation from one country to another since the latter country would benefit from the employment opportunities and the new opportunities that the new company would benefit from. Such a move would be considered ethical in utilitarian principles. In most occasions, if a certain accounting change were made, it would be regarded ethical if the benefits outweigh the cost. The only challenge presents itself since it is difficult to measure benefits as compared to cost. Another challenge is since the rights of the minority may be disregarded (Adams & Balfour, 2011).
According to the deontological theory, most decisions made would differ from the utilitarian methods and decisions. In this situation, only the stipulated rules would be followed, and the rights of all individuals would be respected. The decisions that the accountant makes should be only legal and should not make decisions that they do not have to. It is legally acceptable for the accountant not to make any effort but to execute his duties as he learnt in college (Hooper & Xu, 2012).
In regards to virtue ethics, the accountant in occasions where the accounting does not stipulate how a procedure should be taken, the accountant should be able to reason and make an ethical decision on their own. In addition, regarding the auditing that a company goes through, it should not be caught with altercations since it is in the virtue of the accountant to ensure all funds go through the right procedure (Gammie, & Gammie, 2009).
Finally is the accounting procedures expected when following the natural law ethics. Since this theory emphasizes on the natural law that is incorporated in the law, it then tends to be quite similar to the deontological theory since an accountant is expected to follow the legal procedures stipulated in that specific procedure. It could also be compared to virtue ethics since they are also not expected to be caught up in scrupulous activities that might put the company or profession in jeopardy.
Adams.G. B., & Balfour. D.L., (2011). Open secrets: The masked dynamics of ethical
failures and administrative evil Government Secrecy, 19:403-419
Gammie. E., & Gammie. B., (2009). The moral awareness of future accounting and
business professionals: The implications of a gender divide. Pacific Accounting
Review. 21(1) 48 - 73
Garnett. R., (2012). Chapter 12 Schools of Thought in the Republic of Social Science:
Experts and Epistemic Monopolies 17:227-244
Hawley. J. P., (2011). Towards a Fiduciary Capitalism Perspective on Business Ethics,
Finance and Sustainability: Towards a New Paradigm? A Post-Crisis Agenda
(Critical Studies on Corporate Responsibility, Governance and Sustainability)
Harrison. J., & Rooney. D., (2012). Knowledge and its Integrity Within a Knowledge
Economy: Ethics and Wise Social Research: Ethics in Social Research 12.27-50
Hooper. K., & Xu. G., (2012). From legitimacy by character to legitimacy by image:
Ethics and accounting practices in New Zealand, Managerial Auditing Journal. 27
(8), 754 - 773
Jonsson, (2011). On utilitarianism vs. virtue ethics as foundations of economic choice
theory: Humanomics. 27 (1) 24 - 40