It is extremely difficult to maintain an in-depth knowledge of tax laws which are regularly updated and modified. Knowing how to avoid ethical accounting problems whether you are looking after your own tax records or employing the services of an accountant is essential to the average citizen and business owner. Ethical accounting practices balance business responsibilities and legal accounting requirements with moral and justice based decision making. Most people who do their own tax returns and maintain their own tax records are honest people who intend to maintain all applicable state and national tax laws in the preparation of their returns and the maintenance of their business records.
Problems arise when people don’t understand or in some cases the complex tax laws that apply to their individual station. Any suggestion of unethical practices or actions on the part of a business, individual or organisation can not only lead to criminal investigation but at worst prosecution, whether or not unethical behaviour has occurred, reputations are tarnished at best.
Transparency is the Ethical Approach
Transparency is the key to avoiding ethical accounting problems and creating a business environment that ensures an open book approach to accounting is the sensible approach for all business practices. It reduces the potential for unethical practices to knowingly or unknowingly take place in the home or business.
New and existing businesses can adopt best practice principles into their work environment and should ensure that all employees subscribe to these practices and adopt them into their daily routines. Once these practices have been adopted, it is essential that someone takes responsibility for ensuring that the business continues to receive current and updated information as it applies to legal responsibilities.
It is equally important that these are accommodated into the workplace either through personally adopting them or providing personal development sessions for staff that ensures that all staff are aware of any changes or legislation that they need to implement into their work practices or in the accounting software which is being used.
Best Work Practices to Avoid Ethical Problems
Adoption of best work place practices is essential to preventing poor work habits creating the potential for ethical problems in accounting. Auditing of departments and ensuring adequate lines of accountability exist for all levels of staff and are essential to ensure that if any problems exist they can be immediately identified and resolved. Company and business culture should reward transparency and excellent work practices that encourage transparency and improved work practices amongst staff; individually and within departments.
Information Services and Ethical Accounting Practices
Online sources such as the tax department may provide regular emailed updates of changes to legislation that business, not for profit organisations and personal taxpayers need to know to maintain transparency and ethical accounting. Subscribing to this information is an excellent way of being alerted to changes as they occur.
An accounting service can provide a cost effective means of providing the initial support in developing the recording and reporting frameworks businesses and individuals use to maintain transparency and should also be able to provide follow up information services. Individuals and businesses have a civic duty to identify and avoid unethical accounting problems. It is the responsibility of each person involved to play their part and help ensure a transparent and ethical workplace.