accy 305 Financial Accounting
This task is inspired by the article Chabrak, N. and Craig, R. (2013), “Student imaginings, cognitive dissonance and critical thinking”, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 24, pp91-104. In this case study, students were asked to provide their responses to the collapse of Enron. You are advised to read this article to gain ideas for your own work. Your focus in this task will be on one of the entities that appeared before the recent Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Banking Royal Commission) The Banking Royal Commission (2018/9) Essentially, a number of entities were asked to provide information to, and appear before, the Banking Royal Commission, detailing instances of misconduct or conduct falling below community standards and expectations that occurred in the past 10 years. The Banking Royal Commission was presided over by Justice Kenneth Hayne, and his findings were delivered in two stages: The Interim Report (September 2018) and the Final Report (February 2019). It became apparent during the course of the Banking Royal Commission that many of these entities had focussed on meeting the financial needs of shareholders and directors at the expense of other stakeholders, particularly customers, and often in conflict with community standards on good corporate behaviour. In the executive summary to the interim report, Commissioner Hayne asks “Why did it [poor conduct] happen? Too often, the answer seems to be greed – the pursuit of short term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty” (2018, p xix). In many cases, the focus of these entities was on the sale and profitability of products and services, and not on meeting the genuine needs of their customers (https://financialservices.royalcommission.gov.au/Documents/interim-report/interim-report-exec-summary.pdf ) Required: 1.Choose an entity that was examined during the Banking Royal Commission. 2.Conduct research relevant to the entity selected – including any submissions to the Banking Royal Commission, background papers, commentary in interim and final reports, as well as any other related material in the press, websites or in academic articles. Attention should be on the ethical dimension of the case. 3.Reflect on what you have learned in the context of ACCY305. 4.Present your understanding of, and your response to, the case in academic essay form. Essentially, you have the freedom to design your own question, follow the research that interests you, and present your understanding in a way that has meaning to you. To stimulate thought, you may consider the following questions: ?Was there any evidence of ethical misbehaviour by company directors, executives or accountants? ?Should responsibility for the unethical behaviour be taken by individuals, or extended more broadly to the sector or the community? ?Does this case reflect broader systemic problems (eg. the privileging of the needs of the shareholders at the expense of other stakeholders, the mechanisms of capitalism, the taken-for-granted neoliberal ideology, the globalisation phenomenon)? ?What role do shareholders (especially large institutional shareholders) or financial analysts play in the behaviour of the entity? ?What role did executive remuneration or employee incentive schemes play in the behaviour of people within the entity? ?What is the difference between legal behaviour and ethical behaviour? ?Who were the stakeholders affected by the misconduct, and how were they impacted? ?What role did accounting play in the behaviour of the entity (and its officials)? ?How does the behaviour of the entity (and its officials) challenge the view of accounting and financial reporting as technical and objective practices? ?What do you think this case means for professional accountants? ?What lessons can regulators (eg. ASIC or APRA) take from the case? ?How does the case resonate with societal values, your culture or religion, your educational background, ideas around your future career? ?What were the responses from corporate representatives? How did the Commissioner and/or the Counsel Assisting the Commissioner deal with these responses? ?Do you think the findings of the Banking Royal Commission will impact on the future operations of the entity or on the sector more broadly? ?Do you see any place for the examination of such cases in accounting education? These points are not to be used as a list of headings for your work. You should not confine your submission to a technical discussion or description of the case. Rather, the aim is for you to explore the ethical dimensions of the case. You should try to make connections between the case and your own knowledge, culture or experiences.
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