South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences, Vol 14, No 4 (2011)

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A comparison of ethical perceptions of earnings-management practices

Leonie Jooste

Abstract


In 1990, Bruns and Merchant (1990) surveyed earnings-management practices and asked the readership of the Harvard Business Review to rate the acceptability of those practices. Prior to the Bruns and Merchant (1990) study, the morality of short-term earnings-management was of little concern to researchers and accounting practitioners. However, in the light of increased financial frauds and failures, new and increased emphasis has been placed on the importance of the concepts of earnings quality and earnings-management practices.

Despite increased research focusing on business ethics since 1990, there is little evidence that the profession is educating accountants about earnings-management practices. This study compares the results of studies on earnings-management practices. Students and business managers were surveyed at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) and these results were compared to studies prior to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002 in the USA. The aim of the study is to determine if there have been changes in attitudes towards earnings-management practices since the acceptance of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

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EISSN 2222-3436 (Online)