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About the discrepancies of the Accounting Ethics of China and that of the US
As the development of the Market Economy and the Globalization, more and more financial scandals come into the centre stage of the public concern. As the current situation stands, the fact pushed us to study deeply about why the atmosphere of the accounting ethics is like this.
with the rapid development of the certified public accountant professional, their professional moral attention increasingly. Various countries develop career moral code, standard, to strengthen the certified public accountant professional consciousness. The United States is the registered accountant's professional of the most developed countries, their professional moral standards also standard and comprehensive.
next, let's discus About the discrepancies of the Accounting of China and that of the US.
First, some scholars in our country summarized the reasons to several points of view.
1. What are on the frontline are the corrupt of professional ethics, and the greedy of authority and profits. Because of the more stresses of the lives and the jobs, and the vanity of the world, someone may lose himself in the pursuit of luxury living and personal pleasure, and may yield to the temptations of power, beauty and money. As a result, the individual will began to fraud, and then make an irreversible loss that is hung enough not only to the company that employed him but also the motherland that brought him up.
2. Next reason is that the person has to do the wrong thing because of the pressure from his leaders, or he will lose his job that he lives on. And at the same time, the leaders also have their helplessness that if they do not do so, they will lose their company.
3. The third reason is that the person, himself, lacks professional ethics awareness and professional competence. Compare to other industries, the accounting industry is real less attractive. It is thought that the job is of no room to improve, no enthusiasm, and even lower salary. So it always makes the people have unbalanced mind and no passion, work sloppily, and be irresponsible. So the consequence goes without saying.
4. The government can not refute its responsibility. The full-of-flaw supervision system causes the public weak legal consciousness. In some extent, the internal discipline less control and slacken management prove the soil for the corrupt.
5. The last but not least is that the setup of the rules in the company is just formalism. The company may employ the people without accounting license, and fair them randomly.
However, if the truth is just like the scholars statement, the same things more or less should also happen in the United States. The reasons they give out seems to be suitable to every country that is in the Market Economy. Are there no unemployment, no competition, no pressure of lives in other countries, especially under the economic crisis? The answer is apparently NO.
Then what is the real reason that can explain the phenomenon is what we have to think over and over. We can begin to learn with the traits of each accounting culture of the two countries, China and the United States.
The accounting culture in the United States, fist focus on the vocationalism ( )that in the low uncertainty avoidance, small power distance and individualism focuses of the social and cultural environment, the United States' accounting cultural respects to their professional judgment can to tolerated. Then equal rights are being focused on. Additionally, more willing is to trust others. They stress the professional-oriented and less dependent on the laws and regulations. The government in the accounting management just play limited role. As professors, the accounting should have high professional ability, but at the same time, they have high social status, and strong authority.( ) Furthermore, the guideline and the systems are developed by the accounting professional bodies or independent agencies so that it gives enough room to the individual judgment and higher sense of self-control ability.
second, the culture emphasizes on the flexibility. Because of the social cultural environment in the United States, on the accounting development and implementation, they stress the flexibility and selectivity. The laws regulations tend to stipulate only the provisions of principle so that people can deal with specific problem by various approaches. ( ) For example, if the US accounting standards on accounting method choices consistent flexible on the issue, and as long as it is along with cost-effective, the individuals can be allowed to implement the accounting change. This is from the perspective of personality development and focus on more about people's initiative. Consequently, the accountants can tolerate the differences on a higher level, and be receptive to new things.
Third, the accounting tends to radicalism and accounting information opened. American emphasize on individual achievement and personal performance. They are willing to take risks and tend to reflect the truth. The accounting assessment method is apt to on the optimistic bias. And the recognition and measurement of accounting elements are more radical and innovative. Accountants are needed to meet the requirements of the various uncertainties as well as to have some sense of innovation. Moreover, the low uncertainty-avoidance cultures of the country provide a good external environment to foster this culture of respected creativeness of accounting.
Then we can make a conclusion that the United States tends to transparent information, to require large amount of information disclosure, and to emphasize true reflection. Under the condition like this, influenced by the microscopic atmosphere, the managers and the accountants are more willing to disclose more information. In the meantime, the accounting information users will require higher transparency of the revelation. Consequently, more true information will be disclosed so that a more open accounting environment comes out.
Then let us have a look at the accounting traits of China, which are concluded as the following points.
First of all, the legal control takes precedence over the vocationalism. The accounting environment in China is society-oriented; that is the government tends to use the laws, regulations and other means of standardizing accounting rules to limit the mandatory accounting practice. This way of management is liable to neglect the individual professional judgments. At this point, compared with the United States, the professional level of accounting in our country is lower. Because the accountants must deal with the stuff entirely according to the laws and regulations, it is reasonable that the accountants lack ability to deal with the various situations. Either the self-control capacity or the professional skill has a very long distance to catch up with that of the United States.
Next, the consistent is considered to be of paramount importance. The accounting value that emphasizes on the unity tends to use legal coercion to standardize every detail, and stresses a very high degree of unity in the whole country, including the accounting subjects, and the structure and the content of the financial reports. Chinese culture advocates collectivism. The ideology which is reflected in the accounting system and the accounting standard requires uniform accounting practices of different enterprises and the consistent accounting methods during different accounting period. This methodology just provides little room for the professional accounting treatment to adapt local conditions.
The third trait is the preference stability and the low level of information transparency. Generally speaking, the smaller the individualism is, the higher degree of the avoidance of uncertainty and the lower the rigidity is, and the higher the conservation of accounting value is. In the Chinese culture, we believe the assertion that is â€œ to prepare for uncertaintyâ€. This apparently indicates our stable culture identity in several different aspects. So the preference of the choices which are about the accounting methods, the measurement of the accounting elements, and the content of the financial report, confirmed by the accounting laws and regulations of China, echoes the conservation attitude of the cultural identity.
To sum up, the characteristics of accounting of China can be summarized to the collectivism and the authoritism. Compared with the United States, our information transparency is not high enough, while that system of America is recognized as a transparent and open model. However, the system of our country is a subtle and mysterious sample. Such cultural differences directly reflected in the accounting information disclosure. Matters required to be disclosed as many as possible and as detailed as possible in the United States, but the companies in our country are reluctant or delayed to disclose the announcement of major decisions related to the annual report, and the reports are also lack of providing the totally methodology of measurement and the fair revealed of the data. Managers and accountants tend to keep the business information confidential, and have the tendency only to show the management activities and capital financing activities which are closely related to the disclosure of accounting information. They try their best to avoid the transparency of the information to the public. And because of the without-saying rules, the companies will not use the information that is disclosed.
The fact seems that the system in the United States is superior to that of our country, but it is not exactly. Neither of them takes automatic precedence over the other. To judge which of the systems is the most perfect must be predicated in part on the same assumption. So without the identical basis, the statement will be arbitrary. Although there are so many differences, not only in culture but also in the stage that the societyâ€™s development is on, between our country and the United States, many experiences can be used for reference, especially on the internationalization aspect.
Now the macro market environment is changing all the time, only depending on fragmentary real information is not acceptable any more. The more various the market is, then the more true information are needed. And the more information is needed, more useful it comes to be. So to fit the situation, we need to change some intrinsic believes.
However, the current is that the accounting information is full of serious distortion. If the individual disclose complete real information, it means that he gives up his initiative to get potencial profit and his unwritten right to be lucrative. Then, this part of initiative and right will come to the individuals who did not give up them, while, simultaneously, the profit will come to the individuals, too. Over time, no individual is willing to give up the initiative and the right. That is why the atmosphere is like what we see now.
Yet, can we attribute the problem to the flawed system? But actually, we have more laws and regulations items of the accounting. Therefore, neither strengthening the supervision nor improving the policies is the effective solution. The essential point should be focused on the values about the accounting ethics of the whole country. Yet on the thresold of the innovation, serious laws and regulation is crucial, while the most important thing is the laws and the regulations are really implemented rather than formalism. In my own point of view, the fundamental element is to change the minds of the accountants. It is real a difficult thing. And this challenge needs several departmentsâ€™ cooperation. The parts in the cooperation include not only the accounting industry itself, but also the law enforcement department, the audit department, the education sector and such forth.
Every revolution and perfection can not be completed at one stroke. The deep-rooted concept and the set-type thought can not be changed at right time. To be strong enough to face the uncertainty is a long way to go. What we need to do is to change the values of accounting step by step, finally to make the managers and the accountants to recognize the folly of the intentional overstatement and the deliberate underestimation.
Especially as China's CPA they should take the leading roles ,stick to their professional ethics, Such as: integrity, independence, objectivity and impartiality ,Professional competence and should be focused, confidential, good professional conduct. If this tentative plan can come true, I am convinced that the atmosphere and the environment of accounting will be more flexible----enough to face the risk, more harmonious-----enough to make out an accurate judgment, more advanced-----enough to be an outstanding model.