Final Project Guidelines and Rubric

The final project for this course is a case study in which students will select a recent real-world accounting ethics case from the last 5 years, involving earnings mismanagement, fraud, poor internal controls, or poor corporate governance. From the perspective of an accounting professional, each student will analyze responsibilities to stakeholders while considering theoretical models of ethical behavior, the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, emerging technologies, regulatory activities, and (if applicable) international accounting standards.

Overview

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Unfortunately, there is no shortage of examples of unethical situations and ethics violations within corporations. Some cases produce wide-ranging and

devastating effects on all parties involved. Whether it is reduced investor confidence, reductions in a company’s credit rating, or even bankruptcy, these

situations are important to analyze in order to determine effective strategy for avoiding ethical obstacles in the future.

You are encouraged to put yourself in the place of both the involved employees as well as the stakeholders. You are encouraged to select a significant case that is personally interesting and/or relevant to you professionally.

This assessment will evaluate your mastery with respect to the following course outcomes:

 Analyze legal, social, and economic developments for their defining role in ethical expectations of the business and accounting profession

 Assess the ethical responsibilities of professional accountants to internal and external stakeholders relating to the financial reporting process

 Apply theoretical models of ethical behavior to contemporary accounting issues

 Evaluate emerging technologies, regulatory activities, and international accounting standard setting for their impact on the ethical behavior of accounting professionals

 Develop an ethical framework for setting appropriate standards of conduct for stakeholders in the accounting process

Prompt

Your casestudyshouldanswerthefollowingprompt:What ethical framework should be utilized when setting appropriate standards of conduct for

professional accountants in order to promote ethical values and decision making? Specifically, the following criticalelements must be addressed:

I. Background

What company is the subject of the case? Why did you choose this company/ethical situation? What ethics violations were discovered? II. EthicalViolations

a) Who were the main participants involved in perpetrating the violations? Discuss the ethical responsibilities of professional accountants to the following stakeholders regarding the financial reporting process. How were the stakeholders affected by the ethics violations?

i. Internal

ii. External

b) What AICPACodes of Professional Conduct were violated?

i. What is the importance of independence, when is independence required, and why must you be independent both in fact and in appearance?

ii. Did the main participants adhere to moral and ethical principles? Soundness of moral character? Honesty? In other words, discuss the

case as it relates to the integrityof the main participants.

iii. Did the main stakeholders, including the professional accountants, maintain their objectivity? Explain.

c) What were the implicationsof these violations on the business and accounting profession from the following perspectives?

i. Legal

ii. Social

iii. Economic

d) Does the company have a specific code of ethics? Were any of the components of the code violated? Discuss. III. TheoreticalModels

a) What ethical models were violatedin this case? Provide detailed rationale to support your claim.

b) How could ethical models have been used to produce betterdecisionsand outcomes? In other words, compare and contrast ethical models for their potential contributions to better decision-making.

IV. ExternalInfluencesandInternationalAccountingStandards

a) What impact, if any, do regulatoryactivitieshave on the ethics of this case? If not applicable to this case, discuss possible overall impacts of regulatory activities for ethical situations in general.

b) What impacts, if any, do internationalaccountingstandardshave on the ethics of this case? If not applicable to this case, discuss possible overall impacts of international accounting standards for ethical situations in general.

c) What impacts, if any, do emergingtechnologieshave on the ethics of this case? If not applicable to this case, discuss possible overall impacts on ethical situations in general.

V. EthicalFramework

a) Propose an ethical framework for setting appropriate standards of conduct for professional accountants producing a higher level of ethical values and decision making, as they relate to this case. The framework should include the ways in which management will be involved in the process and what company resources should be available to employees to help make them more ethical choices.

b) Could internalcontrolshave been utilized to produce more ethical behavior? Would a plan by corporate governance be an appropriate vehicle for delivering these internal controls to encourage ethical behavior? Discuss.

Milestone One: BackgroundandEthical Violations

Milestones

In Module Four, you will submit the first draft of Section I: Background and Section II: Ethical Violations of the final project. You will submit this draft to the instructor for feedback, which you will incorporate into the final version of the final project. Thismilestoneisgraded withtheMilestoneOneRubric.

Milestone Two: TheoreticalModels andExternal Influences andInternational AccountingStandards

In Module Seven, you will submit the first draft of Sections III and IV of the final project. You will submit this draft to the instructor for feedback, which you will incorporate into the final version of the final project. Thismilestoneisgraded withtheMilestone TwoRubric.

Final Submission: EthicsCaseStudy

In ModuleNine, you will incorporate your instructor’s feedback from Milestones One and Two. Submit your completed final draft of the ethics case study,

including Section V, Ethical Framework. Thissubmissionisgraded withtheFinalProjectRubric.

FinalProjectRubric

GuidelinesforSubmission: Students should submit a well-developed analysis of the ethical framework utilized when setting appropriate standards of conduct

for professional accountants in order to promote ethical values and decision making. The paper should be 12–15 pages long and include a minimum of 8 references, which should be peer-reviewed scholarly research.

CriticalElementsExemplary(100%)Proficient(90%)NeedsImprovement(70%)NotEvident(0%)Value
BackgroundMeets “Proficient” criteria andexpands on the background and ethical violations using a variety of supporting researchDescribes the situationalbackground of the case including a brief description of the ethical violationsDescribes the situationalbackground of the case, but omits key elements and/or ethical violationsDoes not describe the situationalbackground of the case or does not provide a brief description of the ethical violations5
EthicalViolations:Responsibilities(Internal)Meets “Proficient” criteria andexpands on the impact beyond immediate internalstakeholders, encompassing theinternal environmentAssesses the ethicalresponsibilities of professional accountants in relation to internal stakeholders, including how the stakeholders were affected by the violationsAssesses the ethicalresponsibilities of professional accountants in relation to internal stakeholders and how the stakeholders were affected by the violations, but assessment is missing key participants or fails to adequately address the impacts to internal stakeholdersDoes not assess the ethicalresponsibilities of professional accountants in relation to internal stakeholders and how the stakeholders were affected by the violations5
EthicalViolations:Responsibilities(External)Meets “Proficient” criteria andexpands on the impact beyond immediate external stakeholders, encompassing the external environmentAssesses the ethicalresponsibilities of professional accountants in relation to external stakeholders, including how the stakeholders were affected by the violationsAssesses the ethicalresponsibilities of professional accountants in relation to external stakeholders and how the stakeholders were affected by the violations, but assessment is missing key participants or fails to adequately address the impacts to external stakeholdersDoes not assess the ethicalresponsibilities of professional accountants in relation to external stakeholders and how the stakeholders were affected by the violations5
EthicalViolations: AICPACodes (Independence)Meets “Proficient” criteria, and examination includes harm caused by independence violationsExamines independence-type ethical violations (as defined by the AICPA Code) within the case and addresses the importance of independence in fact and appearanceExamines independence-type ethical violations (as defined by the AICPA Code) within the case, but omits key independence violations or does not address the importance of independence in fact and appearanceDoes not examine independence-type ethical violations within the case3
EthicalViolations:AICPACodes(Integrity)Meets “Proficient” criteria, andexamination includes harm caused by integrity violationsExamines ethical violations inregard to the integrity (as defined by the AICPA Code) of the main participants within the caseExamines ethical violations inregard to the integrity (as defined by the AICPA Code) of the main participants within the case, but omits key integrity violations or examination lacks detailDoes not examine ethicalviolations of the main participants within the case3
EthicalViolations:AICPACodes(Objectivity)Meets “Proficient” criteria, andexamination includes specific examples illustrating objectivity or the lack thereofExamines the objectivity (asdefined by the AICPA Code) of main stakeholders within the case, including a detailed analysis of the objectivity of the professional accountantsExamines the objectivity (asdefined by the AICPA Code) of main stakeholders within the case, but does not include a detailed analysis of the objectivity of the professional accountants, or overall examination is lacking in detailDoes not examine the objectivityof main stakeholders within the case3
EthicalViolations:Implications(Legal)Meets “Proficient” criteria andexpands the analysis beyond obvious legal implicationsAssesses legal implications ofethical violations on the business and accounting professionAssesses legal implications ofethical violations on the business and accounting profession, but analysis omits key implications or fails to relate the implications directly to the caseDoes not assess the legalimplications of ethical violations on the business and accounting profession4
EthicalViolations:Implications(Social)Meets “Proficient” criteria andexpands assessment beyond obvious social implicationsAssesses social implications ofethical violations on the business and accounting professionAssesses social implications ofethical violations on the business and accounting profession, but analysis omits key implications or fails to relate the implications directly to the caseDoes not assess socialimplications of the violations on the business and accounting profession4
EthicalViolations:Implications(Economic)Meets “Proficient” criteria andexpands the analysis beyond direct economic impactsAssesses economic implicationsof ethical violations on the business and accounting professionAssesses economic implicationsof ethical violations on the business and accounting profession, but analysis omits key implications or fails to relate the implications directly to the caseDoes not assess economicimplications of the violations on the business and accounting profession4
EthicalViolation: CodeofEthicsMeets “Proficient” criteria and includes a discussion on how the company’s Code of Ethics could have been used to prevent the violationsDetermines if the ethical violations identified in the case violate components of the company’s own Code of Ethics and describes each violation in detailDetermines if the ethical violations identified in the case violate components of the company’s own Code of Ethics, but does not adequately describe the violations or omits key violationsDoes not determine if the ethical violations identified in the case violate components of the company’s own Code of Ethics5
TheoreticalModels:ViolatedMeets “Proficient” criteria anduses scholarly research in justification of selected modelApplies theoretical models tothe chosen case to determine which model was violated and provides justification of claimApplies theoretical models tothe chosen case to determine which model was violated, but does not provide adequate justification of claim or omits key models in application to the caseDoes not apply theoreticalmodels to the chosen case8
TheoreticalModels:BetterDecisionsMeets “Proficient” criteria anddetermines which models would be the most effective to the ethics in this caseCompares and contrastsapplicable theoretical models for the ways they could have contributed to better decisionsCompares and contraststheoretical models for the ways they could have contributed to better decisions, but does not utilize applicable models, or discussion is lacking in detailDoes not compare and contrasttheoretical models for the ways they could have contributed to better decisions5
Influencesand Standards: RegulatoryActivitiesMeets “Proficient” criteria and relates the impacts of regulations to the overall ethical environmentEvaluates the impact of regulatory activities on the ethics in this case or, if not applicable to this case, the overall impact on ethical situations in generalEvaluates the impact of regulatory activities on the ethics of the case or in general, but omits key relevant regulatory activities or fails to apply them directly to the caseDoes not evaluate the impact of regulatory activities on ethical situations4
InfluencesandStandards: International Accounting StandardsMeets “Proficient” criteria,including both research and examples. Evaluates the impact that international accounting standards have on the ethical environment, including the impact on this caseEvaluates the impact ofinternational accounting standards on the ethics in this case or explains why international standards were not consideredEvaluates the impact ofinternational accounting standards on the ethics in the case or explains why international standards were not considered, but evaluationmisses key impacts, fails to apply them directly to the case, or explanation of why international standards were not consideredis not adequately detailedDoes not evaluate the impact ofinternational accounting standards on the ethics of this case or explain whyinternational standards were not considered4
InfluencesandStandards:EmergingTechnologiesMeets “Proficient” criteria anduses examples to draw connections between technology and ethicsAnalyzes the impact of emergingtechnology on ethical violations within the case or, or if not applicable to this case, the overall impact on ethical situations in generalAnalyzes the impact of emergingtechnology on the ethical violations within the case or the overall impact on ethical situations in general, but analysis misses key impacts or analysis is lacking in detailDoes not analyze the impact ofemerging technology on the ethical violations5
EthicalFramework: ProposalMeets “Proficient” criteria, and the framework is comprehensive and multi-dimensionalProposes an ethical framework for setting appropriate standards of conduct, includingmanagement’s involvement andsuggested employee resourcesProposes an ethical framework for setting appropriate standards of conduct, butframework is not fully developed or is missing key elements, such as management’s involvementor suggested employee resourcesDoes not propose an ethical framework for setting appropriate standards of conduct12
EthicalFramework: InternalControlsMeets “Proficient” criteria, and evaluation considers this case as well as other environmentsEvaluates the promotion of ethical behaviors through the use of internal controls, including corporate governanceEvaluates the promotion of ethical behaviors through the use of internal controls, but evaluation does not include corporate governance or discussion is lacking in detailDoes not evaluate the promotion of ethical behaviors through the use of internal controls10
ArticulationofResponseMeets “Proficient” criteria andhas excellent syntax and sentence constructionSubmission has no major errorsrelated to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organizationSubmission has major errorsrelated to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that negatively impact readability and articulation of main ideasSubmission has critical errorsrelated to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that prevent understanding of ideas11
EarnedTotal100%

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