An accountant and Senior Partner, Ernst & Young, Kwadwo Mpeani Brantuo, has urged accounting students to endeavour to imbibe and exhibit high ethical behaviour when they formally begin practising.
He said as potential accountants, it was important for them to distinguish themselves even while at school by exhibiting high ethical and moral standards as a guide into the future.
Mr Brantuo gave the advice when he addressed students at the second edition of a lecture dubbed; ‘Alumni Spotlight Series’.
It was organised by the Faculty of Accounting and Finance (FAF) of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) in collaboration with the UPSA Global Alumni Association in Accra on April 28.
Mr Brantuo, who spoke on the topic, “Ethical Behaviour Will Take You Far”, said accountants were the backbone of every organisation and, therefore, failure to apply high ethics in their work could eventually lead to lack of public confidence in their profession.
“If you want to make it, you have to respect ethics, because in the real world of work, ethical behaviour can take you very far. Without it, you might not finish the journey. Ethics can lead to corporate and professional success,” he said.
Mr Brantuo noted that currently, many professionals are failing because of ethical behaviour, and outlined some breaches which if students engaged in could negatively affect their chosen profession.
These include using unapproved means and fake certificates to gain admission, contracting people to write their project works and rigging in students’ elections.
“How could aspiring young leaders engage in these? Excellence and competitiveness are totally compatible with honesty and integrity,” he said.
According to him, the current generation glorify thieves and rogues with the belief that ‘all is well that ends well,’ and indicated that people who normally cheat are generally seen as weak.
“There is a penchant to get rich by any means. If you don’t stand for anything, you will fall for anything. You should have some values in you. Build your life and career on an ethical foundation with stones of honesty, character, faith, integrity and loyalty,” he urged.
He added that, “being ethical is not only the right way; it is also the most practical way to live. The world will be chaotic without ethics and every professional is like a wild animal without ethics because all of us are potential thieves. We need to be careful,” he said.
Upholding code of ethics
Giving highlights on the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, Mr Brantuo noted that the fundamental principles within the code of ethics was all about common sense, humility, objectivity, self-discipline and looking carefully before one leaps.
He said that accountants needed to obtain a proper understanding of the problem facing human civilisation today, which include the loss of human values such as integrity, compassion respect and self-control.
“We are constantly faced with temptation to compromise ethics and take a short cut road to riches. Integrity and uprightness must be the salt that preserves your life. You can never tell the bigger opportunities that will be opened for you in future. Do not mess up your life now,” he urged.
The Dean of the FAF, Prof Raymond Dziwornu, said the series was instituted to give the alumni the opportunity to share with students their experiences and events in industry to help complement what they are learning in class.
“Your qualification will take you there but your character will bring you back. If you want to make it, you have to respect ethics,” he urged.