Protecting the questionably knowledgeable user of accounting information: a defence of paternalism in the accounting profession
by Babonyire Adafula; Williams Abayaawien Atuilik; John Kwaku Amoh
International Journal of Critical Accounting (IJCA), Vol. 10, No. 2, 2018

Abstract: The accounting profession has drawn and continues to draw criticisms from the downsides of paternalism based on libertarian economic views and the false assumption of the ability of people to make rational choices that are in their best interest. The modest goal of this paper is to call for a rethink in views on the paternalistic characterisation of the accounting profession. We argue that the accounting professional possesses specialised skill, expertise, and training for which he/she is hired by the client. Second, we assert that a prerequisite for understanding and use of accounting information is 'reasonable knowledge of business and commerce'. The justifications for the paternalistic orientation of the accounting profession are overwhelmingly persuasive. The paper therefore asserts that the proto-paternalistic posture of the accounting profession is an ineluctable phenomenon. Contemporary demands for reporting complex transactions and the incessant calls for stringent oversight of accounting practice make paternalism compelling.

Online publication date: Mon, 28-May-2018

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