Authors: Anthony Tinker; Aida Sy
Addresses: Baruch College, City University of New York, One Bernard Baruch Way, New York, NY 10010, USA ' Department of Business Management, Farmingdale State College, State University of New York, School of Business Building, Room 307 2350 Broadhollow Road Farmingdale, New York 11735, USA
Abstract: Accounting can never be 'neutral' or 'independent' vis-à-vis its relationship to major social conflicts and controversies. This is a major implication of the case studies. 'Neutrality' or 'independence' has a fairly precise meaning in this context and is not based on rather vague notions 'evenhandedness', 'refusing to take sides' or a 'policy of non-interference'. Policies of 'inaction', far from being 'neutral' or 'independent', are highly partisan if they involve 'standing-by' and allowing injustices to happen. Many policies of 'non-interference' are, in reality, conspiracies with the status-quo: rather than being neutral and independent, they represent neo-conservative political stances. Professional independence and neutrality is defined here in terms of the capacity to affect social outcomes (usually the distribution of income or wealth). Conceived in these terms, there are very few cases where accounting can be said to be 'neutral' or 'independent'. 'Inaction' or 'non-interference' would not be apolitical or neutral according to this definition if, by refusing to influence a situation; one allows a particular social result to prevail over others.
Keywords: accounting profession; concepts of independence; neutrality; accounting theories; professions; policies.
International Journal of Economics and Accounting, 2017 Vol.8 No.1, pp.61 - 66
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