Title: Materialism and materiality
Authors: Michael K. Shaub
Addresses: School of Business and Administration, St. Mary's University, One Camino Santa Maria, San Antonio, TX 78228-8607, USA
Abstract: Accountants and auditors in recent financial scandals have been pictured as materialistic, simply calculating consequences and ignoring duties. This paper potentially explains this apparently materialistic behaviour in what has historically been a truthtelling profession. Materiality, which drives audit priorities, has been institutionalised in accounting and auditing standards. But a materiality focus inherently implies that all amounts that are not |materially| misstated are equally true. This leads to habitual immaterial misstatements and promotes the view that auditors do not care about truth at all. Auditors| lack of commitment to truth undermines their claim to be professionals in the classic sense.
Keywords: materiality; materialism; consequentialist; truth telling; auditor ethics; accountants; auditors; standards; accounting; auditing.
International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation, 2005 Vol.2 No.4, pp.347 - 355
Published online: 02 May 2006 *Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article