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.

DOI: 10.1504/IJAAPE.2005.009591

International Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Performance Evaluation, 2005 Vol.2 No.4, pp.347 - 355

Published online: 02 May 2006 *

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