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Current Issue, Volume 20

AIS-Ethics as an ethical domain: A response to Guragai, Hunt, Neri and Taylor (2017) and Dillard and Yuthas (2002)
Michael Alles
Published January 2020
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In this paper, I analyze the claim that AIS-ethics is a distinct subset of the broader fields of accounting and ethical studies. Guragai Hunt, Neri and Taylor (2017), building on Dillard and Yuthas (2002), call for the creation of a subset of business ethics with the intent to not only apply existing ethical concepts to AIS activities, but to establish “AIS-ethics” as a distinct area of practice and research in its own right. Their objective is for AIS-ethics to play the same role in AIS that Bioethics does in medicine. In order to analyze this argument, I analyze the examples provided in the literature on the impact of accounting information systems on ethics. My analysis indicates that there is a need to be more specific as to where exactly ethical issues arise in AIS, and most critical of all, why they do so. Too often, the existence of ethical problems in AIS is presumed to be so self-evident that no further explanation is needed—or provided—about what those ethical issues are, or what the circumstances are that give rise to them. Moreover, the behavior of a decision-maker in an AIS context is sometimes attributed to ethical considerations when a more detailed analysis indicates that the underlying cause of that behavior is either economic and/or not directly impacted by the presence of the AIS system. To remedy this lack of clarity as to what is an ethical problem in AIS, I argue that a necessary condition for individuals to consider that they face a decision with ethical consequences is that they perceive that there is a conflict between their sense of morality and the other sources of guidance relevant to making that decision.

Overview and impact of blockchain on auditing
Derrick Bonyuet
Published April 2020
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Blockchain has become very popular as the underlying technology powering Bitcoin. However, the benefits behind this technology further surpass just supporting cryptocurrencies. Blockchain can be defined as a digital ledger that allows to capture transactions conducted among several parties on real-time and serves as a decentralized database where each participant keeps an identical copy of the ledger. The appeal behind blockchain resides on its peer-to-peer network infrastructure along cryptographic capabilities. This combination enables users to conduct transactions without a trusted third-party intermediary. Benefits in accounting are even more promising as blockchain will provide a triple entry accounting system where all transactions are immutable and have been time stamped, recorded on real-time and encrypted (Alarcon & Ng, 2018). The purpose of this paper is to review extant research on this technology and assess the impact of blockchain in the audit profession, including new risks, change in procedures and additional opportunities.

Semantic analysis: Can MD&A word choice increase stock price of American publicly traded banks disseminating using Twitter?
Daniel H. Boylan, Mathew Thomas, Evidence Matangi and Marni Brown
Published May 2020
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Social media has become a part of the International framework. Use has risen exponentially and organizations that have relied on traditional channels of communication are considering its use. Researchers studied the impact of semantics on organizations disseminating financial information using Twitter. This study sought to understand the impact of word strength in communicating with investors. This study included 34 American publicly traded banks over four quarters or a sample size of 136. Seventeen used Twitter while seventeen did not. The researchers analyzed the semantic content of these messages. Using a predictive model, researchers compared the cumulative abnormal returns associated with the announcement. Researchers concluded that using Twitter did not positively impact stock price. Researchers also found that banks using Twitter used more powerful words in communicating. This research advances understanding the role social media and semantics can play to disseminate financial information.

Assessing the automation potentials of management reporting processes
Benjamin Matthies
Published July 2020
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Digitalization is driving the automation of accounting processes. It is estimated that up to 70% of administrative activities could be carried out by automated, i.e. rule-based sequences, which promises a considerable increase in productivity and efficiency for repetitive, standardized processes. In recent years, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has been increasingly and successfully used for such purposes. However, before implementing a RPA solution, it is essential to evaluate the automation potentials. In the literature, such evaluations are based almost exclusively on process-oriented factors, such as the frequency and duration of processes or the degree of standardization. The assessment of potential cost benefits is often carried out secondarily and on the basis of cost estimates at a higher level. In order to close this gap and to make the cost-based assessment of automation potentials more soundly assessable, this article demonstrates a corresponding approach using Time-Driven Activity-Based Costing (TD ABC). For this purpose, a typical example from accounting is used for a demonstration with a management reporting process.

The U.S. versus international ethics codes for accountants: A computerized content analysis
Hoseoup Lee, Patrick Wing Yin Leung, Gim S. Seow and Kinsun Tam
Published October 2020
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This study applies computerized content analysis techniques, including term frequency analysis, readability index, and cosine similarity, to compare the U.S. versus international ethics codes for professional accountants. It reveals and compares new characteristics of these ethics codes. The U.S. ethics code is found to be less readable but more reflective of moral values concerning social order. The international ethics code emphasizes the independence and confidentiality principles, while the U.S. ethics code emphasizes independence and responsibilities. There are more similarities within the U.S. ethics code and within the international ethics code than between these ethics codes.

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