School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Andrea Ray

Primary Subject Area

Business Administration, General; Business Administration, Management; Business Administration, Accounting; Education, General; Education, Business; Education, Adult and Continuing


accounting ethics education, decision-making preparedness, ethical decision-making


Accounting | Business | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


The purpose of this phenomenological study was not to evaluate efficacy of ethical training for current accounting programs, but to understand the perceptions of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) for the influence of accounting ethical education requirements on their ethical decision-making preparedness. The study used pre-interview surveys, face-to-face interviews, and timeline drawings to acquire data in four principle areas: CPA ethical decision-making preparedness, accounting program ethics educational requirements, accounting program ethics learning activities, and CPA perceptions of necessary changes to accounting program ethics requirements. Results from Virginia CPA perceptions indicate the definition of ethical decision-making as doing the right thing at all times, ethical decision-making preparedness as the education and experience to determine the right course of action, case studies as most effective ethics learning activities, lack of required ethics education in accounting programs, as well as increased stand-alone ethics courses and ethics incorporated in all accounting courses as necessary changes to current accounting programs. Other emergent themes from Virginia CPA perceptions include CPA reluctance to participate in context-based research, CPA Firm efforts to encourage CPAs to violate guidelines, and CPAs walking away from the industry to avoid pressure to violate guidelines.