Journal of Applied Business Research
Although the AICPA has established the Professional Code of Conduct to deal with the behavior of CPAs, research has also shown that an individual's behavior is affected by his or her personal values. While there has been considerable research of the ethical behavior of business professionals and business students, there has been limited research of the personal values of public accountants. This study was designed to examine the values and value types underlie the ethics of Big Six public accountants. A survey instrument, consisting of 56 values, developed and validated by Schwartz was administered to audit and tax professionals at each of the Big Six public accounting firms in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Value types were derived from the 56 values. The results of the study show there are differences in values and value types by gender, area of practice (audit, tax) professional level (staff, senior, manager, partner) and firm. Although the rankings of the values and value types differed within each category (i. e. , gender, area of practice), there was considerable uniformity in the rankings of the most important and least important values, and value types. The most important values are Family Security, Healthy, Self-respect, Honest and True Friendship, while the least important values are Accept My Portion in Life, Daring, Unit With Nature, Detachment and Social Power. Benevolence and Achievement are the most important value types, while Tradition and Power are the least important.