Bill Kinney’s Three Questions

I am creating this blog to explore accounting ethics. I’d like to understand important issues in accounting ethics and how they should be addressed.

My prof. Bill Kinney says to always start a research project by asking three questions:
1. What is the question you are asking?
2. Why is it important?
3. What do you plan to do about it?

Therefore, I’m going toanswer these three questions…

I would like to better understand the role ethics play in our profession. In this age of moral relativity, can there be “good” ethics and “bad” ethics? What are some of the ethical formulas that accountants subscribe to? What are the philosophical and economical underpinnings to these formulas? Can ethics be learned, and how?

This is important because, at least as I understand it, ethics form the bedrock of our accounting profession. At the risk of oversimplifying, I’ll say that “bad” information in accounting is “bad” because it misrepresents facts, either due to negligence or intentional fraud. “Bad” information leads to bad decisions.

I think that the best way to address these challenging questions is by study, reflection, and discussion. I hope to do all of these things in this blog. I am most hopeful that I will do it as part of a community. I would like to draw upon diverse sources: philosophical, biblical, economic, professional, and anecdotal news events. And I walk into this project expecting many surprises along the way, not quite knowing what monster we will create.


About Mark P. Holtzman

Chair of Accounting Department at Seton Hall University. PhD from The University of Texas at Austin. Worked at Deloitte's New York Office. BSBA from Hofstra University.


  1. Are you going to start posting more to this blog?

  2. I think so. I'm beginning to learn how to blog now.

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