Writing a PhD management accounting dissertation is a tough job, and you may feel frustrated while working on this project. We have gathered a list of the top famous ethical dilemmas faced by most students while working on their papers.

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Let’s get back to the topic. 

Ethical Dilemmas in PhD Management Accounting Dissertation Writing

Business ethics deals with the decisions that are related to what is good and what is bad, depending on the moral obligations and duties of a person. Your management accounting practices should be fair and just so that there is no discrepancy in the financial statements of the entity.

However, when viewed in practical life, you must always be prepared for any unexpected managerial accounting risk management that may befall you. Unethical practices in financial institutions manifest themselves in a lot of ways, and some of those dilemmas are given below:

1. Conflict of Interest

So, the top of all the ethical dilemmas that you are most likely to come across when writing a PhD management accounting dissertation is the conflict of interest. When there is a conflict of interest, you should remove the concerned individual from the list of the stakeholders of your firm. 

Disclosure and conflict of interest emerge if the accountant tries to protect certain pieces of information. By the accounting principles, the accountants need to be objective about their roles, which becomes difficult to undertake when there is a conflict of interest. 

As expressed in the research paper Successful Ethical Decision-Making Practices from the Professional Accountants’ Perspective, here is how the author shows the impact of dishonest reporting on the decision-making powers of an entity:

2. Manipulation of Financial Records

Another ethical dilemma that you may choose to disclose in your PhD management accounting dissertation is when accountants manipulate the financial records to suit their interests. It is a kind of corporate fraud that can also be considered a high-profile crime. 

Manipulation of this sort sends wrong signals to the stakeholders because the information they receive about the business transactions is falsified. 

3. Managerial Pressure and Governance Problems

The third main ethical dilemma faced by the financial management of a company is the fraud committed owing to governance problems and managerial pressure on the entity. Even independent auditors can be involved in the ethical issues of such cases. 

Such types of problems arise when the accountants have to do sufficient reporting on profits, losses, assets, and liabilities due to the pressure of management to craft the reports. They may paint a false picture of the position of the firm, which leads to the collapse if the discrepancies in cost accounting are not addressed on time. 

4. Failing to Comply with Standards

Failure to comply with set standards of an area affects the objectivity in reporting and gives way to incompetent people in the finance and accounting department of a company. This way, the economic growth of an entity is compromised, and the investment decisions are badly affected. 

Further, inadequate training and low qualifications of an accountant can negatively impact the discharge of duties in forensic accounting. It is pretty common in Asian companies, an example of which is expressed in the book Fiscal Frameworks and Financial Systems in East Asia: How Much Do They Matter? by Wendy Dobson. 

5. Lack of Transparency in Financial Reporting

While writing your PhD management accounting dissertation, you may come across ethical issues which show a lack of transparency in the financial statements. You may even come across exaggerated business revenue information, which simply means that investors are not really aware of the accurate financial position of the firms. 

When dealing with such an issue, highlight the profit and loss performance reports that are carried out in the organisation and show how they can prove detrimental to the working of the company in the long run. Hiding the significant profits and losses portrays a negative image of the company in the eyes of the investors. 

6. Damage to Financial Reporting Instruments

All the financial reporting instruments of a company must be stored adequately and safely. If you see any damage being done to such instruments, you must become doubtful about the objectivity of certain financial transactions. 

It is an important factor to take care of while working on your dissertation key account management. The accounting profession demands to be highly sensitive towards even the slightest of mistakes and errors in the reporting frameworks – that’s highly favourable for the best interest of the firm in question. 

7. Misuse of Organisational Funds

Another ethical dilemma that most PhD management accounting dissertation writing students face is when they have to discuss the misuse of organisational funds in their case study of x organisation. Compare the cash flow records of the financial accounting and reporting system practised by the entity and check the control systems. 

If the accountants of the firm are misusing those funds, you must report them to the relevant authorities. In most instances, the ill use of funds is done out of greed, where the accountants look for ways to mint money in the shortest possible time.

8. Corruption and other Monetary Incentives

If the x firm engages in questionable deals which shows corruption, the management may offer several financial incentives to the accountants and persuade them not to disclose the information to the stakeholders. This way, the financial reports are significantly altered, and the irregularities in the financial dealings are concealed. 

Apart from this factor, some management members may just want to make their portfolio flowery, as it gives the impression that the company is performing remarkably well. The false reports are generated to woo the investors and give a misleading representation of the company’s performance to the shareholders. 

Effect of Unethical Behaviour on the Performance of Entities

When the ethics and morals of a firm are compromised or breached in corporate governance, the effects of it can be disastrous. There can be both short-term and long-term effects. The details of both are given here:

  • In the case of short-run effects, it leads to the dismissal of employees, and the organisation re-hires the individuals. 
  • The termination of employees leads to performance gaps, which adversely affect the normal flow of business in the entity. 
  • In the long run effects, the firm will be more likely to collapse as its financial position becomes unstable. 
  • In such cases, the decisions taken by the firms are not based on factual evidence, and individuals have to pay the price for it.

While choosing your PhD management accounting dissertation topics on ethical dilemmas, make sure to pick a topic that highlights all these issues. Doing so shall increase the worth and value of your work. 


So, it is important to note that accounting and business entities are answerable to a lot of stakeholders, such as clients, shareholders, and customers. In a PhD management accounting dissertation, you need to express your understanding of each section and do justice to it. 

Moral and ethical behaviour plays a significant role in ensuring the competitiveness, ability, and survival of the organisation to stay relevant in the market. Make sure that you analyse all these factors and illustrate the ideas effectively in your case study of management dissertation. 

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