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Behavioural Framework for Managing Conflicts of Interest in Professional Accounting Firms

Ishaque, Maria; Attah-Boakye, Rexford; Yusuf, Fatima


Maria Ishaque

Fatima Yusuf


This paper proposes a behavioural framework to complement professional accounting firms’ measures for managing conflicts of interest. Following an empirical examination of the process through which conflicts of interest affect accounting professionals’ decision-making, we develop guidance for practitioners that will enable them to incorporate behavioural interventions while establishing the context, assessing, treating, controlling and monitoring conflicts of interest. The interventions are aimed at strengthening accounting professionals’ independence in fact by increasing the professionals’ expectation that compliant decision-making will result in positive outcomes, increasing their perception that making compliant decisions is less difficult than making the alternative decisions, facilitating the formation of highly ethical judgements and lowering their propensity to disengage. The data were collected through a quasi-experiment with 105 professionals from the Big Four accounting firms in the UK. Our work offers practical implications for professional accountants, executive directors, regulatory bodies, executive training and academic research. Other professions facing the ramifications of conflicts of interest (e.g. law, engineering, medicine and architecture) may also use the proposed framework to improve their ethics policies and corporate governance codes for managing conflicts of interest.


Ishaque, M., Attah-Boakye, R., & Yusuf, F. (in press). Behavioural Framework for Managing Conflicts of Interest in Professional Accounting Firms. British Journal of Management,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 20, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 11, 2021
Deposit Date Apr 3, 2021
Publicly Available Date Apr 6, 2021
Journal British Journal of Management
Print ISSN 1045-3172
Electronic ISSN 1467-8551
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
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Article (880 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2021 The Authors. British Journal of Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Academy of Management. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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