Accountancy students at the City University of Hong Kong have won a top award for the third year running. The team lifted the prize for Best Research Project awarded by the Hong Kong Society of Accountants. The winning project looked at the factors determining ethical development and found students with work experience had a lower level of moral reasoning than those who had not worked. 'We chose the topic of ethics because we believe it is an essential element in the career of an accountant,' said Charmain Chan Wing, a member of the winning team. 'We come across a lot of confidential material and can easily commit faults if our ethical values are low. 'The Wall Street Journal Index 1989 showed that an average of three articles containing faults or illegal facts could be spotted in the paper every day. 'There has not yet been any statistics concerning the issue in Hong Kong but we believe there is a need to look into the matter.' The team questioned 244 students of various disciplines from six universities and found students with work experience shared lower ethical values. 'It is a striking finding and we believe it is worth some attention in the business world,' said Ms Chan. 'The on-the-job training graduates receive when they enter the working world is always confined to skills and technical-based development. 'Ethical training is rarely provided after you leave college.' Professor Judy Tsui Lam Sin-lai, head of the university's Department of Accountancy, said: 'The project suggested students' ethical development was bound by various factors, and raised a question over whether more resources should be spent on ethical development in practice.'