Ethics for professional accountants

Ethics for professional accountants


Imagine that you have just joined XYZ, a Big 4 accounting firm. The partners have decided to
inaugurate a program to reinvigorate the company’s commitment to ethics, and are debating how best
to use the time at a 1-day retreat on the topic that will be mandatory for all personnel. They are in a
deep, but friendly, debate: some say that ex-cons such as Andy Fastow or Matt Gless or Aaron Beam
should have the floor; others that someone such as Jeremy Wilson, the head of the ethics program at
Cisco, should be featured; still others that accounting textbook authors such as Steven Mintz and Roselyn Morris should run the retreat; still others that Mary Gentile should be invited, to teach
everyone how to Give Voice to their Values. They know that you have recently taken a course using all of these materials, and they have invited you to write an advisory paper (in the form of a report or
memo, or in whatever format you wish) that carefully considers the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, and then comes up with a clear recommendation as to which would be the best approach, in your view, to help revitalize the company’s commitment to ethics using this one-day retreat to kick off what is envisioned as a sustained, multi-year effort. As you write, keep in mind that the partners have agreed that they will only use one of these many approaches, and that there are currently partners who advocate vigorously for one of the individual approaches listed above. Do not offer a compromise, using multiple approaches. Pick one, using a clear and persuasive rationale, based on what you’ve learned in this course (Accounting Ethics) and this book (Giving Voice to Values).


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