When it comes to accounting, people often believe it to be very rigid and structured. But as we all know, “it depends” is a very common answer when it comes to the treatment of various accounting issues. At what point does something become an ethical issue? Well…it depends. It’s also not as clear as some would believe as there are entire college courses dedicated to teaching about ethics specifically for accounting. What happens when ethics takes a backseat in the Finance and Accounting Department? Think Enron, WorldCom, Bernie Madoff, or even the largest municipal fraud in Dixon, Illinios. If you haven’t read about that story or watched the documentary that breaks down the fraud and how it was being used, click here.
I recently came across an article from the Journal of Accountancy titled “Ethics quiz: Pressure to break the rules” that provided a quiz to test your ethical compass. It’s a short nine question quiz that shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to get through. Test your ethics at the link below:
How’d you do? Did you score 100% and are without reproach or were there a few that you weren’t confident in answering or possibly even disagreed with? While this is not meant to be an advertisement for the Journal of Accountancy, the greater topic here is that it is crucial to be continually learning throughout your career. Subscribe to various publications pertaining to the accounting profession or become a member of an organization that will further your expertise. A couple suggestions would include the Government Finance Officers Association of Arizona (GFOAZ) or the Association of Government Accountants (AGA). Don’t forget to also visit the GASB and GAO websites for the latest news for government entities.
And as always, contact a Henry + Horne audit professional with any questions.
Andrew Gill, CPA