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Irvin T. Nelson Utah State University


'We Will Not Lie, Steal Or Cheat, Nor. Tolerate Among Us Anyone Who Does' ... Educational Institutions have established ethics codes for their students, e.g. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Irvin T. Nelson Utah State University

Ethics in Accounting Does It Really Matter?
Irvin T. NelsonUtah State University
What is the purpose of accounting?
  • To provide information to decision makers

What are the desired characteristics of
  • Timeliness
  • Understandability
  • Reliability
  • Truthfulness

What is truth?
  • Fair
  • Not misleading
  • Unbiased
  • Not predisposed in a particular direction
  • Representational faithfulness
  • Conveys an accurate impression of the underlying

What is Truth?
  • Oh say, what is truth? Tis the fairest gem that
    the riches of worlds can produce Tis an aim for
    the noblest desire. John Jaques

What is Truth?
  • Truth is a correspondence between what we think
    and what is real. -- Plato

What is Truth?
  • Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as
    they were, and as they are to come. Joseph
    Smith, Jr.

What is Truth?
  • To tell the truth, rightly understood, is not
    just to state the facts, but to convey a true
    impression. Robert Lewis Stevenson

Forms of Lying
  • Saying something that is not so
  • Overstatement/exaggeration
  • Understatement
  • Withholding relevant information
  • What do these have in common?
  • They all fail to convey a true impression

How Important Is Truth?
  • The truth shall make you free. Jesus of

What is the relationship between truth and CPAs?
  • The auditors job is to determine what is and
    what is not true, then to assure that what is
    true is properly communicated to the
    stakeholders. Richard L. Ratliff

What is the relationship between truth and CPAs?
  • What has been the function of the CPA profession
    in society?
  • Historically, it has been looked upon as the
    watchdog of business, the trustworthy
    guardians of truth.
  • Even the Academy Awards hired Price Waterhouse to
    tally the votes for the Oscars. Why? Because
    their integrity was unquestionable. The public
    perceived that the integrity and independence of
    CPAs was beyond reproach, beyond question.

What happens in the absence of truth?
  • Stock market crash of 1929
  • Led to the Great Depression
  • Audit failures in the 1980s
  • Enron, World Com, etc.
  • Damaging public confidence in capital markets
  • Cost to the economy is not measurable but may be
    larger than 9/11 and Iraq combined

What are the implications to CPAs?
  • When a societal institution fails to fill the
    function expected or demanded by society, it is
    done for. Thomas D. Hubbard
  • Hence, the CPA profession is rightly concerned
    over its tarnished reputation.
  • Unfortunately, its reaction to the scandals has
    not addressed the real problems

What Stands In the Way of Truth?
  • Greed
  • Gaming Mentality
  • Incorrect conception of business
  • Tinkering with little changes will not solve the
  • Tweak peer review
  • Spin off consulting, etc.
  • Business as usual

What Stands In the Way of Truth?
  • The very conception of the corporation as a
    legal fiction defined in terms of obligations
    to its stockholders implies that corporations are
    not moral or morally responsible agencies.
    Robert C. Solomon

What Social Systems are Supposed to Ensure Truth?
  • Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934
  • Independent Auditors
  • Why do you think Congress passed those acts?

What Social Systems are Supposed to Ensure Truth?
  • The middle word in CPA is public
  • Does this imply auditors have a duty to the
  • Or does it mean auditors first duty is to the
  • Or does it mean auditors only duty is to the

Only THREE things protect the public from lies
  • Competence
  • Independence
  • Ethics

There is no substitute for competence
  • No matter how independent and ethical you may be,
    if you dont know what youre doing, the public
    will not be protected
  • Many audit failures in the past have been caused
    by a lack of competence
  • However, competence by itself is dangerous. In
    the absence of independence and ethics,
    competence only increases the ability to figure
    out how to get away with doing the wrong thing!

Competence is Necessary but Not Sufficient
  • True independence, and/or
  • Unimpeachable ethics are also needed

Independence is Problematic
  • Independence is more than not owning stock in the
    company being audited, not dating people employed
    by the company being audited, etc.
  • It means not having a conflict of interest
  • But auditors always have a financial and
    psychological interest in the companies they audit

Independence is Problematic
  • In theory, auditors are hired by the board
  • In practice, auditors are hired by management
  • There is essentially no auditor rotation
  • You dont want to be the one who lost the
  • Barry Minkow, ZZZ Best

Independence is Problematic
  • Bottom line
  • The relationship between client and auditor in
    the real world is rather cozy

Independence is Problematic
  • The interviewer asked me why I wanted to be
    an auditor. I told him I had wanted to be an FBI
    Agent when I was young and that I viewed auditing
    as a similar type of activity digging and
    analyzing evidence and ferreting out whats true.
    He looked at me like I didnt know what I was
    talking about. Jeffrey T. Doyle

Independence is Problematic
  • When the FASB wants to increase financial
    statement truthfulness and fairness, the large
    firms have traditionally argued against any
    proposed rule change

Independence is Problematic
  • The firms have partner groups that discuss
    FASB proposals and submit responses in behalf of
    the firm. Individual partners are not free to
    express a position different from that taken by
    the firm. Of course, before the firm position is
    adopted, the responsible partner group listens
    carefully to the opinions of their clients and,
    for some unexplained reason, always seems to end
    up advocating the same position as their clients

Independence is Problematic
  • During my career, I have had many discussions
    with leading partners of what were once the Big 8
    firms. These partners are all men and women whom
    I respect, but in 40 years of such conversations,
    I don't recall a single case where the partner
    agreed with the position that I felt was right

Independence is Problematic
  • They seemed unable to discuss a topic with
    intellectual honesty, based on what would lead to
    more truthful financial statements. Instead,
    they always recited the party line advocated by
    the firms clients and seemed oblivious to the
    error of their ways. They behaved more like
    cheerleaders for their clients than they did
    watchdogs of the public interest.
  • A. Tom Nelson

In the Absence of De Facto Independence
  • Then theres only one remaining thing
    protecting the public

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • Trust is the accountants stock in trade.
    Thats all we have to sell.
  • Richard L. Ratliff
  • AICPA Surveys
  • Before Enron, CPAs ranked a step above clergy in
    public trust
  • After Enron, CPAs ranked a step below used car
    salesmen in trust

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • My heart breaks, and I'm embarrassed for our
    sport right now.
  • NBC commentator Sandra Bezic, a five-time
    Canadian national pairs champion and
    choreographer of many gold medalists, after the
    Canadian pairs skating team of Sale and Pelletier
    lost the gold medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City
    Winter Olympics due to crooked judges, after
    clearly having won the competition based on
    skating merit

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • My heart breaks, and I'm embarrassed for our
    profession right now.
  • Irv Nelson, after hearing Arthur Andersen
    partners defend their audit of Enron by saying
    they didnt do anything wrong because they
    followed GAAP

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • ... certain occurrences (this year) deeply
    trouble me.... in my esteemed profession of
    accounting. It has taken a big hit in what I
    thought were the very roots of this
    profession--integrity. Now we find that some of
    the most highly respected accounting firms have
    violated their dedicated trust. These firms have
    caused the reputation of this once-honored
    profession to be in question. They have bowed to
    corporate greed and have issued audit statements
    that have been found to be misleading and
    outright dishonest

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • Imagine having to create a public
    "accountability board" to see that the integrity
    of the accounting profession is being upheld. The
    purpose of this board would be to address
    accountants' ethical lapses or competency
    deficiencies. U.S. Securities and Exchange
    Commission chair Harvey L. Pitt has declared
    This model . . . sends a loud and clear message
    that the era of self-regulation of the accounting
    profession is over.

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • Furthermore, Mr. Pitt went on to imply that
    the auditing standards are not a problem rather,
    the problem lies with compliance and execution
    according to the standards of this profession.
    For years the profession has signed statements
    that the audit report represents fairly and
    accurately the information contained therein. Now
    the validity of that statement has to be clearly
    questioned because men have violated the
    standards of integrity that are so vital to
    public confidence in the credibility of the audit

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • What a sad, sad commentary on the integrity
    of those we depend on for reliable information
    regarding the businesses of our nation.
    Unfortunately it is just a symptom of what is
    going on. People have become so possessed with
    the desire to achieve worldly recognition, power,
    and wealth that they have lost their sense of
    what is right. They have violated the standards
    that must be upheld for the sake of our nation or
    any other nation.
  • L. Tom Perry

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • Are there such things as ethical
    accountants? My father is under the impression
    there are only two ethical accountants in the
    world one located in a small Appalachian hamlet
    who has since given up the profession to
    apiculture, and the other occupying a small
    corner office in New York, teetering on
    bankruptcy. Obviously you can imagine what a
    shock it was a year ago when I announced at the
    Sunday dinner table that I was changing my major
    to accounting. (I am still invited home, but only
    if I dont talk about business.)

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • The sad thing is, my fathers views turned
    out to be near prophecy. Until the beginning of
    this semester, I held accounting related jobs for
    the last three and a half years. In the course of
    my employment I saw and even participated in
    activities I deemed unethical. These activities
    ranged from falsifying payroll records to padding
    invoices. More than once, I went to my superior
    and aired my disapproval but coming from a
    junior bookkeeper, I was ignored

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • I also saw a CPA firm not only turn a blind
    eye to such practices, but actively put their
    signatures on an income statement in which the
    net income was understated to lessen the amount
    of dividends paid to non-participating partners.
    My reaction to all of this? Well, to be an
    ethical accountant means to not be an accountant
    at all.
  • --Brian C. McBride

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • When former SEC chairman Aurthur Levitt
    testified before the Senate Hearing on the
    Collapse of Enron (January 24, 2002) he decried
    the culture of gamesmanship in which the
    objective is not to ensure the reality of the
    numbers but rather to try to get away with as
    much as possible.

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • He further asserted that Rarely, of all the
    groups that the Commission (SEC) oversees, has
    this group (the accounting profession) spoken of
    the public interest. For a profession whose
    sole reason for existence is supposedly the
    public interest, it is difficult to imagine a
    more scathing condemnation.

Something Has Gone Wrong
  • Sadly, the condemnation is well deserved. In
    the last decade, the AICPA engaged in an
    unprecedented political lobbying process - not to
    protect the public, but to protect itself from
    accountability. Several years ago, when the SEC
    was proposing some very reasonable rules changes
    that just might have helped prevent the Enron
    scandal, an astonishing amount of political
    pressure was brought to bear on the SEC by the
    accounting profession. No reasonable person can
    objectively conclude that the motivation of this
    behavior by the accountants was to protect the
    public. It is painfully obvious that its ONLY
    motivation was to protect the status quo.

Management Accounting Examples
  • Manipulating Earnings
  • Smoothing
  • Playing with bad debt reserves, asset lives,
    inventory adjustments, timing of write offs
  • Playing with timing of revenues
  • Hiding Debt
  • Leases
  • Special Purpose Entities

Auditing Examples
  • Allowing clients to get away with accounting
    treatments the purpose of which is to lie /
    distort / manipulate
  • Holding GAAP as the ultimate standard, instead of
  • Failing to follow substance over form
  • Advising clients how to structure transactions so
    as to get around the rules

Something to think about
  • As the FASB moves away from rules-based
    standards towards principles-based standards,
    ethics will become increasingly important

What are Ethics?
  • Perhaps one of the problems is that we have a
    flawed conception of ethics.
  • Some view ethics as adherence to a set of rules
    (code of ethics)
  • Like the rules of a game (gaming ethics)
  • If its not against the rules, its OK
  • Others view ethics as flexible whats right for
    some might not be right for others

Models of Ethics
  • Relativism
  • There is no such thing as right and wrong it all
    depends on the situation
  • There is no such thing as truth it all depends
    on your point of view
  • List the stakeholders, consider their competing
  • Objective the most good for the most people

Models of Ethics
  • Principles-based Ethics
  • Virtue Ethics based on Aristotle
  • There is such a thing as right and wrong
  • Our duty is to figure out whats right and do it
    because its right (not because of an analysis of
    the relative social good of various choices)
  • Objective live a life of virtue and integrity

  • Principles
  • Values
  • Pseudo-values
  • Ethical Behavior
  • Integrity

  • Universal truths
  • What IS right and wrong
  • Exist independent of any person or group
  • Do not vary between cultures, time periods

Can We Agree on Universal Principles?
  • Dr. James W. Brackner proposed 10 values that
    seem to be universal across all cultures
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Promise-keeping
  • Fidelity
  • Fairness

Can We Agree on Universal Principles?
  • Caring for Others
  • Respect for Others
  • Responsible Citizenship
  • Pursuit of Excellence
  • Accountability
  • May these be considered examples of correct

  • People cannot see principles perfectly
  • We view principles through the lens of our
  • Colored and distorted to some degree
  • Thus, we dont live our lives on principles we
    have to translate them into VALUES

Life Experiences
  • How each person decides what he/she THINKS is
    right and wrong
  • Core beliefs upon which we live our lives
  • Do vary between individuals and cultures
  • Because each persons lens is different
  • May or may not be based on correct principles
  • Making choices in accordance with values leads to

What Is Ethical Behavior?
  • To be ethical, a choice must be in accordance
    with ones values, AND
  • Those values must be based upon correct
  • Neither is sufficient both are necessary

What Is Ethical Behavior?
  • "What ought to be?"
  • The choice that is more right, more good, and
    more just than the others

What Is Integrity?
  • When a person consistently makes ethical choices
    across a wide range of situations, over a
    lifetime, that person has integrity.

Everyone must answer the following question
  • What is my highest aspiration?
  • Wealth
  • Power
  • Knowledge
  • Popularity/fame
  • Integrity

  • Be on guard if integrity is secondary to any of
    the alternatives, it will be sacrificed in
    situations in which a choice must be made. Such
    situations inevitably occur in every persons
  • -- Dr. L. Murphy Smith, in testimony to U.S.
    House of Representatives Subcommittee on
    Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection hearing
    on accounting scandals, July 26, 2002

American Institute of CPAs Code of Professional
Conduct, Principles Article I In carrying out
their responsibilities as professionals, members
should exercise sensitive professional and moral
judgments in all their activities.
  • Beliefs professed but not lived

Enrons Values Statement, included in 2000 annual
  • Excellence
  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Integrity

  • When values are not lived, emotional dissonance
  • Two possible responses
  • Elevate behavior to level of values, or
  • Use thinking errors

Thinking Errors
  • Excuses we tell ourselves to make us feel better
    about our unethical behavior
  • Examples
  • Rationalization (its OK because)
  • Justification (I deserve it)
  • Minimization (its not so bad)
  • Blame Shifting (dont blame me)
  • Sincere delusion (its only this once)

Look for the Thinking ErrorsManagement
  • We work for management. Our job is to make
    management look good.
  • Our obligation is to our shareholders. Anything
    we do to make the stock price go up is ethical.
  • Every good accountant knows where to find it.
  • Youre not being a team player.
  • Youve got to stop thinking like a CPA and start
    thinking like a management accountant.
  • You WILL make this journal entry.

Look for the Thinking ErrorsPublic Accounting
  • We followed GAAP.
  • Enron didnt do anything illegal.
  • If you want more transparency, you need to
    change the rules. Dont blame us.
  • Those partnership documents are incredibly
    complex and 80 pages long.
  • We couldnt force Enron to put it on the balance
    sheet because we cant break the rules.
  • Our capital markets are the most efficient in
    the world.

Look for the Thinking ErrorsBetty Vinson article
Three Choices
  • Blind loyalty
  • Exit
  • Voice

In his best-seller, The Closing of the
American Mind, Allan Bloom says that the eternal
conflict between good and evil has been replaced
with Im okay, youre okay. Students
unthinkingly embrace a blind tolerance in which
they consider it moral never to think they are
right because that means someone else is wrong.
Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind,
New York, Simon and Schuster, Inc. 1987
Should Universities Teach Principles and Values?
  • Professional accounting education must not
    only emphasize the needed skills and knowledge,
    it must also instill the ethical standards and
    the commitment of a professional.
  • Bedford Committee Report, 1986

Should Universities Teach Principles and Values?
  • University education should support the
    development of intellectual skills, which include
    the ability to identify ethical issues and apply
    a value-based reasoning system to ethical
    questions, and also general knowledge, which
    includes experience in making value judgments.
  • -- Perspectives on Education Capabilities
    for Success in the Accounting Profession (1989),
    white paper jointly authored by the Big Eight.

Should we teach values? The National Commission
on Fraudulent Financial Reporting (Treadway
Commission) recommended that accounting
curricula should integrate the development of
ethical values with the acquisition of knowledge
and skills. In a keynote speech to the American
Accounting Association, John Burton, Dean of the
Columbia University Business School stated that a
declining influence of social institutions has
increased the role educators must play in shaping
Should Universities Teach Principles and Values?
  • High quality corporate reporting requires
    people of integrity, a spirit of transparency and
    a culture of accountability. The values of
    quality, integrity, transparency, and
    accountability should be integrated throughout
    the curriculum People of integrity are essential
    because transparency can only occur when
    individuals try to do the right thing

Should Universities Teach Principles and Values?
  • All business students must understand that
    personal integrity is not a choice. It is an
    obligation for those who serve the public
    interest. The profession is best served by
    academic experiences that require compliance with
    reasonable standards of conduct. Faculty members
    should not tolerate actions that demonstrate a
    lack of integrity.
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers white paper, March 2003

Should values be taught? Teddy Roosevelt said,
To educate a person in mind and not in morals is
to educate a menace to society.

If we want to produce people who share the values
of a democratic culture, they must be taught
those values and not be left to acquire them by
chance. Cal Thomas, The Death of Ethics in
Not Everyone Agrees
  • Sellers and Milam (1979) examined accounting
    student perceptions of professional ethics and
  • (Accounting) students are better in a
    moral/ethical sense than they are given credit
    for, and
  • There is less need for the addition to
    curriculum of courses in professional ethics than
    many educators would have us believe.
  • Sellers and Milam further concluded that the CPA
    code of ethics was all that was needed and that
    additional courses in professional ethics are
    not necessary.

  • What do profs think?
  • In a survey of college faculty, 187 professors
    responded to several statements about teaching
  • The importance of ethics and personal integrity
    should be
    stressed in the courses I teach. 4.75
  • 2. The basis for ethics and personal integrity
    be discussed (e.g. benefit to society
    as a whole, moral and religious
    foundations of society,
    etc.) 4.11
  • Note Scores are based on a scale from

    1 Strongly Agree to 5 Strongly Disagree

In an issue of Management Accounting, James W.
Brackner stated The universities are responding
with an increased emphasis on ethical training
for decision making. For the most part, however,
they ignore the teaching of values. For moral or
ethical education to have meaning there must be
agreement on the values that are considered
Until about 50 years ago, it was commonly
accepted that universities were to provide
students not only with knowledge and skills, but
also moral guidance based on the essentials of
the Western tradition. Geoffrey Lantos
Should Universities Teach Principles and Values?
  • In the early years of American University
    education, moral values were an important part of
    the curriculum
  • In the last 50 years this has been replaced by
  • There is an extreme reluctance to talk about
    right and wrong for fear of offending
  • What is the result?

In a recent Wall Street Journal
article, Psychology
professor Steven Davis says that cheating by
high school students has increased from about
20 percent in the 1940s
to 75 percent today. Students say cheating
in high school is for grades, cheating in college
is for a career.
If students lack ethics in high school and
college, then there should be little surprise
that they lack ethics in their careers. Greed and
over-reaching ambition often end in disastrous
personal consequences. Convicted inside trader,
Dennis Levine, in a Fortune magazine article
I have painful memories of Sarah learning to
walk in a prison visiting room, and of Adam
pleading with a guard who wouldnt let him bring
in a Mickey Mouse coloring book.
Educational Institutions have established ethics
codes for their students, e.g. the U.S. Air Force
We Will Not Lie, Steal Or Cheat, Nor
Tolerate Among Us Anyone Who Does -- Which do
you think is the harder part Line 1 or Line 2?
What Happened to the Young Auditors at Andersen?
  • The firm owns you
  • Team player lose individual identity
  • Culture Were here to help Enron succeed
  • Desensitization from ignoring conscience
  • Principles fell like dominoes
  • Integrity fell first, knocking down others
  • Truth, fairness, empathy then fell

  • We, as individuals, become the resultant sum
    of each ethical confrontational event as
    experienced from the beginning of our careers.
    Simply stated, if we have conditioned ourselves
    to blink at the small decision opportunities at
    the beginning of our careers, then we will
    precondition ourselves to also blink at the more
    important decision opportunities later.
  • -- Roger M. Boisjoly, Morton Thiokol engineer
    who strongly argued against Space Shuttle
    Challenger launch at 29 degrees F, in the face of
    tremendous management pressure

  • Strength of financial markets
  • Health (survival?) of accounting profession
  • Bigger implications than these???

  • Before the American Republic, a common belief was
    that where there was liberty, anarchy would
    result because people are unable to govern
    themselves. Yet Americans were free and well
    behaved. How could this be?

  • The great English writer, G.K. Chesterson,
    observed that America was the only nation in the
    world founded on a creed. He said that creed was
    set forth with dogmatic and even theological
    lucidity in the Declaration of Independence.

Declaration of Independence The second paragraph
of America's founding document states "We hold
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal, that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain unalienable rights, that
among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of
  • A society teeters on the brink of disaster
    when its people lack moral character. No nation
    survives for long without citizens who share
    common values such as courage, devotion to duty,
    respect for other peoples lives and property,
    and a willingness to sacrifice personal interests
    for a greater cause. L. Murphy Smith

A nation or a culture
cannot endure for long
it is undergirded
by common values such

as valor, public
spiritedness, respect for

others and for the law It cannot stand unless it
is populated by people who will act on the
motives superior to their own immediate
interest." Chuck Colson, Against the Night
One recent national election day poll indicated
that 56 percent of voters thought that Americas
problems are primarily moral and social. Only
36 percent thought that the nations problems
were primarily economic.
More than 200 years ago, Professor Alexander
Tyler wrote of the Athenian Republic, which had
fallen 2,000 years earlier A
democracy cannot exist as a
permanent form of government The average age of
the worlds greatest civilizations has been 200
years. These nations have progressed through this
sequence From bondage to spiritual faith, to
great courage, to abundance, to selfishness, to
complacency, to apathy, to dependency, and back
again to bondage.
In the quest for educational
reform, we would do well
turn not only to the great books,
but the great
exemplars of
wisdom with which our country
blessed. To help reclaim our
destiny as human beings
citizens, we need to rediscover the
generation that really can claim to be the best
and the brightest in American history, at least
from the moral and political point of view the
founders of the American Republic. C.R.
Kesler Kesler, C.R. Education, Cultural
Relativism, and the American Founding. The
Intercollegiate Review, Vol. 24, No. 2, Spring
1989, pp. 35-42
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to
acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to
obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits,
and humbly to implore His protection and
favor. George Washingtons Thanksgiving
Proclamation of 1789
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to
political prosperity, religion and morality are
indispensable supports Reason and experience
both forbid us to expect that national morality
can prevail in the exclusion of religious
principle. George Washingtons Farewell
Address, September 17, 1796
We have no government armed with power capable
of contending with human passions unbridled by
morality and religion. Our Constitution was made
only for a moral and religious people. It is
wholly inadequate to the government of any
other. President John Adams, 1789
God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the
liberties of a nation be secure when we have
removed a conviction that these liberties are the
gift of God?
. Thomas Jefferson
Can you make a difference?
  • It all boils down to personal choices

Be sure you are right, then go ahead. Davy
Crockett 1786-1836
To sin by silence when they should protest makes
cowards of men. Abraham Lincoln Do you think
this relates to line 2 of the U.S.A.F. Academy
Code of Honor?
  • Employees have both a right and a
    responsibility to become involved in attempting
    to correct any irresponsible or dishonest actions
    that senior management is promoting Roger M

Leadership is a potent combination of strategy
and character. But if you must be without one, be
without strategy. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
The reputation of a thousand years may be
determined by the conduct of one
hour. Japanese proverb
  • In the AICPA's Code of Professional Ethics, as
    amended in 1983, a philosophical essay entitled
    "Concepts of Professional Ethics" was included
    with the code, which suggested that CPAs should
    strive for behavior beyond the minimum level of
    acceptable conduct set forth in the code. The
    theme of the essay was
  • "A man should be upright not be kept upright."
    (Marcus Aurelius).

At the Congressional Hearing on Accounting and
Business Ethics in July 2002, Truett Cathy, the
Founder of Chick-Fil-A, quoted Proverbs 221
"A good name is more desirable than great
riches to be esteemed is better than silver or
gold."   The truth is that fame and fortune are
nothing compared to personal integrity.
President Lincoln said Honor is better than