In my opinion, I think Vaughn did overreact to Walker’s admission that she been untruthful regarding the CPA exam. Walker had been performing really well as a new staff auditor on the engagement she was assigned to during the summer. She wanted to impress Vaughn and had hoped to gain a mentorship by working with her. For this reason, and to avoid the embarrassment of failure, Walker chose not to disclose that she had taken the CPA exam. I do not believe Walker intended to jeopardize her relationship with Vaughn or impair her integrity, but felt deeply uncomfortable with admitting to failure.
I believe that both Vaughn and Roberts reacted harshly in response to Vaughn’s good news. If I had been in Vaughn’s position, I would have expressed disappointment in her decision to be untruthful. I felt that appearing irritated and annoyed by Vaughn’s admission avoided a needed conversation about trust and honesty. I would have spoken to Walker about the importance of integrity as a CPA. I would have also notified Roberts’ about the incident as well.
If I had been in Roberts’ position I would have asked Walker to explain the situation herself and reviewed the firm’s policy and the Principles of Professional Conduct with her. I would have emphasized how her lack of integrity was unacceptable as a professional who is held to higher standards. It is important for her to understand the seriousness of the Rules of Conduct, especially Rule 102, which states that in the performance of any professional service, a member shall maintain objectivity and integrity. I would have also mentioned Rule 105, that a member shall not commit an act discreditable to the profession. These rules help require that a CPA be honest and candid, and honor both the form and the spirit of ethical standards. I believe that under these circumstances, and because she is a newly hired staff auditor, this event would lead to a minor violation of policy, but not termination.
I believe that it is