Lies of Leigh Ann Walker, Staff Accountant

Leigh Ann Walker was an exceptional student in college. Her 3.9 grade point average and her involvement in numerous business organizations set her apart from most other students. As a result of her hard work and dedication on campus, Leigh Ann received a total of six job offers. Upon graduation, Leigh Ann accepted an offer from a Big Six accounting firm to be an entry-level auditor. Despite such accomplishments, we believe that Leigh Ann made a significant mistake by lying to her supervisor about her CPA examination, and that she was rightly punished for her actions.

We feel as if Leigh Ann’s supervisor, Jackie Vaughn, did not overreact in this situation, but rather she handled the situation like a professional should. The public accounting industry is one that has substantially high standards for integrity and honesty, and in order to maintain that reputation, the individuals that frame the industry must not compromise their standards in any way. Further, the public accounting industry is in an even larger spotlight today as a result of high-profile accounting scandals that have taken place in recent years.

The process of regaining trust from the public can take many years after significant fraud schemes such as those that occurred about a decade ago.

Due to such a high importance of integrity in the public accounting industry, we would have dealt with this situation in a similar manner that both Jackie Vaughn and Don Roberts did. Although the actions of Leigh Ann are not to the scale of dishonesty that large fraud schemes are, we believe that if someone is faithful in little things, he/she will be faithful in larger ones, and in the same way, if someone is dishonest in little things, he/she will not be honest with greater responsibilities.

So even though Leigh Ann’s lying about her CPA exam dates had nothing to do with a large financial fraud scheme, she still lied about a small situation, which could easily lead to larger dishonest acts in her future career.

In Roberts’ point of view, he likely views each of the staff members in his firm as potential partners and future decision makers for his firm. Leigh Ann’s way of hiding her embarrassment by lying about when she planned to take the CPA examination demonstrates that she lacks personal integrity. If Roberts were to allow such an individual to progress in his firm to a position of significant decision making, he could be jeopardizing the reputation, and even more important, the future existence of his firm. Roberts’ decision to let Leigh Ann go was not solely based on his own reasoning, either, as he consulted with three other partners in the firm as to how he should go about handling the situation.

However, this does not go without saying that Roberts has personal integrity, either. At the end of the case, Roberts clearly demonstrates his lack of honesty by telling Leigh Ann that he, and the other partners, would not reveal the reason why she was dismissed if they were contacted by her potential employers in the future. This case is a demonstration that personal integrity is difficult to find just about anywhere. The importance of teaching honesty and integrity to the future leaders of this country is of utmost importance.