Leigh Ann Walker, Staff Accountant
1.In your opinion, did Vaughn overreact to Walker’s admission that she had been untruthful regarding the CPA exam? If so, how would you have dealt with the situation if you had been in Vaughn’s position? Vaughn did not over react to Walker’s untruthfulness regarding the CPA exam. She lied that she had not taken it because she feared that she was going to fail. I believe it is important to be completely honest and have integrity while working in an audit firm. If Walker lied about not taking the exam, she easily could have lied about other “small” things. However, if it was me in Vaughn’s position, I would have also fired Walker. A recently hired accountant to the firm should always be telling the truth no matter what. Members of the firm should have complete honesty with one another and a person who lacks integrity should be no place near an accounting firm.
2.How would you have dealt with the situation if you had been in Robert’s position? I believe that Robert acted professional. He allowed Walker 60 days to get a new job and even proposed to undisclosed that she was “counseled out” of the firm. As a managing partner, I believe it is important to keep the employees honest about everything. If I was in Robert’s position I would have done the same. I wouldn’t want to continue to work with a new employee who was caught lying.
3.Vaughn obviously questioned Walker’s personal integrity. Is it possible that one can fulfill the responsibilities of a professional role while lacking personal integrity? Why or why not? It is not possible for one to fulfill the responsibilities of a professional role while lacking personal integrity. Examples like this were the type of people that were involved in the Enron case. The accountants and employees were acting professional but, lacked personal integrity by scheming to falsify financial data. I believe that for one to be professional, a person must have strong integrity so they always do the right thing when no one is watching.
4.Identify two facts from the case that you found particularly interesting (this can be anything- it doesn’t have to be directly accounting-related!)
The first fact that I found interesting was that Walker was fired almost immediately after Vaughn found out she was lying about taking the exam. I would have assumed that she would have gotten another strike allowed or even Vaughn would have forgotten about it because she passed the exam.
Another fact that I found interesting was that Walker started working at the firm in early 1989. I found it interesting that auditors were this strict about lying even before the Enron scandal.
5.Assume you are working as an auditor in public accounting. Name one lesson that you could learn from this case.
The main lesson I learned from this case is to be completely honest about everything. I’m sure that Vaughn would not have been too upset that Walker failed her first attempt at the exam. Like Walker said, “She realized most of her peers would not pass all sections on their first attempt”. Not all people are “first timers” and a person should always be honest about their work, especially as a new hire.