Students will be given a case study in week 2 on ethical decision making and will be required to use an ethical decision model to resolve an accounting dilemma.
Auditing Hidden Agendas:
Background information-: All members of the accounting profession, regardless of their role, are required to comply with the fundamental principles contained in APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. The first principle, integrity, requires members to be straightforward and honest in professional and business relationships. It is reasonable, and expected, that an audit committee will scrutinise key financial risks and 7 the risk management processes, particularly in a dramatically changed business-lending environment. It is the responsibility of the audit committee, rather than the CEO, to determine the need to review future loan compliance reports before they are provided to lenders.
You are a member of an audit committee of a company that has experienced some volatility as a result of some recent challenges in the industry the business operates in. You have just received the agenda for the first meeting in 2018 and, much to your surprise, there are no agenda items in relation to any impact those challenges may have had on your company. You are particularly concerned that the company may be at risk of default on some debt covenants. In addition, the scheduled quarterly compliance audit on the loan portfolio, which is required as part of the performance reporting to lenders, is not included. You approach the chair of the audit committee and seek an explanation as to why these agenda items do not appear. The chair advises that he has raised the issue with the CEO and has had assurances that there are no matters that need to be discussed by the committee in relation to the current situation. The CEO has also advised that the committee no longer needs to sign off on the loan compliance audits as these audits are at the request of the debt providers and not the committee. You remain unconvinced by this assurance and are also concerned that the debt providers will assume the loan compliance audits are reviewed by the audit committee in accordance with past practice. You are also aware that the continuing support of the company’s lenders is dependent on a favourable compliance audit. Given your knowledge of the debt portfolio and the company’s current performance, you are concerned that some figures may have been ‘massaged’. Adapted from: Sexton, T 2009, ‘Auditing Hidden Agendas’, InTheBlack, March, p. 63. (Content has been amended to reflect current conditions)
Discuss the purpose of APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, particularly in relation to the requirement for professional accountants to demonstrate integrity. Then, using the steps outlined in the Laura Nash decision making model (model is on Moodle), explain how you would ethically approach the situation outlined above. This assignment is to be completed individually and submitted on Moodle by Week 4 (TBA) at 11.55pm. Students should prepare the assignment as an essay with a clear introduction and conclusion. All sources should be referenced using the style prescribed in APA 6th edition. All work should be the students own and any plagiarism will result in a nil grade and a notice being sent to the Course coordinator. Word limit should be no more than 1,000 words, a margin or 10% more or less than 1,000 words is permissible.