This Is Auburn Office of Audit, Compliance & Privacy
Case In Point: Lessons for the proactive manager

For the past several years I’ve had the privilege of teaching a summer mini-semester class in our School of Accountancy. It's one of the highlights of my year, and I'm amazed at the quality of students I encounter. These students will soon leave and assume various roles in the accounting industry. Many will eventually become chief financial officers and controllers, or hold other high-level positions of authority in various industries.

While my course is titled ''Fraud Examination,'' it covers a great deal more than that. One of my goals for this course is to prepare my students for ethical decision making in the dilemmas they will encounter in their career. I have no doubt they will encounter many difficult choices in the years ahead, and I want them to be ready. I joke that I don’t want a former student to be one of the fraud cases we review in future classes.

Because the past several weeks have been highly focused on ethical behavior (and much of my ''regular job'' also deals with ethical issues), I wanted to remind our readers of just how important ethical decision making is in our industry. We are watched by media, stakeholders, regulators, and others now more than ever and have a duty to do things in an ethical manner.

As I look back at prior Case in Point stories over the past year, I'd argue that most include an ethical component in some way. It's vitally important that we make our ethical decisions a result of our character, not just to satisfy a donor, vendor, board member, or other powerful stakeholder. Otherwise, we risk becoming the Case in Point story—something I also don’t want our readers to become.

It's hard to believe that we are winding down summer and about to gear up for a new academic year. Fall semester is an exciting time for college campuses as new freshmen arrive with much energy and eagerness. While the anticipation of fall is high, the various risks remain for our industry. We again invite you to review the issues across higher education with a view toward proactive risk management.

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Last Updated: January 22, 2020