An Ethics Issue?

BY STEVE BERLIN

I find it incongruous that Top Line ( JofA , Aug.06, page 16) had side-by-side stories about the additional ethics lessons to be learned from Enron and a television show in which a CPA moves into an office formerly occupied by a private detective and starts to take on some cases intended for the detective (“The Lesson of Enron” and “CPA as Private Eye?”). It seems to me that the latter behavior is clearly wrong and probably a violation of our professional code of conduct.

What kind of message do we send when we encourage this type of television program without indicating the behavioral problems associated with it? It is bad enough when a layman cannot recognize the ethical implications of his or her actions, but for a CPA to act in violation of those ethics and have it publicized in the JofA is unacceptable.
I believe most unethical behavior starts with small violations and builds to more major ones. This promotion of the new television show shows how easy it is, even for the most knowledgeable, to not recognize an ethical issue. I encourage you to use this mistake to highlight the problem in a future edition.

Steve Berlin, CPA
Tulsa

Letters to the Editor
The JofA encourages readers to write letters on important professional issues in addition to comments on published articles. Because space is limited, letters submitted for publication should be no longer than 500 words. Please include telephone and fax numbers. JofA e-mail address: JOAED@aicpa.org .

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