A Whistle-Blower’s Statement Needed.

BY GROVER L. PORTER

I agree with the basic issues in “ Streamlining Ethics Enforcement ” ( JofA , Aug.03, page 51). However, I believe we need to focus more on prevention of ethical conflicts rather than enforcement.

As a member of our major professional organizations—the AICPA, Financial Executives International (FEI) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)—I find the same basic flaw in all our codes of ethics. The codes are more corporate-friendly than employee-friendly. They emphasize “confidentiality” over “integrity” to the detriment of investors.

I believe our codes of ethics should not suggest that an employee who blows the whistle on individuals involved in illegal or unethical activities is an unethical person. As a member of the IMA Committee on Ethics, I have tried for nearly a decade to get the following whistle-blower’s statement included in IMA’s Standards of Ethical Conduct for Practitioners of Management Accounting and Financial Management: “If the ethical conflict still exists after exhausting all levels of internal review…it may be appropriate to notify parties outside the organization regarding significant matters.”

I strongly encourage the AICPA, FEI and IMA to include a whistle-blower’s statement in our codes of ethics.

Grover L. Porter, CPA, PhD
Professor of Accounting
Tennessee State University
Nashville

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