Assignment: Fully Applying a Decision-Making Framework Assignment: Fully Applying a Decision-Making Framework The Locker Room Talk ethics case is something that I feel happens often when a CPA allows himself to spend too much time with his clients; having said that, I feel that this situation could have happened to anyone who is just a friendly person in general. Albert Gable is a prime example of when someone allows themselves to get too close to their client. Albert allows himself to become a personal friend with his clients, and as such, they confided in him that they were having a troubled marriage.
This is something that would make any friend uncomfortable to hear about; the fact that this man became their friend and is in fact working for them makes the situation a little more delicate. I think had Albert separated his personal life with his business life, this dilemma could have been avoided. There is also the dilemma of Albert knowing that his client, Larry Wilson, may be planning to treat his wife unfairly. He also openly discussed this dilemma with a fellow loan officer, who is coincidentally another personal friend of Larry.
The first stakeholder in this situation is Larry Wilson who is supposedly planning to divorce his wife and leave her without a dime. Then there is Larry’s wife, Susan Wilson, who is going to end up with nothing if her husband actually follows through with his apparent “plan”. And then we have our loan officer who is another personal friend of Larry and also revealed to Albert of Larry’s plan to leave his wife. The bank is also a stakeholder because their reputation is at risk with this situation. Albert works for the bank as an auditor, so any mishaps will be a direct reflection of the bank.
Then lastly, we have Albert Gable and his innocent daughter. Albert is relying on the bonus he will be receiving from this job to put his daughter through her first year at college. The main issue here is whether or not Albert should confront Larry about the information he got from the loan officer. If he does this, there is a chance that Susan could find out which could then result in her suing her husband, which could then result in the bank officials and Albert being called to court to testify. The bank and Albert would have to explain how such information was discovered without the consent of the Wilson’s.
This could put the bank’s reputation in jeopardy and could then sue Albert himself for damages, or simply remove him from their staff. If Albert decides not to disclose the information to the Wilson’s and continues on with his work, he could save himself, the bank, and the Wilson’s from having to deal with such drama and could spare them all the cost of lawsuits. In doing so, Albert’s behavior could be considered dishonest of being an accountant and his behavior would be seen as morally wrong. I think Albert’s only real solution to this dilemma is to simply continuing to work for the Wilson’s.
He should not tell them about the information he received from their mutual friend, but may suggest that separate financial planning may not be in the best interest for them at this time. For example, the Wilson’s could lose tax credits that are only available to families. The fact that he is a financial professional, along with the fact that he is also a personal friend of the Wilsons, he should use this as leverage coupled with the financial figures and convince them both that divorce should be their very last option, and that they should instead arrange for a settlement of finances.
If Albert could convince the Wilsons to not divorce, he would be keeping the bank and their mutual friend, the loan officer, out of the situation completely. In retrospect, they are innocent bystanders in this scenario and they should not get mixed up in this. This would also avoid client confidentiality problems. On the other hand, this action of his would also share the finances and responsibilities between Larry and Susan Wilson and would stop Larry from committing fraud.
Albert would then receive the bonus he deserves for this job, and could then put his daughter through her first year at college. I used the teleological approach to come to my conclusion in this dilemma. This is a consequentialist approach which is when a decision is right or wrong depending on the consequences or outcomes of that situation. If the outcome turns out to be right, the decision making process becomes unimportant. The deontological approach would also have worked for this situation.
That is when there is only one set of right and wrong decisions, which is most important, and not the consequences. Had I used that approach, Albert should have resigned as CPA for the Wilsons as his ethical and moral behavior were put on the line. However, since that would have caused big issues for everyone involved, I felt that the teleological approach seemed more appropriate because everyone wins. As long as the outcome for everyone is right, Albert’s decision to continue on in this dilemma or not becomes unimportant.