Leigh Ann Walker, Staff Accountant

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In my opinion Vaughn did not overreact to Walker’s admission that she had been untruthful regarding the CPA exam. Long-term professional relationships depend on trust. In these relationships, especially in the audit field, management needs to trust that the work being done is fair and accurate. When working an audit there is the understanding that due to the amount and complexity of work being performed, there will occasionally be mistakes. This is why an audit team’s work is performed by the staff, examined and oftentimes reperformed by the in-charge, examined by the senior, then in a more broad scope examined by the partner overseeing the audit. All individuals in the hierarchy need to be trusted to perform the audit to the best of their ability. If I were Vaughn my main concern would be that I couldn’t trust Walker to do honest work. As seen later in the audit, Vaughn had to trust her staff to stay behind and work on the audit unsupervised. How would I know if Walker actually performed the test procedures or just simply filled in the blanks with numbers similar to the prior years work papers. I may have asked Roberts if there was somebody else who would be willing to take her on, but other than that I believe both Vaughn and Roberts showed both personal integrity and professionalism by discussing the matter with the other partners and seriously considering the appropriate action to take. People all make mistakes. But in relationships that have not been allowed to deepen and mature, trust is easily undermined. If trust is developed through an individual’s observed behavior, disruptive actions may have little impact. Had Walker worked for the firm for a number of years and showed a high level of integrity, this lapse in judgment may have been overlooked. In this situation, the fact that Walker had just been hired may have dictated no other course of action than her dismissal.

A person can obviously fulfill the responsibilities of a professional role while...
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