Ethical Entanglement: What would you do?

As financial professionals, accountants are trusted with highly sensitive information and are expected to operate with utmost integrity. In this activity, students encounter a sticky situation with a colleague and must use their judgment to decide on an ethical path forward.

Start by downloading the prompt and sharing it with your students. Then, ask them to spend the rest of class formulating a written response explaining how they'd handle the situation and why they chose that approach.

When you're done reviewing your students' responses, ask a handful of students with different perspectives to read their essays to the class, then open the floor to discussion. What are the merits and drawbacks of each response? Which approaches are most ethical and thoughtful? How does each approach take the big picture into account?

Have your students vote on the best and worst courses of action and explain why they voted the way they did. Then, talk to your class about how ethics apply to the accounting profession and why, for CPAs especially, they are a central part of becoming licensed.

If your students can take the heat, see how they handle another ethical dilemma at Randy's Pizza and Pub.