Shady business: What would you do?

Start by downloading the prompt and sharing it with your students. Then, ask them to spend the rest of class formulating a written response detailing how they would respond to the situation at Randy's Pizza and Pub and why they chose that approach. 

Once you’ve had a chance to review all the responses, select a few students whose essays showcase a wide variety of reactions and rationale. Have these students read their essays to the class, then open the floor to discussion. Ask the class at large to consider the merits—and drawbacks—of each response. Then have them vote on the best and worst courses of action and explain why they voted the way they did. Maybe there is a clear “winner,” or maybe there are a combination of winning elements from several of the most ethical responses. 

Either way, the important thing is to spur conversation about what constitutes ethical behavior, and why being highly ethical is so important. From there, the conversation can evolve into a discussion about how ethics apply to the accounting profession and why, for CPAs especially, they are a central part of becoming licensed. 

Beyond the most obvious matter of ethics, this exercise also gets students involved in big-picture thinking—another key skill accountants use in their day-to-day work— through the situational analysis and consideration of potential ramifications for all involved. 

Lesson plan