Resolving Ethical Dilemmas -You Make the Call

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Resolving Ethical Dilemmas -You Make the Call

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By now, we should all understand the ethical obligations we have as CPAs.  So, theoretically, if we just all agree to remain ethical, we should not have CPA ethical violations.  But, of course our professional ethics committees still have plenty of cases to investigate.  This session will examine several recent high-profile–but non-CPA–ethics cases and evaluate why they happened, how they could have been prevented, and whether a typical CPA would have committed the same transgression.  By examining the ethical flaws in other professionals, we should gain a better understanding of our own ethical compasses.

Basic Course Information

Learning Objectives

  • Ethical frameworks
  • AICPA and Yellow Book threats and safeguards
  • Ethics rules of other professions
  • Why conflicts of interest are often the greatest ethical issues to deal with

Major Subjects

  • Ethical frameworks
  • Threats and safeguards to objectivity and independence
  • Ethics rules for lawyers, investigators, journalists, medical researchers, engineers, and prosecutors
  • The Arthur Andersen case 

Dave Cotton is chairman of Cotton & Company LLP, Certified Public Accoun­tants, headquartered in Alexan­dria, Virginia.  The firm was founded in 1981 and has a practice concentration in assist­ing Federal and State government agencies, inspectors general, and government grantees and contractors with a variety of govern­ment program-related assurance and advisory services.  Cotton & Company has performed grant and contract, indirect cost rate, financial statement, financial related, and performance audits for more than two dozen Federal inspectors general as well as numer­ous other Federal and State organizations, programs, activities, and functions. 

Cotton & Company’s Federal agency audit clients have included the U.S. Government Accountability Office, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Capitol Police, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Millennium Challenge Corporation, U.S. Marshals Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Cotton & Company also assists numerous Federal agencies in preparing financial statements and improving financial management, accounting, and internal control systems.

Dave received a BS in me­chanical engineering (1971) and an MBA in management science and labor rela­tions (1972) from Lehigh University in Bethle­hem, PA.  He also pursued gradu­ate studies in accounting and auditing at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (1977 to 1978).  He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM).

Dave served on the Advisory Council on Government Auditing Standards (the Council advises the United States Comptroller General on promulgation of Government Auditing Standards—GAO’s yellow book) from 2006 to 2009.  He served on the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Anti-Fraud Programs and Controls Task Force and co-authored Managing the Business Risk of Fraud: A Practical Guide.  He served on the American Institute of CPAs Anti-Fraud Task Force and co-authored Management Override: The Achilles Heel of Fraud Prevention. Dave is the past-chair of the AICPA Federal Accounting and Auditing Subcommittee and has served on the AICPA Gov­ernmental Accounting and Auditing Com­mit­tee and the Government Technical Standards Subcom­mittee of the AICPA Profes­sional Ethics Execu­tive Commit­tee.  Dave chaired the Fraud Risk Management Task Force, sponsored by COSO and ACFE and is a principal author of the COSO-ACFE Fraud Risk Management Guide. 

Dave served on the board of the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) and on the VSCPA Litigation Services, Professional Ethics, Quality Review, and Governmental Accounting and Auditing Committees.  He is a member of the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) and past-advisory board chairman and past-president of the AGA Northern Virginia Chapter and currently serves on the AGA Professional Ethics Board.  He is also a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Dave has testified as an expert in governmental accounting, auditing, and fraud issues before the United States Court of Federal Claims and other administrative and judicial bodies. 

Dave has spoken frequently on cost accounting, professional ethics, and auditor fraud detection responsibilities under SAS 99, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit.  He has been an instructor for the George Washington University masters of accountancy program (Fraud Examination and Forensic Accounting), and has instructed for the George Mason University Small Business Development Center (Fundamentals of Accounting for Government Contracts). 

Dave was the recipient of the ACFE 2018 Certified Fraud Examiner of the Year Award (“presented to a CFE who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of fraud examination …  based on their contributions to the ACFE, to the profession, and to the community”); AGA’s 2012 Educator Award (“to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the education and training of government financial managers”); and AGA’s 2006 Barr Award (“to recognize the cumulative achievements of private sector individuals who throughout their careers have served as a role model for others and who have consistently exhibited the highest personal and professional standards”).

 

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