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Old 02-18-2002, 07:31 PM   #1
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somewhat hypothetical question

I'm finishing up an essay for Legal and Ethics and I thought the question might be an interesting one to post here and get oyur thoughts:

You are the head of the records management department of a large accounting and business consulting firm. You have been employed at that firm for five years, during the last two of which you have served in your present position. You love your job. You have a spouse and a young family.



Your firm is a business consultant for some of the worldís largest corporations and governments. It is not uncommon for you to see the newsmakers of these corporations, and even local, state and federal government officials visiting your firmís offices from time to time.



You are shocked to read in the paper, however, that one of your firmís largest clients is in serious financial trouble. Your shock deepens when you learn that their financial troubles may be the result of ethical and legal violations. You grieve for the employees and investors who have lost so much money as a result of those actions.



Your firm has a policy that all records pertaining to its activities on behalf of its clients are confidential records, belonging to the client. Part of your job is to protect the confidentiality and security of those records while your firmís project is ongoing. When a project has been completed, your firmís policy, once it has been paid for its work, is to return all original documents to the client, and to destroy all copies of those documents as well as any others, whether electronic or hard copy, that it has generated during the project. The retained client file, consisting only of a brief summary of the work done, and the amount billed and paid, is then closed and stored under your direction and control in a secure facility.



In view of the increasingly sensational news reports, you decide to ask the vice president to whom you normally report for specific instructions regarding the implementation of that firm policy for what is obviously becoming a very high profile case. The vice president instructs you to waste no time in destroying those paper and electronic files. He asks you to report back to him on the accomplishment of that mission within twenty-four hours. What will you do?


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Old 02-18-2002, 11:13 PM   #2
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Originally posted by hermes:


In view of the increasingly sensational news reports, you decide to ask the vice president to whom you normally report for specific instructions regarding the implementation of that firm policy for what is obviously becoming a very high profile case. The vice president instructs you to waste no time in destroying those paper and electronic files. He asks you to report back to him on the accomplishment of that mission within twenty-four hours. What will you do?

I'm assuming this is Enron related. However, I'm unclear on a few aspects of your "hypothetical." Am I instructed to destroy all files except those that are the standard, "summary" files? Do I have a resonable notion that the files in question are about to be supeaoned by federal or state authorities?

On another note. The files that AA compiled as a result of working for Enron are not the property of Enron. Only the "opinion" that AA issued relating to the financial statements of Enron can be considered the property of Enron.

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Old 02-18-2002, 11:30 PM   #3
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the teacher posted it as Enron related, kind of. He just wanted our moral reasoning more than any facts really. I changed half his scneario when I wrote my essay.
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Old 02-18-2002, 11:32 PM   #4
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Originally posted by hermes:
the teacher posted it as Enron related, kind of. He just wanted our moral reasoning more than any facts really. I changed half his scneario when I wrote my essay.
You didn't answer my questions.

Quote:
Am I instructed to destroy all files except those that are the standard, "summary" files? Do I have a resonable notion that the files in question are about to be supeaoned by federal or state authorities?
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Old 02-18-2002, 11:38 PM   #5
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if you don't mind me asking...what university do you attend? Graduate or Undergrad class?

Not many schools have made Ethics a priority subject.

Although, the Irish are at the front of the field in regards to Ethics and responsibility.

Go Irish!

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Old 02-18-2002, 11:40 PM   #6
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sorry, I thought I did.

My point was that the details were left in the air, my teacher didn't care and I Was just quoting what my teacher asked. So whatever makes it more interesting for you.

In my essay I went from the angle that I didn't have any notion of a supeaoned, because for me that would have solved my moral questions to quickly to fill out an essay.


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Old 02-18-2002, 11:44 PM   #7
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I attend UCF(University of Central Florida), I'm taking Legal and Ethics in Business, which is required for all Business grads. It's pretty good course so far.
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Old 02-18-2002, 11:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by hermes:
sorry, I thought I did.

My point was that the details were left in the air, my teacher didn't care and I Was just quoting what my teacher asked. So whatever makes it more interesting for you.

In my essay I went from the angle that I didn't have any notion of a supeaoned, because for me that would have solved my moral questions to quickly to fill out an essay.

If you have an opinion that you aren't going to be supeaoned and that opinion could be corroborated by a sensible, reasonable person, I feel that it is both legal and ethical to destroy documents (other than documents that are part of the necessary summary) relating to the client that is referenced.

I must say that it is every firms policy to destroy documents that are not part of the standard, "summary" workpapers after the work has been completed. There are reasons for this. The only papers that the Partner (the ultimate person responsible for the workpapers) reviews are the papers that included in the basic workpapers. All the correspondence and evidence that is compiled to support the workpapers should be destroyed since many times that evidence is outdated and no longer support our basis of opinion or are redundant and may contain unreviewed errors. AA erred when they had a reasonable belief that the un-destroyed evidence was about to be supeanaed.

CK

PS Are we butchering the spelling of sepeanaed?

[This message has been edited by TheU2 (edited 02-18-2002).]
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Old 02-19-2002, 12:02 AM   #9
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Are we butchering the spelling of sepeanaed?
I think we are butchering it and throwing it to the dogs, just did spell check, here it is: subpoenaed


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