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Giving Voice to Values (Case: The New Associate)

Steve arrived Monday morning at Ryan & Associates, CPAs, just in time to hear the latest explosion from the Managing Partner\\\’s office. It was the middle of the busy season and the office reflected it – with piles of paper, tax returns and audit workpapers on each desk. Marcia, the managing partner, was bright, hard-working and a good auditor. But during the busy season, as the work piled on and the inevitable delays occurred (e.g. client not ready, files misplaced, tax information missing, PBCs not completed properly), Marcia\\\’s temper tended to get shorter and shorter.
Despite the stress of the busy season, Steve really liked working for Ryan & Associates. He had started these as an intern while in college and then accepted a permanent position after graduation. In a way, it was his second home as it was the first and only professional position he had ever had. The work was interesting and he enjoyed his colleagues, many of whom he had known since college. The firm even had its own softball team.
Moving quickly to his desk, Steve pulled out the files for his next assignment, the audit of a not-for-profit known as Helping Our Children (HOC). HOC provided assistance to children facing major medical procedures using proceeds from a thrift shop that it operated. As is common in small not-for-profits, HOC did not have a large staff. In fact, HOC\\\’s staff consisted of an executive director,a store manager,a volunteer coordinator and a part time bookkeeper. Looking through his notes, Steve recalled hearing that the bookkeeper had recently left for another position. \\\”Well, this won\\\’t make the audit easier but at least the bookkeeper finished the books for the year before leaving,\\\” he thought.
Later, Steve heard his name being called. Looking up, he saw Marcia motioning him to come to her office. \\\”Steve, I want you to meet Abby, our new associate,\\\” Marcia said. \\\”This is her first day and I would like you to show her around and introduce her to everyone.\\\” \\\”Sure,\\\” Steve said, \\\”just come with me.\\\” After introducing Abby to the rest of the staff, Steve got her set up at her desk, gave her the training manuals, and promised to come back around lunch time to show her the staff\\\’s favorite restaurant.
At lunch, Steve learned that Abby had working previously as a bookkeeper. In fact, she was part-time bookkeeper who had just left HOC. \\\”I really wanted to work for Ryan & Associates,\\\” Abby said, \\\”because I knew they were going to do the audit and I figured it was a way to get my foot in the door.\\\” Steve agreed that it would be very helpful to have her close by to answer questions.
Returning to the office, Steve discovered that information needed to complete his prior audit (Pogo Retail, Inc.) had come in and the client was demanding that the audit be completed immediately. \\\”Oh, boy, here we go again – fire fighting,\\\” Steve thought as he moved the HOC files over to work on Pogo. The rest of the week passed in a similar fashion and Steve was not able to get back to HOC as he had planned. As HOC had been scheduled to start a month earlier, Steve was concerned about the continuing delay but there always seemed to be another urgent problem requiring attention.
The following Monday, Steve\\\’s arrival at the office was met with an immediate summons to Marcia\\\’s office. \\\”How far have you forgotten on HOC?\\\” Marcia demanded, \\\”The executive director called expecting to schedule a review of the final report.\\\”
\\\”I haven\\\’t been able to start,\\\” Steve tried to explain, \\\”First, Pogo had to be completed and then…\\\”
Marcia interrupted, \\\”Look – I am under a lot of pressure here. I need to have HOC finished as quickly as possible. I will assign Abby to work on the audit. She knows the client, obviously and should be able to easily wrap it up. You will still senior – Abby will just do all of the work. I\\\’ve already talked to her about it and she is ready to start.\\\”
\\\”One more thing,\\\” Marcia added, \\\”make sure that Abby doesn\\\’t sign off on any of the workpapers. Using Abby might raise questions and that way there won\\\’t be a paper trail.\\\”
Steve left the office and returned to his desk thinking. \\\”There\\\’s something not right about this. Abby would basically be auditing her own work. I am sure that isn\\\’t allowed.\\\” Steve was very proud of his CPA certificate and knew that violation of the professional standards had serious consequences. He also knew that Marcia\\\’s current mood made it difficult to raise objections. As he continued to think about it, Steve realized he did not want to do what Marcia wanted. It just wasn\\\’t right.

Place yourself in the position of the key person in your assigned scenario: taking into account the concepts of GVV, what should you say- to whom, when and how to reach the best possible outcome?
In order to answer these questions consider the following:
1. What should Steve say? to whom, when and how?
2. What are the main arguments you are trying to counter? What are the reasons and rationalizations you need to address?
3. What is stake for the key parties (including those who disagree with you)?
4. What levers or arguments could you use to influence those with whom you disagree?
5. What is the most powerful and persuasive response to the reasons and rationalizations you need to address? To whom should the arguments be made? When and in what context?

Giving Voice to Values
Ways of Thinking about Values:
1. Values
2. Choice
3. Normalization of Values Conflicts
4. Definition of Purpose
5. Self-knowledge, Self-image and alignment
6. Voice
7. Reasons and Rationalizations

Marking Sheet:
Analysis Content:
– Identification of the types of dilemma in the scenario
– Recognition of the reasons and rationalizations used by the stakeholders
– Identification of appropriate arguments to counter reasons and rationlizations
– Description of \\\”what, to whom, when and how\\\”

*Point Value:
Demonstrates strong understanding of the GVV concepts which were applied to the case with consideration of how issues could be resolved to benefit all parties. (40 Marks)

Category: Essays

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