The accounting firm of Ernst and Young was recently fined $100 million dollars. Accounting irregularities? Workplace discrimination? No, but it was for something equally as shocking. The firm admitted to knowing about several of its own employees cheating on the ethics portion of their Certified Public Accountants test. As one SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) official stated, ““This action involves breaches of trust by gatekeepers within the gatekeeper entrusted to audit many of our nation’s public companies…It’s simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated on ethics exams of all things.”
All companies have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders. An independent financial audit is part of this oversight and many companies utilize large and prestigious firms such as Ernst and Young. What happens when the auditor cheats? Who audits the auditor?
It is a sad statement when such events occur. Hypocrisy. Malfeasance. Fraud. All of these labels apply to this company and their cheating employees. Yet, it was only because they were caught did the public discover this egregious breach of trust. Otherwise, it may never have been detected. Cynics may scoff and point out that no harm was done to the clients. They received their financial audits which were presumably correct. While this may be true, it overlooks a dangerous precedent. The culture of the entire company is in question. The cheating and lies began at the top. The employees who cheated undoubtedly felt protected since their superiors were doing the same. They were living according to the same corrupted standard. There is a lesson for all of us.
But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies.
1 John 2:20-21 (NLT)
If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we no longer live a life beholden to our old nature, following the ways of the world. We are held to a higher standard. When we sin, it is not because God sins, it is because our old nature is rebelling against our new nature given to us by God, through the Holy Spirit, living within us. Even if no one else knows about our sins, we know that God does. We know the Truth and it will set us free. God sacrificed His Son, Jesus Christ, to allow us to live by His same incorruptible standard.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.