The tendency of accounting firms to indiscriminately accept consulting assignments from companies audited by them indicates a profound indifference to the principle of upholding professional standards. Many people feel that the glut of mandates has led to a sense of professional indigestion.
‘Is this kind of behaviour indicative of a general malaise in modern society?’a leading social commentator asked recently in his indented newspaper column, and he was by no means acting indiscreetly. His indignant conclusion was:‘whatever the answer to that question may be, what is going on is just too important to ignore. It is indispensable that we not allow ourselves to be indifferent to it. After all, it is not as if the perpetrators of these shenanigans were indigent, let alone indentured slaves.’ The commentator in question is an indefatigable opponent of corruption, and he has vowed a campaign of indefinite duration to stamp it out, at least in the accounting profession.
The typical response from members of the public is like this: The indiscriminate pursuit of personal financial gain, irrespective of the needs of clients, is an indictment of the way large sectors of the business community operate. Ignoring the shameful and indecent way in which some people in the accounting profession have been conducting themselves is an indignity that should no longer be tolerated. At the very least, an indemnity should be demanded from those accounting firms that have been acting contrary to professional ethics. As for the future, each of them should enter into an indenture with the Accounting Standards Board, promising strict observance of professional standards.