This dilemma arises from the doubt that the accountant has about the sales manager’s Honesty with regard to expense reports he has submitted, expecting the company to pay for his wife’s dinner. This could be a theft (Do Not Steal). If the sales manager is really dishonest, he will probably do more damage in the long term than just stealing money for a spouse’s dinner. However, the accountant cannot be sure that this is the case (Avoiding Rash Judgment).
It might be just a coincidence (Circumspection). Perhaps the sales manager had dinner with his wife in the same restaurant in which he had dinner with some client; or perhaps it was appropriate for him to bring his wife to the business dinner with the client.
Certainly, the accountant cannot just ignore the incident (Do Not Cooperate in Evil). Loyalty to the employer requires him/her to act in its best interest, face the sales manager if needed, or advise the management about a potential problem with the sales manager (Leadership). At the same time, the accountant should avoid overreactions (avoid Precipitation). After all, both investigating what really happened (Presumption of Innocence) and taking action is not the accountant’s responsibility (Good Deliberation). He/she should respect the company’s management by sharing the reason for his/her doubt (Good Judgment) and support them in acting in the best interest of the company (Respect for Authority).
Special Circumstances to Consider:
- If you were absolutely sure of the moral uprightness of the sales manager, and you didn’t have serious reasons to doubt this was any more than a coincidence.
- If you knew that the company’s owners gave the sales manager great leeway with expense reports, including the liberty to bring his wife to business dinners with clients.
Read Fulvio Di Blasi’s full bio here.