Ernst & Young: Ethics Pioneer Blazes Trail for Other Blue Chip Outfits

July 4, 2022

I found the write up “Accounting Giant Ernst & Young Admits Its Employees Cheated on Ethics Exams” a hoot. I love the idea of blue chip firms beavering away to teach their Class A professionals about ethics. If a business school teaches a class about ethics, it may last three months. With MBA candidates thinking about how a non fungible token can be launched, crafting a great PowerPoint deck for a friendly, cash-motivated venture funding outfit, or just planning on a productive networking event about investing in a down market, those MBA students are probably going to ignore ethics instruction. Yo, money, not philosophy and do-goodism. Ethics? Isn’t the notion of ethical behavior contextual and relativistic?

Sure. Consider the application of logic to ethics.

The people hired to work at outfits like Ernst & Young, Bain, McKinsey, Booz Allen, et al are logical; that is, data drives decisions. Ethics is squishy stuff and difficult to quantify. Efficiency means replacing people with so so software. Clear decision making is like a Google-type method similar to cutting out cancer when a professional doesn’t go along with the program. The fix apparently for Ernst & Young is to give employees some talks either in person or via a video and an exam.

What’s the most logical way to pass a test about something that has pretty much zero to do with how business decisions are made in the lofty spaces corporate America and its consultants occupy?

Answer: Just cheat. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

The write up states:

Ernst & Young, one of the top accounting firms in the world, is being fined $100 million by federal regulators after admitting its employees cheated on their ethics exams.

How much did the multi billion dollar behemoth pay to own up to ethics exam cheating?

About $100 million … allegedly. The firm appears to have been cheating for more than a decade. Those regulators are Johnny on the spot, aren’t they?

E&Y is an accounting firm, right? When was the last time, an accounting firm wrote you a check in prompt way without balking, asking questions, checking receipts for a meal at Sonic Drive In?

Yeah, $100 million. Ethics. Blue chip outfits. Break up, go public, go private, merge, go public, repeat.

Yeah, ethics.

Stephen E Arnold, July 4, 2022


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