I recently enrolled in a business program and we just finished our first class. The first topic we discussed was about accounting and finance management. Our very bubbly professor discussed about the elements of a financial statement to the mostly non-accountant crowd. It was very entertaining, informative and enlightening all at the same time! I have a new found respect for accountants- specially accountants with integrity!
I didn’t know this but it seems there have been practices of “creative accounting” everywhere in the country. Our professor told us that accounting has never been an exact science, and that majority of the things you see on financial statements, chances are, products of “judgments and estimates”. To illustrate this point comically, he told us a story about a business owner who asked the “magic question” hoping to find the best business partner he could have. The magic question is:
“How much is 2+2?”
Engineer: “somwhere between 3.98 and 4.1..”
Mathematician: “I can prove to you in a very short period of time, about 2 hours, why the answer is 4″
several other professionals were asked, until it’s the accountant’s turn to answer:
Accountant: (closing the door, the window blinds and making sure nobody else is around, the accountant whispered) “How much do you want it to be?”
It seems accountants have developed creative ways of making the income statement as close to the business owner’s ideals as possible. Which brings our accountant friends to a very crucial crossroad of integrity. Indeed, how far can one go in this line of work to help business owners get the least possible taxation without trading off their integrity.
I asked that question to an accountant friend. There was no easy answer to this. Often times, accountants are faced with a dilemma of delivering what the client wants which is contrary to his or her convictions. But she confirmed that the accounting principles and the oath that CPA’s took all points towards integrity and truth.
I am no CPA. I am no accountant and I do not deal with financial statements. But the recent lessons we took in that class made me realize one thing that accountants have that is common to all other profession:
In the course of practicing our daily work, we all have a choice. A choice to lean towards the truth and to trust God that as we stand for integrity, He will take care of the rest of our worries.
It is not only the CPA’s that have integrity choices everyday, all of us, albeit unnoticed, have this too. I hope that all of us will find that integrity and a good conscience still weighs more than the false job security that we get when we succumb to the world’s patterns.
My respect and honor goes out to accountants who have kept their integrity and honesty despite the world’s pressures!
holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. [1 Timothy 1:19, NIV]
1 Timothy 1:19, accountant, choice, conscience, CPA, integrity, truth