Today, I was pondering some of the interesting scenarios I have run across in my professional career. I thought I would share some, just in case anyone is facing these types of issues.
I’ll start off with an encounter from very early in my career. This story arises in almost every interview I do (either giving or receiving).
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away there was a small business owner who didn’t care much about the IRS or piercing the corporate veil. Within 2 weeks on the job, this business owner asked me to record a $20k expenditure on the business books. The expenditure was for a repairs to a friend’s home (this was not a remodeling business). Although young and naive, I was a college graduate with high moral standards. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I know now that many bookkeepers would do whatever the owner asked and simply make a disclaimer that they only record what the owner tells them to. Well, not I! No way! I was an employee and I needed this job, but even way back then, I couldn’t allow myself to sell out my values (and the IRS standards, etc) for anyone. What to do, what to do?
Well, here’s what I did… I bravely (okay not bravely, awkwardly is more like it), walked into the owner’s office and pulled up a chair. I calmly explained that in my humble opinion, what his business needed was a honest bookkeeper with high ethical standards. "If I make this entry for you, then I’m not that person. So, as I see it, you have two choices…don’t make me record the entry and I’ll go back to work, or fire me right now because I am honest and I’m not going to do it."
Since a former bookkeeper had embezzled from him, he decided to go down the honest path and let me get back to work. I managed to keep my job and integrity.
~Kelly Totten, www.acclaroaccounting.com