As luck would have it the controller of the client was at the same restaurant that night and saw them acting in a romantic way. This raised a red flag for the controller because he had concerns that the audit was taking too long and the senior had seemed distracted the past few days.The controller called the managing partner of the firm and they met to discuss the issue.The policy was that a partner should not date a senior in the firm any more than a senior should date a junior staff accountant.If such dating eventually led to marriage, then one of the two must resign because of the conflicts of interest.Both employees knew about the firm’s policy on dating; they tried to be discreet about their relationship because they didn’t want to raise any suspicions.Over time, the two brought their relationship into the workplace by going out for lunches and coming back late, and the partner even sent flowers to the senior signing it with a nickname that another staff member knew about it.There’s no turning back for me.” Eventually she convinced him to put the relationship aside for the two weeks.The partner agreed but not before he convinced her to have a “farewell” dinner at their favorite restaurant.
As the story goes, they started a dating relationship that become much more involved even though the firm’s policy was that while it was acceptable for peers to date, the firm did not permit two members of different ranks within the firm to do so.A friend of the senior saw the note and became worried for her friend so she asked to speak to her.Basically, the friend said that others on the audit engagement were aware of the relationship between the two and she was jeopardizing her position with the firm.The outcome was that the partner’s share of the capital was brought out by the other partners because he had become involved in an inappropriate relationship once before.
The senior started to see the errors of her ways and that ethical blindness allowed her to rationalize her actions because the relationship was quite satisfying.
That night the senior called the partner and explained they had to put their relationship aside for the remaining two weeks of the audit engagement and then discuss where to go from there. In fact he said: “I’ve put everything on the line for you.