Oh My Fraud

Certified Public Accountants (CPA) are highly regarded, ethical professionals trusted by businesses and individuals alike. But that doesn’t mean some aren’t capable of impressively unethical behavior. In this episode, Caleb and Greg discuss a case involving the mega accounting firm Ernst & Young that highlights behavior that’s not uncommon in the profession and what that means for accountants’ ethics more broadly.


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Greg Kyte, CPA
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gregkyte
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregkyte/

Caleb Newquist
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cnewquist
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/calebnewquist/

EMAIL : ohmyfraud@earmarkcpe.com


Creators & Guests

Caleb Newquist
Writer l Content at @GustoHQ | Co-host @ohmyfraud | Founding editor @going_concern | Former @CCDedu prof | @JeffSymphony board member | Trying to pay attention.
Greg Kyte, CPA
Mega-pastor of @comedychurch and the de facto worlds greatest accounting cartoonist.

What is Oh My Fraud?

"Oh My Fraud" is an irreverent podcast from CPA/comedian Greg Kyte and blogger/former CPA Caleb Newquist.

The two come together to unpack their favorite frauds and explore the circumstances, psychology, and interpersonal dynamics involved. They also fully indulge in victim-blaming the defrauded widows, orphans, infirm and feeble-minded—because who can resist?

If you fancy yourself a trusted advisor—or prefer your true crime with spreadsheets instead of corpses—listen to this show to learn what to watch out for to keep your clients, your firm, and even yourself safe.

Speaker1: [00:00:00] On June 28th, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission, we know it as the SEC. They issued a press release that announced that Ernst and Young's US firm had to pay $100 million fine because its employees were cheating on their ethics exams. And Ernst and Young was also, like, misleading. They were Ernst. So not only were Ernst and Young employees cheating on their ethics exam, then when the SEC is like saying, Hey, Ernst and Young, are your people cheating on the ethics exam? Ernst and Young is like, um, I don't know, maybe. And they were like, they absolutely knew. So so they were misleading the SEC during their investigation. Right? And so it's like this it's this convoluted, like cheating on an ethics exam right there. That's like that sort of breaks your brain. But then it's like also like like trying to trying to lying about cheating on your ethics is is like the third turn in the whole story. This is Oh My Fraud, a true crime podcast where our hosts are young instead of our country's for men being old. I'm Greg Kite. And I'm Caleb Newquist. Greg. How? Yes. What kind of student were you? Were you a good student? Yeah, I was. I was a pretty awesome student in school. I got. I got bused to a magnet school for the gifted and talented. No kidding. Elementary school. Really? Yep. I absolutely did. That's why I had no friends in my neighborhood. Because I got busted out of town to another place. Okay. Yep. So, uh.

Speaker2: [00:01:55] So how good of a student were you?

Speaker1: [00:01:57] Well, I got better and better in high school. I had a 3.95 GPA, which is also weird because I still wasn't in the top 5% of my graduating class. But then I had a 3.45 when I graduated from the University of Washington with my math degree, which obviously 3.45 is lower than 3.95. But it was also, you know, college respectable. But then exactly when I went back to school to get my undergraduate in accounting, I got all A's except for one A minus in macroeconomics because of a goddamn group project that screwed me and always my crowning achievement educationally. I got a 4.0, uh, in my MBA program from Utah State University. So nice look at you. Yeah, Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:02:47] Nice work. Yeah. So did you ever. So here's a here's kind of a. Here's a maybe touchy subject, but maybe not. Did you ever cheat in school? Like, did you ever copy the answers on homework or do you look up somebody's test or anything like that?

Speaker1: [00:03:02] Yeah, I cheated on everything in my MBA program and that's how I know. I wonder. That's how I got my perfect 4.0. No, um, no, it's funny, I, I don't actually, like, I don't have any solid memories of actually, like, cheating, cheating on any tests or anything like that.

Speaker2: [00:03:24] What about the CPA exam? I mean, cheating on that seemed more or less impossible to me. When I took it, it was still pencil and paper. And I remember in Colorado, we took it at a place called the Merchandise Mart, which was just this big, this this giant open air, kind of like a Quonset, basically. And like we were all in there, like rows and rows and rows and tables of people, um, taking the exam. And there were proctors pacing the floor just everywhere during the entire two days that we were taking the test. And so, like, it just, I mean, even if I like, I had no plans to cheat, but like just the monitoring that was going on, it's like, I don't know how anyone would cheat anyway. It just in any kind of significant way that would make a difference. It just seemed impossible to me. Right.

Speaker1: [00:04:15] And I see. And I kind of felt the same way because I took the computer based exam. Yeah. And and same thing I see. I don't even know how anybody could cheat because the information that they're testing for is so broad that, like, you'd have to bring in like, a textbook that was full of post-it notes that were well labeled too even. And even then you'd waste so much time digging through that book that you'd you wouldn't have time to finish that section of the test so.

Speaker2: [00:04:47] You wouldn't finish. And that's, that's worse. Like what if I remember? Right, Right. When I was studying, they said, just get through the section. Like if you don't finish it, like especially like the big essay and computational questions at the end cause those were worth so much. She's like, if you don't get to those, like, it's not going to go well for you. And so like if you're wasting all this time trying to get multiple choice questions, right, like, right, you would never get to the, the, the questions that are worth a bunch of points. So I don't know. Right. Well.

Speaker1: [00:05:19] And you think back to like those movies in the 80s like the high school movies where people have the answers written like on their forearm underneath their sweater and they put and it's like you don't have a you don't have enough forearm to have the information that would help you at all in the exam. I did. I do like to think, though, I didn't cheat on the exam. I like to think that I cheated the system, though, Caleb, because, uh. Well, so like you were saying, it's it's important to get through the entire test. And the very first section I took was. Was audit. And I almost, like, I barely got through everything, But that's because it's. I can't remember how it was like a three hour test, 3.5 hour test, something like that. And I and I had to use the bathroom partway through it. And in the testing center I was at the bathroom was like on the other side of the building from where the the computer lab was, where we were taking the test. So it probably took me like literally it probably took me ten minutes to just go, Oh, man. During the middle of the test. And so, so when I got to rig, I was like, Well, screw that. And so I. I wore adult diapers to the rig section, the test, so that I would not have to go to the to the bathroom.

Speaker1: [00:06:34] And then and then, of course, that rig think is the shortest of all four of the sections of the or at least I think if it wasn't the shortest it was one of the shorter ones then. And that was the only section where I didn't have to go to the bathroom in the middle of a test. But listen, you're prepared. You're prepared. No, no, no, listen, If you go to the exam wearing adult diapers, I was like, I'm not going to not use these while I'm here. So I forced myself to piss myself during rig just because I didn't go to all that trouble to not to piss myself. And then the best part was in my mind, I was like, you know, afterward, like afterwards, I'll just go. I'll go into the, you know, whatever the restroom is and the testing center, I'll, I'll rip them off and I'll just commando my way home. I didn't think about the fact that the restroom at the testing center might not be like a single occupant. Kind of. Right. Yeah. So I'm in this bathroom after the test. There's plenty of people who have to go to the bathroom after this test, and I'm in the stall taking my pants off and ripping off this adult diaper in a very not inconspicuous way. So, um. So, yeah.

Speaker3: [00:07:50] System.

Speaker2: [00:07:52] Well, that's one for the ages, Greg. Right there.

Speaker1: [00:07:56] Yeah, it.

Speaker2: [00:07:58] But as you as as you know, Greg, and as many of our listeners know, after you pass the CPA exam, we're we're jumping past a lot of this stuff. But once you pass that exam, candidates in many states, they also have to pass an ethics exam. Which brings us to the subject of today's episode, Greg.

Speaker1: [00:08:23] Yeah, cheating and not just any cheating. Cheating on an ethics exam. The shortest path to hell.

Speaker2: [00:08:39] All right. So to start off some background, for those not familiar. In order to become a certified public accountant aka CPA, a person must pass the uniform CPA examination. In 2023, at the time of this recording, the CPA exam consisted of four sections or it consists of four section. I'm speaking in the present tense. What the fuck is wrong with me?

Speaker1: [00:09:05] Yeah, we're here right now.

Speaker2: [00:09:06] Right? We're here right now. Those four sections are auditing and attestation, business, environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting and regulation. And candidates must achieve a grade of 75 on each section to pass the exam.

Speaker1: [00:09:24] Caleb, did you did you fail any of the four sections? Do you have to retake any of the four?

Speaker2: [00:09:29] I did not. Nope. Passed all four. Yeah.

Speaker1: [00:09:31] Me too. First first shot. Good work. Nice. Good work.

Speaker2: [00:09:35] Nice work. Nice work, Greg. Okay, so once. Which, by the way, most people don't do it the first shot.

Speaker1: [00:09:46] We're. We're exceptional. We're.

Speaker2: [00:09:48] Yeah. You said it, not me. Uh, so anyway, once all those four sessions are passed, as we kind of alluded to, the candidates are not done. Most US states require candidates to pass an ethics exam, and many of those states simply use an exam that's A developed and put out by the AICPA, which, again, if you're not familiar, it is a professional association for certified public accountants. And and so they have a course and they put it out. And if you pass that exam that that counts as as passing the ethics assessment requirement. But a few states have their own test. But generally speaking, that's that's how it works.

Speaker1: [00:10:32] Where were you licensed? Were you licensed in New York or in Nebraska?

Speaker2: [00:10:36] Colorado and New York. I was originally in New York, yeah, originally licensed in Colorado. And then when I moved to New York, got licensed in New York.

Speaker1: [00:10:45] Gotcha. Did did you have to My guess is New York probably had their own. Is that correct?

Speaker2: [00:10:51] I did not have to pass the ethics in New York. It was because it was what do you call it? Because I was already licensed. Yeah. I think I had just I just qualified for reciprocity because I was already licensed in Colorado. So my at my first job, I remember taking the ethics exam at the firm where I was working, which was just a small firm, I remember, and we'll get into the details in a bit, but I did it at work.

Speaker1: [00:11:18] Yeah. Gotcha. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:11:20] Okay. Yeah. And since we're talking about these ethics tests, we'll just. We'll just. Go into detail a little bit here, but they're actually very straightforward. They're entirely multiple choice. They're open book. And what that and what I mean by open book is that you're provided materials that will have the information that will help you answer the questions. But it's kind of tricky because it's not it's not a walk in a park like the ethics exam is actually quite difficult. You have to get 90% of the answers or I'm sorry, you have to answer 90% of the questions correctly. And it is kind of notoriously difficult. Like these ethics questions, there's like, you know, it's the classic there's two very you know, there's there's two answers that are very, very possibly likely. And you just have to pick the right one. And lots of people don't pick the right one. So it's it's a tough it's a tough test even if it's open book. Well.

Speaker1: [00:12:16] And they get into the nitty gritty of some of the stupid rules about independence where it's like, yep. So if are you independent, if your second cousin owns an immaterial amount of shares in a company that you didn't audit, but that your firm is auditing and it's like, yes, Oh, Jesus, let me. Okay, Yeah. So, so you have to, you know, so if you it's yeah, it's the minutia is what they're, what they're after and that's must be why they justify the fact that it's open book. Yep.

Speaker2: [00:12:50] And the other thing that's important is that you can't waste a ton of time in terms of waiting to pass this ethics exam because I believe most jurisdictions require you to pass it either within a year or two of when you passed your last section of the CPA. So if you're working a ton of hours at a CPA firm, those 1 or 2 years, they can go by fast.

Speaker1: [00:13:19] They can. Although how quick did you take yours? I took mine immediately, more.

Speaker2: [00:13:26] Or less immediately. But like I was working, I took. But see, here's here's here's where I can. I remember it like it was yesterday. I took the test in the fall. I didn't get my results until the following February. So it was my first ethics exam. No, no, no, no, no. For my CPA exam. So, like. Okay, gotcha. Yeah. So I didn't get my results. So nowadays people get their results back real fast relative like. Yeah, like in, in a month, basically, Right? Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Yeah. So back for the written exam. It was it was more like four months and. Okay, so only then do I think I took the ethics exam after that. So it was in the middle of my first busy season. But I do remember like getting on it right away. Like I remember not wasting any time, but I have heard stories about people who. Are not messing around, but like they just put it off, they just procrastinate and then like time gets chewed up and then they're like running up against the deadline, whether it's a year or two years or whatever it is. Yeah, you can't you can't really do that. You're better off just getting it out of the way.

Speaker1: [00:14:37] Yeah, well, it's back in the paper pencil days when you had to take it. It must have been difficult to know which carrier pigeon had your results and not one of your coworkers results. Did that mess you up at all?

Speaker2: [00:14:51] It didn't personally mess me up, but. Okay, I can. I can imagine that this was something that happened from time to time.

Speaker1: [00:15:01] Okay. Well, one way or another, that's that's a great sum up of the of the ethics portion. You know, the ethics requirement for becoming a licensed CPA in pretty much every state in the in the country. But let's let let's let's go ahead and jump into the actual case. We're talking about for this episode, because it's it's marvelous. It's marvelous what happened. It is. It's yeah, it's jaw droppingly stupid and marvelous and all of that. So the summary of the SEC order, which we have in the show notes, it has all the details. But but here's a here's a pull quote from that summary. And it says that 49 Ernst and Young audit professionals sent and or received answer keys to CPA ethics exams. In addition, hundreds of other audit professionals cheated on CPE courses, including those addressing CPAs, ethical obligations and a significant number of professionals who did not cheat themselves but knew their colleagues were cheating and facilitating cheating violated the firm's code of conduct by failing to report this misconduct. So if you know somebody who's cheating on their CPE, you're supposed to narc them out. That's in the code of conduct at Ernst and Young. Make sense?

Speaker2: [00:16:25] Caleb Makes perfect sense. Greg Yeah.

Speaker1: [00:16:28] And it's also like, you know, like we said, this, this whole cheating about cheating and lying about cheating on cheating, it's it's like too ironic too. It sounds too ironic to be even real. It sounds so ironic. It couldn't even be an Alanis Morissette song. It's because it's actually ironic and not just unfortunate. It's even absurd and ridiculous and. And we're here for it.

Speaker2: [00:16:57] Here's the we're here for it. Greg Right.

Speaker1: [00:16:59] We are. And but the SEC, like, it was so weird. The SEC had a hard time even believing what was happening. Gurbir Grewal, the director of the SEC's enforcement division, is quoted in a press release as saying, Yeah, my name really is Gurbir Grewal. And then later he was quoted as saying, It's simply outrageous that the very professionals responsible for catching cheating by clients cheated themselves on ethics exams, of all things. And it's equally shocking that Ernst and Young hindered our investigation of this misconduct. This action should serve as a clear message that the SEC will not tolerate integrity failures by independent auditors who choose the easier wrong over the harder right, which he probably felt pretty smug about that last turn of phrase. And clearly but but that's also that's also sec speak for we're super pissed about what you did.

Speaker2: [00:18:07] Yeah, they sound real mad.

Speaker1: [00:18:10] Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:18:11] Okay, Greg, here's a rundown of everything from the SEC sec order, because I think there's some necessary background and context so the listeners can fully understand why this cheating scandal is so ridiculous.

Speaker1: [00:18:28] You ready? Yeah. Lay it on us. Okay.

Speaker2: [00:18:32] Way back. Oh, and by the way, we didn't mention it earlier on, but Ernst and Young, if you are not familiar, I know many of the listeners are, but some of you may not be. Ernst and Young is one of the largest accounting firms in the world. I think it's the third largest, the third largest firm in the world, if I'm not mistaken.

Speaker1: [00:18:50] That. Yeah, that's my understanding. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:18:52] Number three, they have offices in well over 100 countries. The US firm is the largest firm and I think the revenues for the US firm is around like 13 or $14 billion. So, I mean, they make gobs and gobs and gobs of money.

Speaker1: [00:19:11] Yeah. 13 or 14 billion with a B. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:19:14] And that's just in the US globally it's like staggering over. Yeah. It's over $40 billion or something. I mean, it's a huge, huge firm and. They employ hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Tens of thousands in the US. It's a it's a big, big firm. So big name. Big name. Yep. Okay. Okay. So way back on board, right? Yo, man, Way back in December 2014, an internal whistleblower reported a flaw in the firm's software that allowed people to pass CPE exams without the required number of correct answers. So, again, a little bit of explanation. Maybe if you aren't familiar, once you're licensed as a CPA, you have to earn a certain number of what they call continuing professional education credits or CPE. You'll hear us mention it a bunch, but you have to have a certain number of hours every year to keep your license active. And you have to do things like listen to a podcast to earn those hours. Greg, you're still an active CPA. How many hours do you have to get in a year?

Speaker1: [00:20:22] Do we have to get 80 every two years? So it's okay, Which which I mean that standard wherever. I just talked to a guy from Ohio, he's got to get 120 every three years. Okay. But in Ohio it's you have to get you can't leave all 120 till the very end. You have to get at least 20 every year. But basically everywhere that as far as I know, everywhere in the United States, it's it averages out to 40 credits per year is what you need to keep your license active.

Speaker2: [00:20:51] Great. Got it. Okay, cool. So these employees, they're trying to earn the CPE credit so that they can keep their licenses active And. They figure out that there's a glitch in the system that lets them cheat to get it done. So this is happening in 2014. And after this whistleblower reports this flaw and the firm does an investigation, they learn that from 2012 to 2015, more than 200 Ernst and Young professionals in multiple offices had exploited this glitch to pass CPE exams. Okay. And as a result of this, Ernst and Young punished a lot of these people and reminded and reminded everyone that cheating is bad. Okay. Not cool. Violates our code of conduct. Et cetera. Et cetera. So far, so good.

Speaker1: [00:21:44] Yeah, more or less. I mean, first off, it's. It's always completely ineffective to send out an email to everyone in the company going, Hey, just heads up. Doing bad things is bad. We just want to make sure that you knew our official position on this. Right? So that's that's that's a little bit ridiculous. But I also I mean, this is this is me more taking a softer approach on this. Because you said that the glitch in the system was you could pass the CPE exams with a lower score than what like is required by the the regulatory bodies that regulate CPE. But I could see it if you're an employee at Ernst and Young taking some Ernst and Young CPE and you it shows you your score and maybe you got 60 right? Because usually most CPE my understanding is you got to get 80% right to get credit for your CPE maybe 70% somewhere around there. But let's say you got you got just a little bit below what you should have gotten to. Well, and I don't know, that's that's even a tell right there. I don't know what the exact percent is. You have to get on a CPE exam. And I take CPE exams all the time.

Speaker1: [00:23:00] But when it says I pass, I go, Oh, hooray, I pass. Cool. I don't have to retake that quiz. And I just I give the software the benefit of the doubt that it's smarter than me. So if it said you got you got 55% right, you passed, I'd go, okay, that seems low, but cool. So I will take my CPE and I will move on. Yeah, I'm probably not going to go to my higher ups and go, Hey, you know, I noticed this thing where I got a lower score than I thought should give me credit, but it still give me credit. I'm not supposed to have credit. Right? That that's the you know, that's the kid in school who asks the teacher if they forgot to give out homework. At the end of the day when the teacher hadn't given out homework that day. So. So, I mean, I, I can kind of I can see I can give the some of the Ernst and Young people a break for thinking. I think just because you got a lower score than was required doesn't necessarily mean that you were acting nefariously. That's that's basically what I'm getting at.

Speaker2: [00:24:04] You're allowing for a more nuanced.

Speaker1: [00:24:07] Yes. Kind of.

Speaker2: [00:24:08] Situation.

Speaker1: [00:24:10] Yes. Although at the same time, once that glitch was found out by Ernst and Young, the right thing for them to do would be to go back to all their employees and go, Hey, so you know how you got that 55%? And it said you passed, you didn't. So you need to go do it again. That's right. That's the other side of it is that Ernst and Young itself may have been acting nefariously or not taking full responsibility once they did figure out that that glitch happened. Right.

Speaker2: [00:24:37] All right. So despite the firm warning its employees about cheating. The cheating continued and when. Yeah, in 2016 and again remember this is all from the SEC order. In 2016, Ernst and Young learned that people in its Denver office had shared answer keys to CPE exams. Okay. Slightly different, those bastards. Slightly different method, but cheating nonetheless. Greg Yeah.

Speaker1: [00:25:13] Yeah, for sure.

Speaker2: [00:25:14] And finally, in 2017, the firm learned that two people had cheated on their ethics exams.

Speaker1: [00:25:22] And two people. Wait, so what? Yeah. What's the head count at a place like Ernst and Young? We're talking like, Oh, thousands, right? I mean.

Speaker2: [00:25:30] Nationwide, it's in the tens of thousands.

Speaker1: [00:25:34] Okay, but they found two.

Speaker2: [00:25:36] Yes. And like, I don't remember. You'd have to go back to the order for like this particular instance in 2017 because this is specifically talking about one year. But they they had learned that two people had cheated on their ethics exams. And right now, Greg. Some more cheating going on. What do you suppose the firm did next?

Speaker1: [00:25:59] They they, they they put the two people who cheated on a YouTube video where they berated them publicly to let the rest of the Ernst and Young staff learn from their example.

Speaker2: [00:26:12] Yeah, there was a flogging. Yeah, that's right.

Speaker1: [00:26:14] Yeah. More or less. Yeah. Yeah. Kind of a tarring and feathering I'm envisioning.

Speaker2: [00:26:19] If only. God, I wish that would be. Oh man. Would have made those going concern my going concern days so much easier. No they just, they just sent out another fucking email and just told people not to cheat.

Speaker1: [00:26:29] Like don't stop, knock it off. That was knocking off. That was the email. That was.

Speaker2: [00:26:34] Yeah, pretty much so. Okay. On June 17th. So we're jumping ahead a little bit here. On June 17th, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued an order against another firm, KPMG. Full disclosure, I used to work there.

Speaker1: [00:26:52] I thought that I was going. That was you, right, Caleb?

Speaker2: [00:26:55] But I wasn't there. I wasn't there. I wasn't there in 2019. But in any case.

Speaker1: [00:26:59] When did you when did you stop working for. It wasn't it wasn't even in the teens. You were still in the when you were out at KPMG.

Speaker2: [00:27:05] That was that was long ago. No, I my tenure ended there in 2008.

Speaker1: [00:27:11] Okay. So this was long before long before anyone started cheating at KPMG, I'm sure.

Speaker2: [00:27:17] Yes, I'm sure. Anyway, so again, June 17th, 2019, the SEC issues an order against KPMG for, among other things, cheating on internal training exams, and they fined KPMG $50 million.

Speaker1: [00:27:34] Two days later. Can I stop for. Just. Can I stop for just a second? Sure. Sure. I do think even so, even knowing how much revenue these companies make, a fine for $50 million for cheating on training exams. Yeah. Seems like a it's not a slap on the wrist. That's that. That's. I mean, it seems gigantic for the infraction of cheating on on continuing education. Do you did you feel that same way what do you what's your sense on that.

Speaker2: [00:28:16] I don't know. Like, I feel like the I feel like these agencies, they have kind of like formulas or I don't know, they they have to come up with these numbers somehow. They just don't pull them out of the air. Right. But in the case of this, I mean. I don't know. It's like this was also around the time that KPMG got busted for stealing. Like they were, um. They were cheating on their PCAOB inspections. So it's just one of those things where you're just like 50 million. But because you know the size of the team, it just feels like it always it always feels like a slap on the wrist to me because the because the vines are small and the firms are so big. It will it just always feels like a slap on the wrist to me.

Speaker1: [00:29:01] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you're talking a fraction of 1% of the revenue. Yeah. Is $5,050 million. But on the other. But see, I would think if you're cheating on your to me, cheating on your PCAOB reviews, the PCAOB, the Public company Accounting Oversight Board, they're the ones who make sure that they're supposed to be like a a regulatory quality control group for auditors. And so they're double checking the auditor's work to make sure the auditors are doing their audits. They're auditing the auditors is what they're doing. So if you're lying to the auditors who are auditing your audits, that seems like a bigger deal than. Oh, I, I got I got some help getting through the jumping through these hoops at work. Right. Because that's. Yeah. And I got more to say about the jumping through hoops at work, but still, I feel like $50 million, which was only half of what Ernst and Young got dinged is both of those are staggering. Just for cheating on CPE to to me I feel like they are. But but you're also right that it's not big picture. The the those firms are just fine.

Speaker2: [00:30:13] They're doing. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. Okay, so SEC issues this order against KPMG. Two days later, June 19th, is US chair and managing partner, sends a message out to all its employees and says, Hey.

Speaker1: [00:30:30] Don't cheat on CPE stuff.

Speaker2: [00:30:34] Okay. Yeah, that. So another warning about cheating. Okay. That same day, June 19th, the Securities and Exchange Commission inquired of if it had, quote, received any ethics or whistleblower complaints regarding testing associated with any training program or continuing professional education course. End of quote. So what I'm guessing here is the SEC said. Mm. Maybe let's just ask around and see if these other firms have had any, you know, similar things happen, Right? That's my guess. Right. Perfectly, perfectly reasonable thing to do. And so that's what they did. Absolutely. So I got the request and they responded the next day, June 20th. And they in that response, they described five matters relating to cheating. One of those included the two ethics exam cheaters from 2017 that we mentioned a little earlier. Okay. This response did not mention anything about any current issues with cheating. Okay. Okay. So you might be wondering, well, what about that? Why is that important? Well, the day before they submitted that response to the SEC, again, this is so they they responded on the 20th. So on June 19th, an employee reported to a manager that a professional in the firm's audit group had emailed the employee answers to a CPA ethics exam that afternoon. The manager informed an EA human resources employee of the tip, which was then relayed to others in Eai's Human Resources Group.

Speaker1: [00:32:12] Okay. So on the 20th they said they just didn't say that there was any current issues with cheating. But the day before that some issues with cheating had just been brought to their attention.

Speaker2: [00:32:27] Yes, correct. And then marvelous. Yep. And then the next this next bit here, Senior Ernst and Young attorneys got the SEC's request on June 19th. Like we said, they reviewed the response that was submitted on June 20th and by no later than June 21st, the next day, those that the senior attorneys knew about, the June 19th tip about the employee who had received the answers to the ethics exam.

Speaker1: [00:32:57] Okay. So with that in mind, because that was one of the things I was thinking. It's like, okay, if on the 19th somebody says, hey, some some knucklehead sent me some some stuff to cheat on an ethics exam, I could see it, especially in a giant organization like Ernst and Young, that it would take it would take a beat for it to get from the initial whistleblower to the upper management. And then since they had submitted their thing the day before the these guys actually heard about it, I could see them going, well, that was actually, you know, what's that? The thing that you sign, it's like everything to the best of my knowledge. True, Exactly to the best. And it was on June 20th. Yes. But on June 21st. And that's A And I go, these guys are attorneys and they're going to the best of our knowledge. That was right. So timing was pretty good on this that we didn't receive this information until June 21st. Right? Pushes up glasses.

Speaker2: [00:33:55] Um, so I'm just. I'm just curious what you think, Greg. I think everything you're saying is valid. And knowing lawyers or knowing. Lawyers. Reputation. Fair or unfair, I think everything you said is probably. Relative is probably pretty accurate. But what do you think, Greg Kite is actually the prudent move here or as they say in Frozen two, What is the next right thing?

Speaker1: [00:34:20] Well, since they cheated on the ethics CPE, I'm going to say that these guys didn't know ethics. So I guess they were more like into the unknown. Also from Frozen two, you're not the only person who had children who were of the right demographic to be enamored with Frozen two. I also had, although you guys are just getting into it, right? This is fresh for you?

Speaker2: [00:34:47] Yeah, it's very fresh.

Speaker1: [00:34:48] Right. But no, but but here's the here's the thing. So all of that aside, and you know this, Caleb, because we've talked about ethics tons. Yeah. Transparency is the silver bullet for ethics. If you when in doubt, tell people what you know. So regardless of the fact that the attorney cited the thing that says to the best of my knowledge, the foregoing information is perfectly accurate, the next day they find stuff up. Transparency is the right answer. They needed to follow that up with another communication to the SEC going, Hey, I know we just sent you something yesterday, but weird we just found about out about this stuff today and that would have been just, just by. And again, I get it that Ernst and Young, especially seeing the KPMG, got fined $50 million, their butts were puckered up about this whole thing and they absolutely didn't want to narc themselves out. But that's that's not the right approach to go with this stuff. Because because, Caleb all of this stuff is everyone's actions on all of this is to maintain the reputation of CPAs in the marketplace. That's why that's why the SEC wants to find companies $50 million and $100 million for cheating on on internal professional education courses because any cheating is going to undermine what they're doing, which is the whole irony of the entire thing, that people who are looking that that as an auditor, you're looking for other people who are cheating and when you yourself are cheating, then all of a sudden it you're you're you're no good to anybody at that point. But also the CPA firm themselves has to realize that their reputation is based on their being ethical. And so then you go, okay, maybe we're going to try to cover it up so nobody ever figures out about this stuff. But when you get caught, you're double damned. And they played their cards wrong. And again, if you go if they just played along, it wouldn't it wouldn't have been it wouldn't have become this big fucking deal that it was. You with me?

Speaker2: [00:36:56] Totally with you, Caleb. Absolutely. But that's not what happened, Greg. That's not what happened.

Speaker1: [00:37:03] That's not what happened. No, that's not what happened.

Speaker2: [00:37:05] Not at all.

Speaker1: [00:37:06] Absolutely not. So it wasn't what? Innocent young did instead. And again, according to the SEC order that we that we have mentioned before, they the tip submission failed to include involved cheating on ethics exams. It was sufficiently concerning to the firm that it began an extensive investigation. Yet despite the message from Eai's US chair and managing partner only two days earlier about the importance of integrity and honesty, that's the email we were talking about. You did not correct its submission to the SEC's enforcement division.

Speaker2: [00:37:46] And as you've kind of established this, Greg, but do you think it's weird that they didn't correct that submission? I get the sense that you don't think you.

Speaker1: [00:37:57] Think you you you.

Speaker2: [00:37:58] Think it is weird, but it's actually not weird.

Speaker1: [00:38:02] Yeah, it's well, the I mean, again, it's, it's hypocrisy and it's irony because like that, like the order says it's like two days ago. Hey, higher ups at Ernst and Young. You just sent an email out saying, hey, let's let's be honest with in what we're doing. And then two days later you're like, hey, but yeah, let's not let's not tell them about this cheating thing that's going on. It's just so it's.

Speaker2: [00:38:27] Just between us, right?

Speaker1: [00:38:28] Yeah, exactly. Which and again, you know, it's one of those things where I get it how they can rationalize it, where it's like, well, we're not lying. We're just not being completely forthright. And it's like, it's the same fucking thing, right? And and they know it's the same fucking thing. And especially as auditors, they need to know it's the same fucking thing because that's because they're, they're trying. They're, their job is to pin, to have professional skepticism and to pin their clients to the wall, even though that's a whole nother story as to whether or not they're actually independent from their clients that pay them and if they really will pin them to the wall. But in theory, that's what they do. And they're they would in no way take the explanation of, well, it's not that we lied. We just you didn't ask the right question or you didn't ask the question on the right day. Right. So it's all it's all timing. It's a.

Speaker2: [00:39:20] Timing difference.

Speaker1: [00:39:22] You know? Exactly. Exactly, exactly. And then the other thing is that I'm sure. I'm sure and again, even my bias in this direction was revealed earlier in our conversation. But they probably saw CPE as just being red tape, just being hoops that you got to jump through and not really being important. So they they were like, you know, this is this is kind of we're still good at what we do, even if we don't jump through the hoops that that are required of us. But that and that and that's that's pervasive in our profession. And I guess maybe there was still some A. What is it? What's the what's the first denial? Maybe there was still some denial that the SEC really was that serious about enforcing things like cheating on internal training exams, even after seeing KPMG getting dinged by it. But but yeah, it's it's it's weird. It's weird. Even though I think I can get inside their head and figure out maybe how they justified it to themselves. But regardless of all of that, Ernst and Young started its own investigation that revealed again in the SEC order a, quote, significant misconduct. And here's a here's a larger pull quote from the from the order. Again, it says, Despite all of the warnings by audit professionals had continued to cheat by using answer keys that they had received from colleagues to pass exams and sharing answer keys with others. The investigation confirmed that audit professionals in multiple offices cheated on ethics exams. They also cheated on a wide variety of CPE courses, including courses on ethics. And why did they cheat? Well, the SEC says this Many professionals acknowledged during the firm's investigation that they knew their conduct violated EES code of conduct, but they cheated because of work commitments or an inability to pass training exams after multiple attempts and. Right. Which well, too busy. What's your knee jerk too busy.

Speaker2: [00:41:43] Had to cheat because I was busy.

Speaker1: [00:41:44] Right at which is is BS but also it's not because yeah you know from I mean you know because. Cause you're in in a Big Four firm. And, you know, from all of the horror stories that people sent in to you when you were at going concern that they're not wrong when you're when you're required during busy season to work 60 billable hours per week, you're probably going to be passing a passing another CPE test is probably pretty low on your to do list, right?

Speaker2: [00:42:18] It sure is. Yes. Yeah.

Speaker1: [00:42:22] The the part that's weird to me is people who had an inability to pass these exams after multiple attempts because yeah, having taken hundreds and hundreds of hours of continuing professional education, none of the exams are that hard. I mean they're, they're, they're so it's just like, were you half paying attention? It's not like what we said about the original CPA licensure ethics exam, where it is very detailed for, for just the training exams. It's usually like, yeah, as long as your head wasn't up your butt or you weren't sleeping, you should be able to get at least a passing score on the on the exam. Right. That's my experience. Is your was yours similar to.

Speaker2: [00:43:07] That that tracks for me man.

Speaker1: [00:43:09] Okay even even for internal training it was still the same where the exams. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:43:15] I mean like and especially in the matters of like, I mean, unless you're being tested, like as the example you gave earlier is like, unless you're being tested on like the specifics of independence, which audit firms do they, they do have to you did have to pass those and they still have to pass those on an annual basis. And those can be tricky. Right? But even still, yeah. You can pass them eventually. Like they're not so difficult, right? It would be like it's like, Oh, this is my 13th attempt. And I'm still it's like it shouldn't. I mean, come on. Right. It's the same test every time.

Speaker1: [00:43:50] Full, full disclosure. Back in the day, this was back in 2008, 2009, I tried to pass the QuickBooks Advanced ProAdvisor exam and I probably took it 20 times and failed every single time on that. So I, I also know there are some that are just beasts, but, but in my defense, just the regular because that was the advanced ProAdvisor test. Just the regular ProAdvisor test. I, I passed that and I think I'd opened QuickBooks like a total of 12 times. So. Oh there's yeah, there's different different levels. But all that said, what about let's talk about. Yes, let's.

Speaker2: [00:44:32] Talk about those. What about those professionals who knew about the cheating and didn't report it?

[00:44:38] Yeah, well, yeah. Why didn't they speak up, Greg Right. Because as we said in an earlier quote from the the report is that that that itself is a violation of Ernst and Young's code of conduct. So again, another pull quote from this order. It says, many of these professionals attributed their silence to a lack of appreciation that sharing exam answers constituted cheating and violated Ernst and Young's code of conduct and a desire to avoid getting colleagues in trouble. So they were saying, Hey, I didn't know that telling people the answers to a test that they haven't taken it. I didn't know that was cheating bullshit and didn't know that Ernst and Young had some kind of code of conduct that said that I couldn't help people cheat bullshit. And the probably the biggest thing is I didn't want to narc out my friends because, you know, stitches get snitches and or yeah, I'm going to stay with snitches get stitches or close enough.

Speaker1: [00:45:38] I just fucked up my fucking thing. And, you know, as children were told not to tattle on our friends, so. Right, right. So, so that last part, I think, is the one part that holds. All told, 91 audit professionals requested, used or shared answer keys with colleagues after AEI's US chair and managing partner sent the message highlighting the SEC enforcement action against KPMG yet again reminding personnel not to cheat and yet again discussing the importance of integrity. So they're their their idea of how to squash this was completely, clearly completely ineffective.

Speaker2: [00:46:27] Now, remember, senior lawyers knew that their submission to the SEC was incomplete. Pretty quickly, they learned of the tip about cheating on the ethics exams the day after their report was submitted. But and they did not correct it. Those senior lawyers did, however, inform the firm's executive committee and senior management. And here's a quick recap of what all of those people knew. Okay. In October of 2019, three months after the submission, AEI's senior management knew that, number one, the SEC had sanctioned KPMG for exam cheating by its professionals. They knew that the SEC staff had asked about tips they had received involving exam related misconduct. They also knew that you had received a tip about sharing answer keys to the CPA ethics exam. They also knew that the cheating involved more than a small number of individuals in a single office, and the firm had not disclosed the tip that they received. They had not disclosed that to the SEC. So with all that, the firm then broadened its investigation according to the order. But they still didn't correct their submission from June. So three months have gone by and they haven't corrected their submission. And they but their investigation has continued and the scope of it has gotten bigger and so and so. But why are they doing this right? So so why haven't they corrected the record with the SEC? Well, here's what the order says. You decided to inform the PCAOB. Okay. Who we talked about a little bit earlier. However, it would not do so yet you decided to delay disclosing the misconduct even to the PCAOB until the extent of the misconduct within the firm was clearer and had a credible plan in place to address the problem. Okay. So, Greg, is that a good reason to not tell them about the tip that they got about the ethics exam cheating? Are you are you buying the logic? Are you buying the logic here of these internal leaders?

Speaker1: [00:48:47] Short answer, No, it's not It's not a good that's not a good reason. However, I also if I put myself into their position, and especially, you know, once once they make the initial decision to not immediately go back to the SEC and go, Hey, a day after we put in that that thing, we found out some more information, Then you can start maybe trying to cover your ass by going, Yeah, we were, we were looking into it internally to try because if it was just one person who received the these, you know, this answer key, then that's not a big deal. But we wanted to see if it was a bigger, a bigger issue than that. We wanted to do a thorough investigation to see just how far this went. And then we were going to tell you everything that we found out about it. But you should have been like, Hey, no, we found this out. Please, you know, please hold while we find out the extent so that that's how the that that would have been the right way to do things. But again, I think they were very motivated by the again, their their butts being puckered up with what happened to KPMG.

Speaker1: [00:49:53] I also think they probably it's the this principle that an old boss of mine used to say where he said deliver bad news quickly, because the longer you take to deliver the bad news, like, the worse it becomes. If you don't if you don't say it right away, if if you wait a week to tell somebody what you knew the day after you submitted that, then everybody's going to go, why did you wait a week to tell me that stuff? So like the bad news, even though the bad news doesn't change, it gets worse the longer you wait to tell it. And I think they knew that. So then they were trying to figure out a way to to make it, you know, to to take that that dynamic away at least with a story that they and again, I also could see where Ernst and Young legitimately did want to go. Hey, let's figure out if this is a big problem or just a little teeny problem before we hang ourselves out to dry so that that part kind of makes sense to me.

Speaker2: [00:50:50] So when finally disclosed this. As we said, they went to the PCAOB first. And on the one hand, that kind of makes sense because the PCAOB is the auditor regulator. But the SEC is the one who made the inquiry. So maybe it doesn't make sense at all. In any case, the SEC was not happy that this is the route that they took or the or the or that that's how they handled it. And the SEC, they didn't even find out about it until March of 2020. So that's almost nine months after the June 19th, 2019 request. And the SEC actually only found out because the PCAOB notified the SEC. That the that had disclosed that number, that a number of their employees had cheated on these exams. So they didn't even get it. They didn't even get it first.

Speaker1: [00:51:46] Right. And that to me and that's where Ernst and Young's stuff seems shady to me, where it's like, okay, so we we told we told the SEC a half truth and now let's tell the whole truth. So it's like we, we were talking with mom and and we told her what I mean, we didn't lie to her, but we didn't. We didn't really totally tell. So. But we told dad everything and so, so, so, so collectively, we told our parents everything is what they, what they think. But they, but they didn't. They were just trying to not get. I mean that seems more calculated than like that seems not just more that seems absolutely calculated in them trying to trying to not knowing that they screwed up and trying to still somehow weasel their way out of it. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:52:38] And when you read the SEC, the excuse me, when you read the SEC order, I mean, you can tell they're pissed. And I love reading sec. I love reading these SEC orders. And. And they're like this all the time. Like any no matter what you're reading about, like, the subtext of it is so good. Like, who don't know. Somebody over there knows what they're doing. But anyway, here's here's a good quote. By withholding information about misconduct, that new SEC staff was investigating, continued misrepresentations to the SEC's division of enforcement significantly hindered the SEC's ability to take action that would protect investors from audit. Professionals who do not understand their ethical obligations, fail to act with appropriate professional integrity and have not met or needed to cheat in order to meet minimum professional requirements to demonstrate their knowledge of important accounting principles. So they're like really getting on their high horse about it, right? Yeah. And they're just like, Yeah, you guys are in a position of authority and responsibility and oh, by the way, you're fucking terrible at it, right?

Speaker1: [00:53:45] See if you just read that slightly in a more stern tone. Yeah, it would have. It would, it would be. It'd be like by withholding information about misconduct, that new SEC staff was investigating, Ernst and Young continued misrepresentation. And they're total dipshits and fucked.

Speaker2: [00:54:05] I mean, we should Maybe you and I should do a dramatic reading of these or something. Yeah, it'd be kind of fun.

Speaker1: [00:54:11] That'd be great. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:54:13] Anyway, all right, so for all this cheating and all this pussyfooting around the cheating, the SEC, as we mentioned, fined $100 million. This was the largest fine ever imposed by the SEC on an audit firm, for what it's worth.

Speaker1: [00:54:27] And that. And and that's crazy to me, too. Yeah. When you think of the massive audit failures of gigantic firms that the biggest fine ever imposed was for cheating on CPE mean, that's again, it's.

Speaker2: [00:54:44] Crazy to me to think that if you think about Lehman Brothers who went bankrupt in 2008 was the auditor of Lehman Brothers, okay? There was a lot of shady stuff going on at Lehman Brothers that eventually led to its bankruptcy. Ui. Yeah, it was it was the bankruptcy examiner, like the person who basically does the autopsy of the bankrupt company at the time. That person or that law firm issued a report that said, yeah, there's there's claims against here like they are not they are not absolved of responsibility. And like you're telling me that this fine is bigger than whatever the fine was that you paid because they certainly paid a fine. I'm sure they did. I have to look it up. I don't know, off the top of my head. But like, this fine is bigger than the Lehman Brothers. Fine. Like, that's crazy to me, right?

Speaker1: [00:55:34] It's like, hey, remember that thing that arguably sparked the biggest recession that's ever going to happen in any of our lifetimes? Yeah, that was cute. But what we're really pissed off about is cheating on tests. And that's that's sort of what that's sort of the message that's.

Speaker2: [00:55:50] Kind of that's kind of the, the, the vibe I'm getting here anyway. Yeah. In addition to the fine also agreed to, to the firm agreed to several quote unquote undertakings which included reviewing its policies and procedures around ethics and integrity delivering. They have to deliver a written report to the SEC summarizing any changes that it will make and implement related to that review.

Speaker1: [00:56:14] Which is like we will send out. We will send out emails reminding people to be ethical once a quarter rather than once a year.

Speaker2: [00:56:21] That's right. Yep. And they also had to retain they also have to retain an independent consultant to review all of it who will also write a report and submit that work and recommendations to the SEC and mean all this like all these gory details are in the order and if you care to read all that stuff. But I just have to say. Greg, this is. This is quite a mess, man. It's kind of a it's a fine mess is what it is. And I think my favorite quote that I read about this story was in The Wall Street Journal, and it came from a Stanford law professor by the name of Joseph Grundfest. And he told the Journal, quote, This conduct was more than just dishonest. It was remarkably stupid. And he went on, The stupidity might actually trump the dishonesty, if that's possible in this situation.

Speaker1: [00:57:12] Yeah. Again, that's like that's like accountant speak for I'm really, really mad right now. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker2: [00:57:30] So, Greg, did we learn anything? I mean, there's some obvious things, right? Dishonest? Yes. Remarkably stupid. Absolutely. But I'm just wondering, what else is on your mind here, if we learned anything?

Speaker1: [00:57:44] Well, this this reinforces something that I. That I. I mean, that I researched. I'm going to put research in quotes, but I researched a long time ago about cheating on continuing education and that it is endemic in the accounting profession. Do you do you remember the article that I wrote for going concern about A about CPE fraud?

Speaker2: [00:58:09] I don't. Oh my gosh. Now I want to go back and read it. Oh, it was okay.

Speaker1: [00:58:14] It was the the article itself was fine, but what was the best part? Because that's the the what I found was the most interesting thing of what you created on going concern was this very active, a group of consumers of the media that you put out who were very, very willing to to throw all of their dissatisfaction about the profession back at us in the in the in the comments. Yeah. So I so I wrote this I wrote this post about how continuing education fraud is just is rampant in the profession. And, and we got so many well I actually gathered a bunch of of stories for the post that I wrote, one of which was great that there was a there was like a somebody who who earned 40 hours of continuing education in a 20 in 1 day. And so so they earned 40 hours of wait. Is that how it works in 24? Yeah. Well well that and like my my my thought was this guy cheated so hard that he literally broke the time space continuum. That's how that's how hard that guy was cheating. Wow. So so you get these stories. But then in the in the in the comments, it was crazy. There was actually someone who said that as an intern at I believe it was at a Big Four firm. They were driving in a car. They like their the partner who was in charge of whatever engagement they were on was driving these interns and these these, you know, lower level staff members to a to an engagement. And in the car, on the car phone on the speaker that the partner calls his wife, who's also a CPA, and says, hey, honey, were you able to pass that CPA, that ethics CPE test for me? So so like very publicly going, hey, babe, you cheated on that ethics exam.

Speaker1: [01:00:13] Did you do it? Are we good? Am I am I good to go on that? And with that is showing these impressionable young staff people and interns that that's absolutely acceptable to do that kind of stuff in our profession. And and there was, you know, even to the point where there was a guy who he let his license lapse. Now, so it's not as big of a deal. But back when he still had an active CPA license, he told me that every because, like I said, in Utah, every two years we have to have 8080 credits of CPE, he said Every year in the week between Christmas and New Year's. And this was before like online based CPE was so, so ubiquitous. So back then he would be like I in the week between Christmas and New Year, I would just order a whole bunch of self-study CPE I wouldn't read any of it. I would just go and take the quizzes for all of it and I'd use like the, the, the index to find the answers in the stuff. And he's like, Yeah, I could burn through 8080 credits easy in a week doing that. And it's like, yeah that's, that's cheating. That's not you didn't get 80 hours of continuing education, you passed you half assed it and used a workaround to, to find, to not learn an hour's worth of material, but to learn the answers to five questions.

Speaker1: [01:01:32] Right. So, um, so yeah, so. So it's everywhere and which, and that's the whole problem that we're talking about in this case. But what I, what's really disturbing about that is, is really the underlying concern that everybody has about this. And what we find when you start looking at behavioral psychology is that unethical behavior primes you for more unethical behavior. So even if you even if you feel like it's very benign to cheat on your continuing education, that still primes you to cheat in other areas as well. And and so you might go it's no big deal to cheat on my continuing education, but it is a big deal if now you're more likely to sign off early on an audit for a company that's that's committing fraud or that's whose financial statements are misleading. And again, I see this all. It's because because that's the that's the concern. And that's even if you if you watch if you go on YouTube and you and you search for this ethics cheating thing, you'll see over and over again that the people's reaction in the media is these people are responsible for making sure other firms are not cheating, but they're cheating themselves. And that and that's that's the whole thing. Is that you there is a legit concern that it's going to spread not just from CPE, but it's going to make you soft in the areas where you absolutely should not be soft when you're an auditor and when you charge the things like the the, you know, the public good and the the stability of the markets. So that's that's a big a big damn deal.

Speaker2: [01:03:17] Let me just ask you one thing about one thing, because I wrote about this when it happened. I remember writing about it in my I have a newsletter that I write for my employer, Gusto, who does not sponsor this podcast. But anyway, in the newsletter that I wrote. I said, you know, I don't condone this cheating. And I think it is unacceptable for this profession. But I think the one thing I would say is that I understand why it happens. Okay. So I think there's a difference between being all right with it or not taking it seriously and versus asking the questions like, how can this happen? These are supposed to be professionals of the highest integrity and we're entrusting them with the capital markets and this and that and whatever. And like, look, man, everybody that works at these firms is made of the same stuff as you and I. And if they're under pressure, if they've got if they're under pressure from the hours they're working or maybe they've got an awful boss that's putting a lot of pressure on them and they have all these additional responsibilities into their regular work. So like passing, getting the CPE for their CPA, like they're going to at some point.

Speaker2: [01:04:36] We talk about a lot ego depletion, right? They're going to break down at some point. Like they can't they can't resist it. They can't resist the pressure forever. And so to act like to act surprised that this happens, I think is kind of, at least for me, being familiar, at least for us, I think being as familiar as we are with the the accounting world is that this doesn't really surprise me because people are under tons of pressure all the time in these firms. And yeah, eventually, you know, people are going to cut corners, they're going to do things that whether they they probably know that it's wrong, but they have to do it anyway because they have to make things work, like they have to make their lives work. They have to make their professional lives work. They have to like they have this endless to do list and they've got to get all this stuff done. So to me, the behavioral bit of it is really complex and the firms do not do not address it effectively with these emails saying, hey, no cheating. Okay, guys. Like that's that's not going to get it done.

Speaker1: [01:05:46] Yeah. Yeah. No, no cheating. But please work 90 hours this week. Okay, that's it for this episode. And remember, if you email answers to an ethics exam, it's okay to do that as long as you're emailing the wrong answers to the ethics exam.

Speaker2: [01:06:06] And also, remember, if you know some colleagues who are cheating on an ethics exam, telling on them is fine. They're cheating on an ethics exam, for crying out loud.

Speaker4: [01:06:14] God damn it.

Speaker1: [01:06:17] So if you want to drop us a line, maybe narc out one of your coworkers for cheating. Please send us an email at Oh my fraud at earmark cpcomm. And Caleb, if they just want to reach out to you but want to leave me out, how can they find you out there?

Speaker2: [01:06:33] They can tell me about cheating on Twitter at Newquist or at LinkedIn. My full name backslash. Caleb Newquist. Greg, where can people talk to you about cheating?

Speaker1: [01:06:43] My Twitter handle is at Greg Kyte and I am also on LinkedIn. Backslash. Greg Kite. Kite with a Y, not with an I because my ancestors were just as bad of spellers as I am.

Speaker2: [01:06:55] Oh My Fraud is written by Greg Kite and myself. Our producer is Zach Frank. If you like the show, leave us a review or share it with a friend. Rating the show and leaving reviews helps people find the podcast. Do you like this podcast? Then leave us a review. It'll help other people. Isn't that great? Helping people. Be sure. Also, I'm going.

Speaker1: [01:07:16] To send out an email to everybody saying it's good to help people.

Speaker2: [01:07:19] Yeah. Also subscribe on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you listen. And for the accountants, if you listen on earmark, you can get CPE and you won't have to cheat. Or maybe you do. I mean, I don't know. You shouldn't cheat. No, don't cheat. No, don't cheat. Cheat.

Speaker1: [01:07:38] Jesus, Caleb, you could. I mean, you could, but are you that kind of person? I mean, think about it. Look at yourself in the mirror.

Speaker2: [01:07:47] Are people going to hack earmark? Is that. I mean, I don't think so. I take the test.

Speaker1: [01:07:52] Yeah, I don't think so. Well, bad people will.

Speaker2: [01:07:55] Join us next time for more avarice, swindlers and scams from stories that will make you say, Oh my. Oh my.

Speaker1: [01:08:01] Fraud.