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Patty MacSparran

Acct. 2010 Fall 2015

Signature Ethics Assignment

Ethics Reflection
There are innumerable ethical situations that we will encounter
throughout our lives with a near equal amount of solutions to each
difficult situation. They are found in our personal lives with friends and
family and they are present in our workplaces. Some rules are given on
paper and clearly laid out for us to know exactly what we should do if
confronted with a specific situation while other rules are unwritten but
either come from societys unwritten rules or our own personal rules
which were formed over time by our teachings from parents, religion, and
those in our lives. Everyone faces them but not everyone comes through
successfully. There are right and wrong choices to make and the wrong
ones can affect a persons life forever. Because this is such a life altering
decision its good to know what ethics are so when they are faced they
can be conquered in the better way and we will be better prepared to
face them.
I believe ethics and morality go hand in hand yet they are not the
same. One definition that I found in which I agree states:
Ethics and morals relate to right and wrong
conduct. While they are sometimes used interchangeably,
they are different: ethics refer to rules provided by an
external source, e.g., codes of conduct in workplaces or
principles in religions. Morals refer to an individuals own
principles regarding right and wrong.1
Some may argue with what I mentioned earlier about how making these
decisions will alter your life and they may say that theyre not all that big
of choices, but I think they are. I believe that every choice we make builds
upon all the previous choices and shapes us into who we are. Of course
the bigger decisions and the more difficult they are will make a larger

1, Ethics vs. Morals,

Patty MacSparran
Acct. 2010 Fall 2015
Signature Ethics Assignment

impact on us than say, whether or not to return the pencil we borrowed,

but nevertheless, they all make us who we are. Line upon line, precept
on precept, choice upon choice.
My ethical and moral belief was formed from birth from my parents and
our religion. They taught me to be kind, love others, do unto others as I
would like done to me, and to always be honest and truthful and follow
the rules. I have tried to accomplish this throughout my life and doing so
has made many choices easy for me that I dont even have to think about
what to do and I just know it and do it. Some choices are harder because
theyre not so black and white and may be related personally. For
example, my son once stole an item from a store when he was a young
teen and my husband and I found out about it. We were worried about
him getting into trouble with the store if they knew and if they would send
him to jail for the night and hed get a record. They had a zero tolerance
policy. But we knew he had to face his consequence and he knew that we
knew what he did so we couldnt let it slide and let him think we would
hide things for him. Eventually, the next day or so we took him with us to
the store and stood by him as he told the manager what he had done and
apologized. We were ready to face the outcome. After listening to our
son, the manager expressed his disappointment and told my son that
because he came in and confessed and with his parents that he wouldnt
press charges but to not come back to the store for 2 years. That was a
difficult choice for me to turn in my own child, but a good lesson. It made
me a stronger parent. This was an ethical decision from home, but home
isnt the only place facing me with choices.
Each day I go to work I face decisions. I work at Fred Meyer Jewelers
where I have access to many thousands of dollars worth of merchandise
and during parties there will be over a few million dollars worth. Is there
a temptation to take anything? Not for me. The only time it crosses my
mind of how I could take something is when Im thinking about the trust

Patty MacSparran
Acct. 2010 Fall 2015
Signature Ethics Assignment

given me and how lucky I am to do what I do. But I never have an urge to
stray from my personal moral compass or the work ethic of taking what is
not mine. I keep in mind of how my life could be ruined for taking items
and having to lie about it. Ive seen that happen to co-workers and each
of us at work ask the question why would they do it? Its not worth it.
And keeping my moral compass in line with my work ethic will continue in
any future career.
All jobs have ethical principles to follow that guide their employees but
how deeply an employee follows those principles will depend on their
personal moral compass and how much justifying can be said. For
example, a job in financial accounting offers much opportunity to steal
and cheat from the company. As an accountant or bookkeeper, that
person has access to the companys money and they are entrusted to be
honest in their doings. Regrettably, not everyone is honest, so
fortunately there have been strong guidelines put in place to help protect
the businesses such as GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)
and SOX (Sarbanes- Oxley Act). Enticement is always present for anyone
who would form just a small thought like it would be so easy to just do
such and such in the books and no one would know or just this once
and its so small it wont hurt anyone, but those with a strong work and
personal ethic wouldnt give those considerations a second thought. The
lure to change the books in accounting could come from more than just
personal gain and working alone, they may come from a manager or coworker who justifies and rationalizes why to steal from the company.
They may have a family crisis or need medical help but have no money.
This person may promise to pay it back soon and will never tell anyone
and sound so convincing. In this case I would need to ask myself how I
would live with myself if I did it. Instead I could offer to help set up
fundraisers for them or suggest they get a second job or even talk to their
employer about a raise or way to make a little more money. Because in

Patty MacSparran
Acct. 2010 Fall 2015
Signature Ethics Assignment

the end, your wrong doing will always come back to bite you in one way
or another and youll regret what you did. Its not worth it.
Staying on the straight and narrow and keeping my personal ethics and
moral compass in check will help me to stay out of trouble and have less
regrets in my life. If I never start the bad habit to begin with then I never
have to cover it with one lie on top of another and hang my head in
shame. Once you start, it can be a slippery slope that you may never
recover from. Keeping ones integrity is one of the most important things
a person can do.