Mary Harmon: My Time in Accounting Ethics
One of the greatest parts about the quarter system is that if you really don’t enjoy a certain class, it is over in a mere 10 weeks. The flip side to that, though, is that when you really do enjoy a certain class, it comes and goes before you can even start studying for midterms. The latter feeling is harder to come by, but I can confidently say that there have been more than a handful of classes that make me dread the end of the quarter, including the Accounting Ethics class that I am taking right now.
I know what you’re thinking - a business ethics class, isn’t that an oxymoron? I would have thought so too before taking this class, however, as an accounting major, not only is the subject matter fascinating to me, but the way we are forced to think critically about the ethical issues that auditors face everyday has proven to truly be my cup of tea. I have learned that there are rules and regulations in place for ethics, even though it is a very intangible topic to create rules around. Additionally, it has been interesting to learn more about the legality of ethical issues in the workplace, and how to handle them.
Even though this class has been fully virtual, it is a discussion-based, participation-heavy course with daily presentations from groups of students about some of the biggest, most dramatic, most iconic fraud cases in accounting, including scandals at Enron, WorldCom, and Bernie Madoff. We also watch docu-dramas that were made to capture some of these huge scandals in all areas of business, not just accounting.
What I appreciate most about Santa Clara University is the diversity in course offerings, as well as the well-rounded education that students receive. Accounting Ethics is not a mandatory course for graduation, yet the class fills up every section, every year. I think it is really important for students to learn not only about business but also the ethical decisions that they will have to consider in the future. Without this kind of education, we could be left very vulnerable to temptations, coercion, and manipulation.
I was not expecting to enjoy the Accounting Ethics course as much as I did, but it was a great surprise. I am very glad that I could end this school year with a class that makes me so excited to continue learning at SCU and growing into the professional that I hope to become!