At the time we complete all audits, errors are checked and double checked to ensure accuracy. Occasionally we may be asked to "remove" the error which may provide better results for the TMC being validated. Of course, such a request can only come from the corporate client - they are the customers that always have the final say. But is it ethically wrong to drop what we know to be an error? It is never easy and there is no right or wrong answer. However, we always do our best to assess each situation individually and make a decision based on our overall mission - to provide honest, unbiased and accurate audit reports. The question remains: does the corporation, who is footing the bill, have the final say in the results of their TMC audits?
I cannot help but think back to Enron - and at the time the manner in which financial auditors were in the "pocket" of the corporate clients that hired them. While they had an ethical and fiduciary duty to deliver an audit report that was independent and unbiased, it did not always happen that way. They knew these corporations were hiring them and their firms to not only do audits, but other services as well. Poor results, or a poor audit, could results in millions of lost revenues. Now Topaz is not faced with such pressures, but where do we draw the line?
In the end Topaz will always make a judgment call on what we think is correct for any given situation. And there are many nights I lay awake thinking - "was that decision the right one?". Hard to say - but know this - We try to always meet the needs of the client and hope they better understand our position. While we are here to serve them and deliver a service to them, I know they would want the highest level of independence and integrity from us each and every day. And that is what we will always provide as long as we are in business.