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Question: Nathan recently interviewed with one of the


Nathan recently interviewed with one of the accounting firms in the city where he wants to live. The firm agreed to cover the expense of a rental car that he used to travel from his university to the firm’s office. The rental car agency required that Nathan pay for the car with his credit card. He would then have the firm reimburse him for the expense. At the end of his trip, Nathan was supposed to pay the bill and then send the receipt to the firm for reimbursement.
But as Nathan prepared to send in the receipt, he noticed that the car rental agency had overbilled his credit card by $75. Nathan called the accounting firm to explain that his reimbursement request would be delayed because he had been overbilled and he needed to straighten things out with the car company. During his phone conversation with the human resource (HR) manager, Nathan told her he would call the rental agency to have his bill corrected and then would send the firm a copy for reimbursement when the revised bill arrived. The HR manager told Nathan not to bother correcting the overbilling; she suggested that he simply send in the current receipt and the firm would reimburse him for the entire amount. The HR manager was not concerned about paying the higher bill—apparently it didn't meet the firm’s “materiality threshold” in her eyes.
Before deciding whether to send in the incorrect bill for reimbursement, Nathan called the rental car agency to see why he was overbilled. The agent was quite rude, essentially telling Nathan to “get lost.” Now Nathan was determined to get the money back, and after several phone calls and considerable hassle, the rental car company finally agreed to credit his card to correct the $75 overbilling. The credit will show up on Nathan’s next credit card statement.
The HR manager, however, has already told Nathan that the accounting firm would pay the higher amount and requested that he just send the bill in for reimbursement. Nathan immediately realized he could have the rental agency credit his card for the $75, but send the current receipt to the accounting firm to get reimbursed for the amount he originally paid. Essentially he would walk away from the deal with $75 in his pocket. Given the two or three hours he had spent fighting with the rental car company, a little payback for his trouble didn’t sound too bad to Nathan.
REQUIRED
[1] Given that the firm didn't have any problem paying the higher bill, would Nathan’s planned course of action be ethical? Why or why not?
[2] What other courses of action might be available to Nathan? Which do you think would be the best action for him to take?
PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT QUESTION
It is recommended that you read the Professional Judgment Introduction found at the beginning of this book prior to responding to the following question.
[3] How might the confirmation tendency affect Nathan's decision and what could he do to mitigate the possible effects of this tendency in order to improve his professional judgment?

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