So what makes someone cook the books? That's the question I posed to Robert J. McNeill, who used to head Deloitte's audit practice in Philadelphia and now manages the entire office.
"I’ve seen situations and things that have happened," he said during our Leadership Agenda interview published in Monday's Inquirer. "By and large, those things were not intentional. They were errors and things that didn’t go right because of a lack of focus, rather than people setting out to do wrong, although I have seen the later. It’s less frequent than the former -- usually just honest mistakes."
But what about when it isn't honest mistakes?
"My own personal view is that people start out not trying to perpetrate a large fraud," he said. "[They] start out trying to rationalize why something might be a certain way. `If we just look at it differently, we can get the answer to be different.' By changing that answer, it helps the bottom line or whatever. It starts as a very, very small step and then you get the situation of robbing Peter to pay Paul.'"