A group of PwC audit staff have been severely reprimanded by ICAEW after sharing answers for an assessment in a group chat
The 10 junior audit staff at the Big Four firm had to pay costs of £2,107 each and were 'severely reprimanded' by ICAEW’s disciplinary board after breaking the ICAEW Code of Ethics for professional behaviour. ICAEW cannot issue fines to non-qualified staff.
The incident happened between 5 August and 10 September 2021 across a number of UK locations from London to Manchester, Stockport and Preston.
A PwC spokesperson told Accountancy Daily: ‘We treat cases of any inappropriate collaboration or cheating on assessments or exams seriously. This matter relating to a number of staff who were not qualified at the time has now been addressed by the ICAEW’s Conduct Committee.
‘We expect the highest standards of our people, and have reinforced expected behaviours and responsibilities in numerous ways. These include communications from our leadership and specific training.
‘People completing exams must confirm that assessments are being completed independently and that sharing answers is prohibited.’
ICAEW disciplined the PwC staff who participated in a group chat where two assessment answer documents were 'created, added to, used and shared to assist with the completion of a number of assessments', ICAEW said.
The assessments were part of the training programme at PwC which were required to be completed by the staff.
ICAEW said the 10 individuals ‘knew, or should have known’ that they ‘should not share answers or use answers shared by others’.
The first assessment was called Developing an Audit Plan; Fraud Risks and Responses v1; and the second focused on Understanding and Evaluating Controls; Designing Substantive Audit Procedures v1.
ICAEW said: ‘This conduct was contrary to subsection 115.1 of the ICAEW Code of Ethics – Professional Behaviour (effective from 1 January 2020).’