H&R Block are tax specialists who deal with anything t do with tax calculations, tax returns for organizations as well as any advisory role in anything to do with taxes. They actually describe their role on their website as that of offering "the most trusted state-of-the-art tax preparation experience at a great price for everyone" to their clients. The mission statement of the organization also points towards the same as it is "H&R Block's mission is to help our clients achieve their financial objectives by serving as their tax and financial partner." (H&R Block, 2006). With the values as being "Our corporate values reflect who we are and the environment we want to maintain." This is an organization that is committed to the satisfaction of their clients and being accountable for the decisions, actions and results that they engage in. This is a task that requires not only a cooperative team but also an appropriate code of ethics to go alongside it to ensure that there is a smooth running of such a big organization.
Bearing the line of business the organization is engaged in, reputation is one of the central qualities and maintaining this reputation through acting in the utmost integrity in key hence the significance of the code of ethics. The code of ethics is noted here to apply to each member of the organization, from the employees, to the associates, managers and even the board of directors.
This organization ethical system is mainly based on the adherence to the written rules that are well stipulated in the elaborate code of ethics document, in other words they use the duty-driven approach or the deontological approach. In a summary, deontological theory has it that people have to adhere to their obligations and duties when analyzing an ethical dilemma which means that a person has to uphold his or her obligations to the other party in any situation of uncertainty or of pursuance of compliance. This is because that is what is considered ethically right. Deontologists consider actions to have intrinsic value according to (Prof. Richard Norman, 2011). It is an ethics approach that judges human action by their adherence to rules. It argues that the rules bind human beings to their duty.
This is the reason why this organization has a specific clause that numerates the parties that are subject to these rules. The section 'We are all subject to the code' stipulates at length that the rules are set to be followed by virtually all the people working for or on behalf of the organization and indeed even those relating with the organization in any way like the suppliers are expected to help uphold the ethics embedded therein for the good of the organization. As a prerequisite, each member of the organization is expected to read and understand the code and sign it as a means of commitment to the code as stipulated in the 'Acknowledgement and Certificate of Compliance' section. This indicates that there is no room to use the relativism approach to the ethics of this organization as the rules and the codes of conduct that guides almost all the professional behaviors of an individual within the organization are well covered in the document.
The deontological approach is usually tied very closely to Immanuel Kant's theory of Duty. Immanuel Kant argued that the only good thing is the will and not the results, so that if any good results come out of an action done with the wrong will or motive, then the action is wrong anyway. For instance if someone lied in order to help a friend get out of trouble, the whole action is deemed wrong and evil. Thus, it is not the result of the action that determines whether the action was good or evil, but the motive of the doer before one starts doing it. There is a provision for this duty ethical system though in a very subtle and subordinate manner. This is provided for where the individual seems to thinks that they should individually be exempt from a given clause of the ethics. It indicates that 'You must report all possible exceptions that are known to you. If you become aware of an exception after you sign an Acknowledgement, you must immediately inform your manager and the Ethics Team at -- .' These are situations where the individual may find it fit to act in a manner not prescribed in the ethics but still feel that this particular action will lead to the right results as well as having a positive conscious.
The code of ethics for the organization is used in a more general manner with all the employees and the managers as well as the directors being subjects to it and being required to be guided by it in a more or less similar manner. There are however some specific provisions that are targeted at the management in particular.
On page 4 of the code of business, ethics and conduct, there are provisions that are specially cut out for the management and the leadership team. The management, apart from their usual leadership roles, are required by the code to work towards successful implementation to the code. Under this section 'Special Responsibilities of all Managers and Leaders', there are requirements for the management to ensure that all employees reporting to them receive the code of ethics copy and annually sign it as a compliance requirement, they are to ensure that these employees also understand the legal requirements and consequential implications of the provisions of the code, conduct themselves in an exemplary manner to the other junior staff, encourage the compliance to the code even over business results, solicit for suggestions and areas of improvement, pick out compliance issues that may come up, report any violations of the code that may be there as well as any violations of the federal laws that may be eminent within the organization.
On the other hand, there are some responsibilities that are bestowed upon each member of the organization from the employees all the way up to the directors. This code applies even to the contingent workers of the organization as they reflect the face of the company, hence must adhere to the code during the period that they are providing service to the organization.
In this section, all the employees are required to Conduct all Company business honestly and with the highest integrity, observe all laws and government regulations applicable to their position with the organization, ensure they fully understand the code and other relevant procedures within the organization, report all the violations of the code to their heads, conduct themselves in a professional manner, try to keep off any unethical or illegal situations that might reflect them in a negative manner among other central responsibilities.
The code dwells on the discipline within the organization and that in case of violation of the letter and/or the spirit of the code can lead to legal punishment or even termination or if need be civil judgments of criminal penalties. Further, there is emphasis on self responsibility as each person is responsible for their decisions and should not take any action that is in violation of the code. This binds even if the person is acting on behalf of the authorities like the directors.
The code as well covers the need for confidence in the information that the organization has. This ensures that the information about the company associates is kept confidential as much as possible. This same measure is placed on the customer information in that the various Acts that deal with the protection of personal information have to be adhered to. In a situation where there must be sharing of information with legal bodies like the court, this must go through the supervisors as well as the legal department of the organization.
Further the code stipulates on the relationship between the employees and the clients, in that there are no gifts or tips that the employees are allowed to receive from clients. This is a measure against possibility of being compromised in their documentation bearing the sensitive issue of taxation that the company deals with. The decisions as well as the relationships that must exist between the employees and the clients must be purely professional and based on the commercial merit rather than personal capacities or interests.
If there were things I would change as the new CEO of the company is the provision of the 'gifts and gratuities' as it beats logic to have such a provision slapped in an umbrella manner over all employees even those who do not have any direct contact with the tax preparation. This is a provision that should be implemented on those closest to the approval of the tax preparation records and internal auditors.
The code for the company is by far one of the most professionally centered codes as it addresses professional issues only and dwells not…