As I was reading through the list of companies on the Fortune list of best companies to work for, there is one in particular. The one that jumped out to me was PricewaterhouseCoopers. I have had many friends intern there and a few that either work there or have gotten a job offer from them. I’ve never really asked
my friends too much about what PwC does, so I decided to do some research into it for this blog post. My only background knowledge on PwC was that it is an accounting firm. I imagine that it would be a good place to work for, because I know a fair amount of college graduates work there. According to the Fortune article, PwC offers fully paid sabbaticals, onsite fitness centers, subsidizes offsite gym memberships, offers job sharing, and compressed work weeks. PwC offers workers a ton of flexibility from their start with the firm, allowing workers to chart out their own future, as well as providing workers training to help further their careers. Eighty-eight percent of workers describe the firm as a friendly place to work and that they believe workers will do extra to make sure the job gets done. PwC is flexible with employees’ schedules, as evident by the fact that eighty-four percent of workers said that they could take time off when they need to. Also, ninety percent of employees believe that their managers are honest and ethical.
PwC has a code of conduct that all employees must follow. The PwC website states, “This code is based on our values and it takes them to the next level—demonstrating our values in action.” PwC’s three core values are excellence, teamwork, and leadership. The code of conduct is broken up into eight different sections: Our Values, Upholding the PwC name, Behaving professionally, Respecting others, corporate responsibility, Our responsibilities, Framework for ethical decision making, and Summary of ethics questions to consider. However, even with this code of conduct PwC is not immune to controversy. In 2014 PwC was fined $25 million for helping a Japanese bank launder money for terrorist states like Iran, Sudan, and Myanmar. According to a Bloomberg article from 2000, there was an investigation into how PwC did their business and the investigation found out that PwC was guilty of 8,064 violations. The biggest violation was that PwC partners owned stock on firms that PwC audits, which is illegal. Over half of the PwC partners were guilty of this violation. Another controversy arose in 2014 when Tesco, a company that PwC had audited since 1983, admitted to overstating profits.
Even with the PwC code of conduct, that doesn’t mean that PwC workers are immune from committing unethical business acts. It even states that in the code of conduct can’t address every situation and that the code is the, “Code is not a substitute for our responsibility and accountability to exercise good judgment and obtain guidance on proper business conduct.” This to me sounds like a little like PwC is trying to say that their code of conduct are more like guidelines, as opposed to actual rules. Despite PwC’s reputation as one of the top four accounting firms in the world and their detailed code of conduct, employees don’t always act in an ethical manner, as shown by some of their past business scandals.