Is Ahmed Special?*

*Author: J M. David, Assistant Professor, University of D M (The case has been modified)

Khalid is a senior auditor for a medium-sized Accounting & Auditing firm. As Khalid is leaving the client’s office for the day, he meets Saif, one of his company’s audit managers.

Khalid: Hi, Saif. What are you doing here so late? I thought you would have gone home by now.

Saif:I just finished doing the inventory with Ahmed. It took us 12 hours.

Khalid:Well, we knew it would take extra time, so we had budgeted for nine hours. But 12 hours, that is a lot more than we had planned on!

Saif: We did fine in the warehouse, but on the outside inventory we ran into problems due to Ahmed’s wheelchair. I tried to help him over some rough spots, but he just won’t accept help.

Khalid: Did the client say anything about Ahmed being there?

Saif:No one said anything directly, but there were a lot of looks. Will Ahmed always be out in the field with us? Don’t get me wrong. I like working with him. He really does good work, but he slows me down. I guess I’ll see you in the morning.

Khalid: Have a good night, Saif.

As Khalid heads home for the evening, he thinks about the issue:

“How did I get so lucky as to have Ahmed on my staff? I’m really glad he was hired; it’s about time we broke that barrier of not hiring people with disabilities. Ahmed has really performed well on the computer project last week. We even saved money because of his creative ideas. It is too bad his manager Saif seems to think he won’t work out for client visits.”

“Maybe Saif has a point. If Ahmed ran into problems in a warehouse, what will he do at the factory in Industrial Area where there is no elevator? Or worse, what will happen at the Al-Shahaniya site which has 50 steps to climb and no ramp? The utility industry is our bread and butter. Ahmed can’t avoid these physical problems.”

“Is my job to integrate Ahmed into the team? Or is it to get the work done efficiently? If Ahmed is going to succeed as an auditor, he needs all these experiences, but that reduces our company’s efficiency. He will always be slower and will often need a co-worker to help him. Maybe I could make him work only in our West Bay office doing sampling and other computer jobs. He is really a genius at those tasks. Maybe he’ll can end up as an Electronic Data Processing (EDP) auditor…”

But Ahmed has his own ideas. “I’m very happy I got this job. My professors told me I didn’t have a good chance of getting into public accounting. Even after I got here, I was afraid they wouldn’t send me out to any client’s worksites. That inventory check we did today, did take some extra time. I hope that’s not a problem for the client or my company. It is so much more challenging visiting clients rather than sitting in front of the computer all day. I’m really looking forward to my next client worksite assignment.”

The question is What is the ethical dilemma that he is facing?

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