An accounting trainee has been thrown off the ACCA’s student register after lying to his employer that he passed all his ACCA exams when he had actually failed.
Former ACCA student Paul Barrett has expressed “deep shame” and apologised for letting down the standards of the profession in a disciplinary tribunal where he was removed from the student register.
The ACCA disciplinary tribunal heard how Barrett falsified his exam results so it looked as if he had successfully completed 14 out of 14 exams when he had only passed 13.
A monitoring visit from an ACCA compliance officer in September 2018 unravelled Barrett’s four years’ long pretence, after he handed the officer an altered printout of his results and claimed that he was an ACCA affiliate.
The sole proprietor of the firm was left ‘surprised’ when the ACCA informed him that his employee was actually still a student and not an affiliate. Shortly after, Barrett admitted to his boss of 12 years that he had lied about passing the ACCA exams.
Wrongly read exam results
In a letter to the ACCA compliance officer, Barrett claimed he wrongly read his exam results as a pass and things snowballed from there. “My exam result was listed next to previous exams in the email,” he wrote. “I was extremely relieved and proceeded to tell my family, close friends and [my manager].”
But it wasn’t until a week later when he logged on to his MyACCA account to find out what he needed to do next to become a member that he discovered that his exam results still said 13 out of 14 on his progress.
Barrett said the P7 paper he took was marked ‘fail’ and was well below 50. “I was alarmed and confused and then rechecked my email,” he continued in the letter. “It read as a fail, I was looking at the wrong line the first time round.’”
So when the meeting with the ACCA compliance officer approached, he did what he described as the “worst thing” he has ever done: he downloaded the report and typed over the three with a four. “I did it because I was ashamed of not telling him these past four years,” he confessed.
Barrett fully accepted that his actions were dishonest and said his plan had been to pass the June 2014 exam. But after struggling to find the time to study, he failed both the June and December 2014 exam, which left him wrestling with a mistake that he admitted not having the courage to come clean about.
The disciplinary tribunal decided that Barratt’s actions amounted to misconduct and the fact that he had tried to cover up his dishonesty made his conduct “fundamentally incompatible” with the ACCA.
The ACCA concluded that Barrett should be removed from the student register and ordered that he pay costs in the sum of £3,500.
If you are presently subject to a complaint, you can call theAccountants National Complaint Services Limited for advice (01769 581581) or visit their website.