Between a rock and a hard place: Conflict minerals and professional integrity

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Against the backdrop of integrity as put forth in the American Institute of CPAs' (AICPA) Code of Conduct, this article takes a close look at a section of the 2010 Wall Street Consumer Protection Act, commonly known as Dodd-Frank. Interestingly, Section 1502 of the Act contains a provision that puts forth new reporting and disclosure requirements for publicly traded companies that manufacture products consisting of 'conflict minerals' derived from the violence-ridden Congo region. Though the provision is unlikely to stop the violence, the cost of disclosure for publicly traded companies is frighteningly high. This article examines the Big 4 accounting firms' lobbying efforts that preceded passage of the Act and asks whether it is coincidental that Big 4 firms stand to gain from the Act's passage, as Section 1502 provides a new revenue stream that could potentially reach into the billions. This article also includes an examination of the origins of auditing, a very brief history of auditing in the U.S., and a look at the accounting industry's lobbying efforts in recent years. The article concludes with suggestions for the profession, firms, and individual auditors.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Business Horizons