Some years ago, I began work for a small company, where the accountant played quite an active role in management. She would visit once a month for a few days, to 'do the books', during which time the Company would pay for her meals, hotel and travel, on top of her normal accountancy fees. This accountant did not work directly for the Company, but ran her own accountancy business, which was contracted by 'my' Company. The Company had just been purchased by one of our main suppliers (a French company) who has their own accountant etc, but were very 'hands off' and just wanted us to continue as before.

While at the Company, I also met my partner, a colleague, who worked in credit control - making sure invoices were paid etc.

During my time at the Company, I became concerned about the accountant, as during her visits to the office, I would quite often see online gambling on her screen, which struck me as worrying for an accountant. I raised my concerns with the MD, but they were taken no further - his thoughts were that she could do what she liked with her money during lunch. Although I didn't really agree with that, I could understand, and didn't pursue it any further.

A couple of years later, the recession in the UK was beginning to affect the Company, and money was starting to get tight. Meetings were held with all staff (7, including the accountant) present, to get ideas to save money. Ultimately, the accountant suggested to the MD (outside these meetings) that his secretary, and the credit controller (my partner) could both be made redundant - the secretary was, in my opinion, not particularly efficient anyway, and the accountant said she would take on the work of the credit controller.

A few months later, this was put into practice, and both colleagues were made redundant. The financial situation didn't really improve, and credit control certainly suffered, but this was perhaps expected.

~1 year later, I also left the Company, in order to move house with my partner.

Some time later, we learnt through someone still working for the Company that the accountant had been caught taking money - we were told that the French accountant had found 'irregularities', and it turned out that she was taking her monthly salary payment 16 times a year, random expenses claims (considering that all her costs were paid directly by the Company during visits), unusual payments to other companies... The Company (with a new MD, my previous line manager, now) 'ambushed' her during a monthly visit, and she admitted all, and said it was to pay for her gambling debts...

The Company decided to deal with this internally - they agreed a plan where the accountant would gradually pay them back the money and would not retain her chartered status, and in return the Company would not report her to the Police. I suspect if they did report her to the Police, other companies may also find problems and demand payment, and the Company would not be repaid in full.

I suspect that the accountant suggested redundancy for my partner, as she was the only other employee who had access to the accounts, and so her main 'threat'. This redundancy caused my partner some considerable financial and emotional stress - she had been working for the Company since leaving school.

The accountant no longer holds a practising certificate, but her husband (also an accountant, and also certainly involved) does.

Although initially, we decided to ignore it and put it in the past, should we report it? It wouldn't be difficult to work out that we'd learnt about it from a particular employee, which would likely cause them problems. But equally, another company employing the services of an accountant would probably want to know...

Sorry for the wall of text, from which I've almost certainly excluded some necessary information...

  • You might consider framing your question more generally - e.g., about reporting misconduct far in the past or about how to make the decision to report misconduct. This site is better at advising about a generalizable question than helping you make a specific choice.
    – Jay
    Jul 9, 2019 at 13:38
  • Where I live the government recently legalized casinos. Now it's surprising how many news articles about embezzlement and fraud mention gambling debt as a factor. Can gambling addiction be flagged in background checks?
    – O. Jones
    Jul 9, 2019 at 14:20
  • @O.Jones: Gambling is, pretty much like any other addiction, considered as an illness/condition and I doubt that it would be legal to provide such information in the course of a background check. Another thing would be if a person was criminally charged for fraud due to such an addiction - that can be legally checked via a certificate of good conduct..
    – iLuvLogix
    Jul 9, 2019 at 14:53

3 Answers 3


Look at the potential costs vs the potential gains when you make your decision.

You stand to gain:

  • The satisfaction of taking retribution against someone who hurt your partner.
  • The comfort of knowing you've done everything you could to expose this person's ethical bankruptcy.

However you shouldn't rule out the risks and potential costs - she will definitely fight anything you try to level at her (you'd do the same), and if you report it to the police then she'll have a lawyer doing that fighting for her. This could properly disrupt your life, and potentially cost you a lot of money retaining a lawyer of your own.

Given that it sounds like this is in the past for you both, I recommend you have a laugh with your partner about how the accountant was finally caught out and you were right all along, and be happy that you're not still in the middle of it. No point reopening old wounds.

  • 1
    Thanks, it's good to get a point of view from someone impartial :-)
    – mjc506
    Jul 9, 2019 at 13:14

Leave it alone.

It's worth pointing out that neither you nor your partner actually has anything to give to the police.

You've no evidence, save for a second-hand description from someone else that would not be involved in the report, and no clear demonstration that your partner was harmed by the accountant in any way (there was clearly a business case for the redundancy, which the company found persuasive).

What you have instead is a personal grievance. That's understandable, but not really a police issue.

There exist systems for victims of crimes to seek redress and for criminals to be punished, and also for certified professionals to lose their certifications. Those seem to have worked as intended here-- the accountant has lost their certification, and the company chose not to pursue legal action (certainly their privilege).

There is nothing for you to gain, and no greater good to serve, by passing a rumor on to anyone because you were personally offended by actions from a bad actor which may or may not have been a result of that actor's bad acts. Indeed, the most likely outcomes are nothing at all, or serious trouble for your source in your former company (who could easily get into professional, if not legal, trouble for having told you all of this).

  1. Much of what you've stated seems to be subjective, unless you can prove your points with factual evidence. Example:

I suspect that the accountant suggested redundancy for my partner, as she was the only other employee who had access to the accounts, and so her main 'threat'. This redundancy caused my partner some considerable financial and emotional stress - she had been working for the Company since leaving school.

That's completely opinion based. Her suggestion may have been completely sound from a business standpoint.

  1. What's your "real" motivation? This happened several years ago and was handled by the company.

  2. Just because the accountant gambled doesn't make them a bad or unethical accountant. Correlation isn't causation.

  3. "I don't think it's good for an accountant to gamble" - That's entirely subjective and opinion based. I'm sure there are many accountants who gamble in some shape or form. That doesn't make them bad or unethical accountants.

  4. What do you hope to gain in this situation? The company dealt with it. Why do you feel the need to take action? It seems that your motivation is revenge for the firing of your partner, which you blame on some nefarious and vague motivations by the accountant, not the well being of some other company that might employ this accountant.

  • I don't think accountants going to the casino once or twice a year is bad but tbh to be gambling during your lunch break doesn't look great. Still nothing explicitly terrible but it's a bit like a sales consultant walking in in his PJs.
    – Borgh
    Jul 9, 2019 at 13:05
  • Yes, at present, it's pretty much all subjective - I've no evidence aside from an ex-colleagues conversation that she fiddled the books and stole money, and as you say everything else is suspect/think/perhaps. Occasional gambling - no problem, but surely accountants of all people should know that it'll never be a long-term gain. Using online gambling sites while ''working'' in a customer's office surely isn't 'proper', although that's not really the basis of my concern at present. cont...
    – mjc506
    Jul 9, 2019 at 13:16
  • ...cont While the company dealt with their own interests, there's no indication that they intend to make any other parties aware (ie: other companies who use the accountant, my partner, or myself). My motivation is a mix of concern for other companies, and to be honest, why should she get away with it? She committed a criminal act, as well as a breach of trust. I'm told the total figure she took was in the £100,000s, and that's not counting my partner losing her job, perhaps unnecessarily. I'm not saying she was the only cause of the redundancies, but certainly accelerated them considerably.
    – mjc506
    Jul 9, 2019 at 13:23

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