Professional Ethics: A Theranos Story

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Course Description:

The downfall of Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, has been told in many formats (books, podcasts, television). However, the story of Theranos, the company, the employees and other stakeholders have not been examined in-depth, especially from the perspective of ethical decision-making and organizational culture.

In this on-demand, we will explore the Theranos fraud and key stakeholders using IESBA’s (International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants) five fundamental principles of ethics as the framework for our investigation:

  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Professional competence and due care
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional Behaviour

We will also examine how a lack of psychological safety and a toxic organizational culture compromised the ethical decision-making process of numerous stakeholders.

Course publication date:  January 1, 2023

Learning objectives

After completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify elements of the fraud risk triangle.
  2. Identify behaviors that violate the IESBA Code of Ethics.
  3. Identify characteristics of an ethical organization.
  4. Describe characteristics of effective governance.
  5. Describe the relationship between psychological safety and ethical decision-making.
  6. Differentiate between the four quadrants of the productive conversation matrix.
  7. Identify characteristics of ethical leadership.

In order to be awarded the full credits, participants must respond to three out of four polling questions asked during each CPE credit hour.


  1. Program Level: Basic
  2. Program pre-requisites: There are no prerequisites for this course
  3. Advance preparation: None
  4. Delivery method: QAS Self Study
  5. CPE credits: Participants will earn 2.0 CPE credits in the field of study of behavioral ethics
  6. Refunds and cancellations: Sheriff Consulting will issue refunds for courses cancelled by participants within ten days of purchase. For more information regarding refund, complaint, and/or program cancellation, please contact our offices: garthonline@sheriffconsulting.com

Sheriff Consulting is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.NASBARegistry.org.

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