Context: Acting as a senior associate at Big 4 accounting firm on BBB client engagement (et al, MS,
I sent an email to all my associates for our funds to prepare workpapers which i'd later review. Almost all my associates turnaround the workpaper within 48 hours. However there was one associate that did not, and when i verbally followed up, there was some pushback from associate, saying that there was no need to since there hadnt been any activity for the fund. I explained to this associate that although there is no activity that its best to prepare the workpaper with the information we have to show the client that the work has been performed. The associate remained convicted on their decision to not prepare it.
The manager of the fund who is more than chummy collegues (moderate flirting and occasional hugs) with the associate, wanted a status update. I told the manager about the unprepared workpaper, and what the associate said and their view, as well as what i knew needed to be done as per the MD. The manager then says they'll confirm with another manager instead of the MD because in his words "its just easier to ask [another manager]"
Operating in the hierarchal structure I said okay, and requested that an email be sent to me to confirm. The manager snapped, "Ill send it to the group". I said okay, thinking at least that way we'll all be on the same page.
About 72 hours later, the manager of the fund, asked for a status, on the fund without any mention of the discussion we'd had prior. I asked him about the talk he had with another manager to find out if the workpaper was needed. In a response akin to blowing me off, he goes "yea i spoke to him". And like pulling teeth for him to elaborate, I asked, "what did the other manager say?" He reluctantly admits that the workpapers was needed (without even sending it an email as discussed). I proceeded saying "okay, i'll just let [the associate know]". He curtly replied, "I already told her" then walked off.
48 hours later, the manager ping'ed me for an update on this same fund, that still had not had the workpaper prepared by the associate. At this point I was geared up to provide the update cc'ing the MD's just for a paper trail, but wanted to give the associate a chance to prepare before I sent it out, so ping'ed her that i'd be providing an update shortly. It wasnt prepared, so i worded the email to say the workpapers were on the way.
Since then, the manager of the fund has preemptively thrown me under the bus on two known occasions. I was stuck, and wanted to be a team player for the associate by giving a heads up, as well as a team player to the manger, by not going over the managers head and mentioning it right away to the MD. I was naively quiet in attempts to be a team player, and now, my professional reputation at the firm is in jeopardy.
What would have been the best way to handle this?