Tag: Ethics

Tone From the Top, the Next Level

As a result of COVID-19, the Board of Directors and Senior Management are challenged to monitor the cultural shifts of their organization and adjust their sensitivity and the frequency of communications as appropriate.

Leaders should always try to find ways to talk and engage with their people to motivate them, especially during these uncertain and trying times. If done correctly, talking can be incredibly powerful. It can help relieve anxiety (defined as “a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome”) and help people find the strength they didn’t know was in them. Studies have shown that talking shuts down the brain’s fear center.

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Baker Tilly’s 2019 Effective Governance and Compliance Roundtable Series – May 1, 2019 – CPE Event in Philadelphia -Using Continuous Auditing and Monitoring in the Fight Against Fraud

Organizations are under increasing scrutiny regarding ethical lapses and allegations of fraud. Fiscal year 2018 was a record-breaking year for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower program, as more and more individuals have been coming forward with allegations of impropriety. Come learn how to use continuous auditing and monitoring in the fight against fraud – or help improve your compliance program!

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Combating Fraud Through Effective Internal Controls

“Fraud is not an accounting problem; it is a social phenomenon.” Joe Wells

Most companies will not readily admit that their organizations may be vulnerable to fraud.
According to the 2020 Report to the Nations published by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (“ACFE”), which contains an analysis of approximately 2,500 cases of occupational fraud that were investigated between January 2018 and September 2019, organizations lose 5% of their annual revenues to fraud. While this number is only a general estimate based on the opinion, it represents the collective observations of anti-fraud experts who together have investigated hundreds of thousands of fraud cases. Based on the ACFE’s study, the median loss caused by frauds was $125,000, with 21.0% of the cases resulting in losses of at least $1 million.

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Board Awareness: Culture and Red Flags

Edgar Schein presents culture as a series of assumptions a person makes about the group in which they participate.
Below are some “red flags” that may indicate there is a problem with the culture of the organization.

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Board Member Composition: Participants, Passengers, and Prisoners?

As the organization’s ultimate decision-making body, the board of directors plays two critical roles: overseeing management on behalf of shareholders and other constituencies; and advising management, albeit with limited involvement in everyday company operations – nose in, hands off! The board should not attempt to run the operations of the organization; it should oversee how management runs the company.

I am amazed at how many members literally are not engaged, which reminded that one of the traits of an effective leader, or Pilot, is being a good team builder. But how can you build a good team if you don’t understand the players?  I’m not speaking about understanding their skills, I am speaking about understanding their level of engagement.  That amorphous concept most ignore.

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Compliance Thought Leaders You Should Be Following

Compiling a list of thought leaders in ethics and compliance is fun, but so challenging. There are simply too many thoughtful people in this field — which is itself enormous and wide-ranging — to call out everyone worth following. So below is a small slice of the thinkers in corporate ethics and compliance that I try to follow.

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Perfect Place Syndrome and the 10-80-10 Rule to Ethics

At some point it appears there was a human behavior theory that was possibly applied to fraud risk management and the 10-80-10 Rule to Ethics was born.

This theory is based on the assumption that 10 percent of the people are ethical all of the time, 80 percent could behave unethically depending on the situation or the pressure(s) being applied, and 10 percent have no or a severely broken moral compass and will pounce on opportunities to commit fraud.

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Putting the Freud in Fraud – Part Two

While we can’t get into the mind of the white collar criminal, we can take a closer look at high-profile individuals who have perpetrated massive fraud at corporations and instances of fraud identified in practice, as well as some research, to help is identify a pattern of similar behavioral elements common to white-collar crooks and cultural elements common to their environments.

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So Your Investigation Was Shut Down

Boards and Audit Committee members this is a public service announcement.

You should be really digging in and asking why an investigation was shut down.

That is all!

Internal Control Defined and Some Guidance

Compliance officers talk about controls constantly. Effective controls are the lifeblood of what makes a compliance program work. Most of us can rattle off examples of controls, or recognize a control when we see one.
So my fellow speaker asked the audience: What is a control?

Nobody dared answer. We all, me included, were suddenly uncertain that we could define a control correctly.

The speaker who posed this question is Jonathan T. Marks, partner at Baker Tilly and a prolific thinker on all things forensics, audit, and internal control. Lately Marks has been asking audit and compliance audiences to define a control — and to his dismay, most people can’t.

Read Marks’ definition of internal control.

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Structural Integrity! Chief Compliance Officer v. General Counsel – Should They Be Separate?

Lack of separation of the CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER and the GENERAL COUNSEL has been cited as a cause of numerous corporate failures. In fact, separation is now the norm in Health Care organizations. In spite of numerous recommendations to separate the two functions, there is general agreement that the roles are closely related and frequent collaboration is required.

The issues relating to separation of the CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER and the GENERAL COUNSEL are most often discussed in terms of the differences in their roles (below).

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