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Creating an Ethical Culture
WorldCom executives right down to a senior manager were remorseful about the massive fraud they perpetrated on the public. In today's highly competitive environment, how can a manager resist a superior's request to falsify the numbers? Research has shown that codes of ethics are relatively ineffective in influencing behavior: What is essential is a sound, ethical corporate culture. That is why companies looking to protect themselves from corporate fraud must take a hard look at their own culture. Does it promote ethical behavior, or does it emphasize something else?
Managing the Costs of Expatriation
William Maurice Baker, CMA, and F. Douglas Roberts, CPA
Moving part of the operations of an American manufacturer of snowboards and snowboard equipment to Europe entails more expense than you might think at first. Training an American manager in the language and customs of the host country is the most visible cost, but then the manager's family must find a home and schools for the children. Another consideration: Once trained and experienced in the operation, the manager becomes a more valuable employee and may be enticed by another employer. After all, 25% of expatriate managers leave within one year, and 40%-50% leave within three.
Global Risk Management in a Turbulent World
Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff takes a hard look at the risks facing companies in the global economy. European economic integration has stalled, he believes, and Euro companies should be looking outward toward Asia. Asian companies, however, are relying too much on product sales and should be moving into service-type operations. American companies are struggling to control ballooning pension and healthcare costs.
Falling into Line
Renewed and more intensive scrutiny of public companies is compelling companies to beef up their compliance activities. What they must do, according to this expert, is develop a strategic road map detailing their governance and compliance activities relative to the requirements and be very aware of common pitfalls. Here is a step-by-step approach to bring your company in line.
Seeking SOX Software
Lawrence Raff, CPA
Companies struggling to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are looking to specialized software to streamline their efforts. The "404-enabling" software can be very useful in assisting companies to save time and costs in compliance, but poor planning and the wrong investment can sabotage a company's best intentions and set back its compliance efforts.
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