Ethical behavior, in a general sense, is a definition of moral behavior in regards to lawfulness, societal standards, and things of that nature. In the business world, ethics commonly refer to acceptable and unacceptable business practices within the workplace, and all other related environments. The acceptance of colleges regardless of ethnicity, gender, and beliefs, as well as truthfulness and honesty in relation to finances within the company are examples of ideal ethical business conducts. Unethical business behavior would include manipulating procedures based on bias or discrimination, engaging in activities that promote political gain, as well as blatant fabrication of monetary factors within the company and “can affect organizational performance and is costly to employers, employees, shareholders, and other organizational stakeholders” (Cox 263). When a corporation practices proper ethics, it is representing not only itself in a positive manner, but its partners, shareholders, and clients as well. On the other hand, when an organization partakes in unethical activities, all parties are negatively affected. The collapse of Enron is a major case of unethical conduct in the corporate world, because the circumstances surrounding the firm’s chaotic plunge where so scandalous that it left “creditors wrangling over Enron's skeletal remains” (Helyar) long after the company had seen its demise. There are numerous instances to be mentioned, including deliberate failure to properly report fiscal losses, insider trading, and overall relentlessness. The inclusive purpose of this paper is to further explore the underlining factors that contributed to the downfall of the once powerful Enron, and how a new way of approaching business ethi...
A possible flaw of Sarbanes-Oxley is it failed to put up any resistance in thwarting the financial crisis. While the degree to which fraudulent behavior can be traced to the roots of the Great Panic of 2007 will likely be up for eternal debate, it might be telling that Sarbanes-Oxley effectively did nothing. It seems this could indicate that stronger incentives for whistleblowers (such as Dodd-Frank and perhaps other whistleblower protection regimes) are very necessary given the extreme social costs. This conclusion may be hasty, however, given the short time period between the enactment of Sarbanes-Oxley and the crash. Not only is the status of Sarbanes-Oxley still in flux over a decade later, but one has to consider the substantial learning and switching costs associated with a regime with such a substantial ruach. Certainly, this is not to say that additional protections may in fact be necessary given the putative reluctance of lawyers to report fraud, but Sarbanes-Oxley likely needed more time to really crystalize and provide some level of predictability before it can be declared a bust.
The act introduced changes to the regulation of corporate governance. The intent of the act is to protect investors from inaccurate financial reporting. It sets forth strict compliance regulations and harsh penalties for violations (Cross & Miller, 2012). The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is made up of eleven titles designed to restore public opinion and trust. The titles address issues independent of one and another, but it is the fluidity among them that allows them to operate as one. The act requires companies to establish internal controls to safeguard the integrity of its financial reporting. In turn, these controls are designed to provide shareholders a level of confidence in the company’s discloser reports. Also a, year-end financial audit is completed, along with an assessment of the overall effectiveness of the company’s internal auditing programs (Cross & Miller,
Ethics policies are implemented in almost all businesses. Companies search for candidates that will be moral in their actions so they can ensure long-term financial success. Throughout history we have seen businesses fall due to unethical behavior. In recent years the business Enron Corporation is best known for the scandal that led to the bankruptcy of a company with more than 60 billion dollars in assets. We will examine the circumstances that led to the downfall of Enron, how the scandal was realized, as well as the outcome of one of the largest bankruptcies in American history; a case that exemplifies unethical professional behavior.
An organization that lacks a true culture of ethical compliance can create problems with integrity issues with stakeholders and customers. When a major company such as Enron, was structured their approach to ethics on the surface appeared to oppose progressive innovation. The policies and ethics programs were set up to protect the company and its shareholders. According to author Berenbeim, The Enron company had a detailed code of ethics it was not enough the organization needed to incorporate ethics and integrity throughout their corporate culture. Enron had to focus on business ethics issues raised by the conduct of the company’s directors, officers, accounts and lawyers (Berenbeim, 2002).
Critics argue that SOX was passed too quickly without sufficient data to support its effectiveness in curbing the moral hazard behaviors that led to the downfall of these big corporations, causing investors to lose their savings and confidence in the market. This paper will try to answer whether the benefits outweigh the costs of implementing this law. It also analyze whether it has been effective in curbing moral hazard behaviors and improving the efficiency of capital markets while protecting shareholder rights. Finally, it will suggest of improvements can be applied or has it been effective in its role in curbing fraudulent activities while promoting a more efficient market.
Our economy has been built upon for decades creating growth within the business industry. Businesses provide jobs, finances, and security for individual’s within society and is a main source of what defines our prosperous country. Every business has an ethical responsibility to its members and employee’s and to society at large. Ethical responsibility is a major component in which society needs to reinforce because it helps create principles, values, and standards, all of which help to guide a person’s behavior (Ferrel et al. 2013). Ethics help to create balance which in turn will have positive results for the business versus negative results. It seems that no matter where we look today, companies like Enron, WorldCom, AIG and many, many others substantiate the lack of business ethics in this country. At no other time than the last few decades has the need for ethical business oversight been of such importance to the prosperity of our country. As an example, Bernard Madoff is known to be the executor of the most fraudulent and deceitful Ponzi scheme in history, creating a stark reminder that the corrosion of ethics and lack of basic moral principles have taken this country to the point where trust in institutions and the very market driven systems that make our society work are in imminent danger of collapse. The Bernie Madoff case is a clear example of what can occur when businesses ethics are not in place. This case outlines a business man who defrauded thousands of people for years and caused major problems for those involved and for society at large. This essay is going to outline the major aspects of the case which include the nature of the problem, who are the major stakeholders, what is the problem from each of the stake...
Individual Article Review Lily Cobian LAW/421 March 31, 2014 Ramon E. Ortiz-Velez Individual Article Review Introduction My article review is based on Sarbanes-Oxley and audit failure, a critical examination why the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was established and why it is not a guarantee to prevent failure of audits. Sarbanes-Oxley Act talks about scandals of Enron which occurred in 2001 and even more appalling the company’s auditor, Arthur Anderson, found guilty of shredding company documents after finding out Enron Company was going to be audited. The exorbitant amounts of money auditors get paid to hide audit discrepancies was also beyond belief. The article went on to explain many companies hire relatives or friends to do their audits, resulting in fraud, money embezzlement, corruption and even the demise of companies. Resulting in the public losing faith in the accounting profession, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in 2002 by congress was designed to restrict what company owners and auditors can and cannot do. From what I gathered in the article, ever since the implementation of the Sarbanes- Oxley Act there has been somewhat of an improvement but questions are still being asked as to why there are still issues that are not being targeted in hopes of preventing more audit failures. The article also talked about four common causes of audit failure: unintentional auditor mistakes, fraud, fatigue and auditor client relationships. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Code of Professional Conduct clearly states an independent auditor because it produces a credible audit, however, when there is conflict of interest, the relation of a former employer, or a relative or even the fear of getting fire...
In 2002, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to strengthen corporate governance and restore investor confidence. The act’s most important provision, §404, requires management and independent auditors to evaluate annually a firm’s internal financial-reporting controls. In addition, SOX tightens disclosure rules, requires management to certify the firm’s periodic reports, strengthens boards’ independence and financial-literacy requirements, and raises auditor-independence standards.
Sarbanes-Oxley contains eleven titles and covers a wide range of topics from the implementation of new compliance requirements to the criminal penalties of any violations of the rulings. One very important aspect touched upon in Sarbanes-Oxley is auditor independence. Auditor independence and the part an auditor plays in corporate financial reporting in the wake of all the corporate scandals have become extremely important. It has become increasingly important in the training and professional ethics of an auditor. The objective of auditor independence is to have the auditor “be unbiased and impartial with respect to the financial statements and other information they audit”0. There are three aspects of practical auditor independence, programming independence, investigative independence and reporting independence.
Public Law 107-204 of the 107thCongress was enacted by the senate and House of Representatives to “To protect investors by improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures made pursuant to the securities laws, and for other purposes.” This law is better known as the Sarbanes Oxley Act, consists of a number of sections designed to oversee and prevent securities fraud, and enhancements to white-collar crime. Thesix key principles of the SOX internal controlsaccording to Internal Control and Cash are: establishment of responsibility, segregation of duties, documentation procedures, independent verification, physical controls, and other controls. Sarbanes Oxley has changed internal controls through risk mitigation and accountability. A key factor, the establishment of responsibility includes authorization and approval of transactions by a ...
Ethics is fast becoming an essential aspect of business in the modern world leading to a positive public opinion as well as investment, partnerships, employee retention, assets protection, productivity & team work.
What makes the Sarbanes-Oxley Act effective is that it is “Administered by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SOX sets deadlines for compliance and publishes rules on requirements, covering a wide range of rules. The consequences for failing to comply with certain provisions range from fines to imprisonment” (Cunningham). The SOX also creates, “accountability of company executives and members of the board of directors” (Jahmani). The act essentially created several provisions to regulate and protect shareholders along with the general public from accounting errors and fraudulent practices in the enterprise. The accounting industry, financial reporting, and the auditing of public companies in particular must follow these provisions.
Rittenberg, Larry, Bradley Schwieger, and Karla Johnstone. Auditing. 6th ed. Mason: Thomas South-Western, 2005. 10-40.