Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

A Word from the President: 'Each Organisation Has a Duty to Tackle All Forms of Corruption'

Magazine article Financial Management (UK)

A Word from the President: 'Each Organisation Has a Duty to Tackle All Forms of Corruption'

Article excerpt

Such developments reflect a clear increase in awareness of the damaging impact of corrupt practices. They also made me consider the part that financial managers can play in aiding this movement against corruption.

Another news item I read on the flight revealed that the World Bank estimates the annual cost of bribery alone to be $1trn - and even this figure is considered conservative. CIMA's view is that each organisation has a duty to tackle all forms of corruption in every way it can. This entails setting the right frameworks, policies and processes. Crucially, these must be backed up by security measures, training and communications that are refined and updated regularly.

The journey towards zero tolerance for ethical breaches has begun. Firms such as BP, Diageo and Siemens have recently reported on how they've tackled ethical challenges, dismissed employees or ended suppliers' contracts because of non-compliance. Institutional investors have also been making stronger demands for transparency. But it seems that not all organisations are walking the talk. A recent survey of chartered global management accountants found that fewer than half of the respondents' employers provided anti-corruption training for all staff. This is worrying.

As the World Bank's estimate shows, this is a global problem that will only get worse if it isn't tackled in a determined way. Training is central to this. Ensuring that all employees are aware of the issues, know how to handle them and are abreast of the legal developments is vital. Moreover, individuals in higher-risk positions - in finance, for instance - should be given extra support.

A strong, ethically focused CFO has a key role in instilling a zero-tolerance approach to malpractice, of course, but all of our members are equipped to make a difference. The same ethics survey found that the professionalism and integrity of chartered global management accountants is recognised by employers worldwide. …

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