Magazine article The CPA Journal

Website of the Month: Ethics Resource Center

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Website of the Month: Ethics Resource Center

Article excerpt

The Ethics Resource Center (ERC) is a nonprofit organization that provides access to ethics research, education, and consulting services and materials at Most of the resources on the ERC website are freely available to the general public, although some are restricted to members of the ERC Fellows Program. The website's recent redesign and the October publication of ERCs 2009 National Business Survey are reasons to visit the site.

The ERC website's design, makes it easy for users to locate and review desired resources. The ERC logo and motto appear at the top of all webpages, along with links to the "media room"; Ethics Today, a bimonthly e-newsletter; and "contact us." plus a keyword search. Links at the bottom of each page include a useful site map.

The main menu tabs cover the major sections of the website: "home," "about ERC," "research focus," "resources," "services," and "ERC Fellows." The left side of the homepage has a scrolling highlight of four different features: "research," "federal policy," "benchmarking," and "outreach." In each section, a left-side index lists the available resources.

The center of the homepage highlights additional resources, and the right side offers news links from ERC. The lead article at the time of this review was "Financial Reform: Congress Takes on Accountability." The center of the main pages is tailored to the specific section of the website and generally includes summaries and links to the articles. Users can sign up to receive e-mail updates from the site.

Major Resources

"Research focus" contains ERC's materials for character education, federal policy, national surveys, and responsible governance. The information on character education focuses on secondary school students and links to articles within the ERC website. The federal policy section offers a three-article series on federal sentencing guidelines that provides an overview, risk management considerations, and compliance indicators. A recent webcast on amendments to the False Claims Act is also available.

The ERC website publishes ils .semiannual ethics surveys covering business, government, and nonprofit employees. The 2007 surveys, available under "research focus" as PDF files, found high levels ethical misconduct in the business and government sectors but far stronger ethical cultures at nonprofits. On the other hand, financial fraud was higher at nonprofits than in business or government.

"Resources" is the largest section of the website. and contains an ethics toolkit, ethics publications, webcasts. …

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