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Two Responses Needed;

For Leadership and Ethics in a Global Environment.  Works with Week 2 Discussion ( Corporate Sentencing Guidelines and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act).

Discussion format in Word_

Discussion 1:

Formed in 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act was created to ensure that firms maintain ethical standards (Lawrence & Weber, 2012) are maintained in business operations. The act requires that top executives sign off on financial reporting and have in place the proper controls to avoid financial risk. The law was brought in place after the major fraud cases of Enron and WorldCom in hopes of helping avoid another disaster.

In the case when crime is committed in a business, not only does the individual face charges, but the business itself will also be held responsible for the actions.  By setting up the proper controls, avoiding risk, and promoting ethical behavior the company may be less to blame for the fraudulent activity. The U.S. Corporate Sentencing Guidelines are then reviewed when deciding how much of the onus is on the firm. As stated by Stolley (2002) the government wants to ensure that all but relatively minor business crimes result in prison time for those at fault. It is also mentioned that sentencing for the wrong doers can range from about 18 months for $100,000 in loss to 5 years for $1 million in loss (Stolley, 2002).

In my research, I found that the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and U.S. Corporate Sentencing Guidelines were intended to promote ethical behavior. By emphasizing the importance of proper controls, training, and ethical practices in the workplace, SOX helps avoid another major financial scandal like that of Enron and WorldCom. Both SOX and the U.S. Corporate Sentencing Guidelines put the blame on the firm as they are signing off on the actions of their employees. Unfortunately, greed and ethical egoists will forever exist and even with the most stringent laws, those individuals will look for the loop holes to avoid penalties or jail time when deceiving the firm’s stakeholders. Those bad apples will always be around, but the laws introduced post major scandals have promoted ethical behavior in the business world.

References

Lawrence, A. T., & Weber, J. (2014). Business and society stakeholders, ethics, public policy. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Stolley, A. (2002, December 27). U.S. government wants corporate crooks to do hard time:: [Final Edition]. The Ottawa Citizen, p. B3. Retrieved May 08, 2017, from

Discussion 2:

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is an independent agency in the judicial branch of government created by the Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) of 1984.The U.S. sentencing guidelines were established in 1991. The sentencing provides unbiased penalties and guidance in doing the right thing to avoid punishment. Its enforced upon corporations, partnerships, labor unions, pension funds, trusts, non-profit entities, and governmental units. Each of the 94 judicial districts and 12 circuit courts adapt the federal sentencing guidelines.

The work of Congressman Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley spearheaded what is now known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). This act was passed by congress in 2002 to guard against illegal accounting activities being imposed on shareholders by corporations. SOX encourages firms, with a strong hand, to be transparent in reporting their financial transactions. According to Techtarget Network, SOX “defines which records should be stored and for how long. SOX states that all business records, including electronic records and electronic messages, must be saved for not less than five years.” Being untrue about a company’s financial activity comes with hefty fines to deter unlawful activity and punishment for those that don’t adhere to the rules.  For example, the maximum penalties of $1 million and 10 years imprisonment can be handed down for false certification.  A $5 million and 20 year sentence can be given for willfully false filing.

In 2003 the first case implemented under SOX was against Chief Executive Officers of Poultry firm Rica Foods Inc. for being dishonest and approving improper accounting documentation (accountingweb, 2003).  Fines were assessed and warnings of harsher penalties if in the future the company’s actions persisted.  In this case the law was applied with leniency and guidance for future actions.  

In 2007, NY Times reported a case in which 69 accounting firms and their partners violated the 2002 anti-fraud law.  Under the law accounting firms that audit companies have to register with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.  In this case none of the firms registered. However, The SEC’s enforcement director, Linda Chatman Thomsen was quoted as saying “The actions we take today protect investors and will deter future violations of Sarbanes-Oxley’s registration provision,”

From the information presented I believe SOX and the Sentencing Commission are sources of ethics.  They create a movement of goodness and virtuous acts enforced by punishment to corporations and their employees, if not followed. The laws and guidelines help to promote “good behavior” and an accountability framework for actions taken within companies.

References  

An Overview of the Organizational Guidelines

http:// CEO, CFO Fines Levied Under Sarbanes-Oxley

http:// Act Of 2002 – SOX

http:// Act (SOX)

http://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/Sarbanes-Oxley-Act

S.E.C. charges Accountants and Firms With Sarbanes-Oxley Violations

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