The article Has SOX Been successful by Terri Eyden

 

The history of business and government excesses and the subsequent public, legal and political reaction is quite a long one. The response to criminal misconduct has led to governance practices, legal sanctions, compliance standards and different cultural transformations. Over a period of the last forty years, there have been major events within the American Business leading to subsequent legislations and regulations that have shaped up how organizations carry out their business operations. These legislations that came about are such as the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations (FSGO), Sarbanes – Oxley Act (SOX), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). There are various events that paved way for the creation of each of these regulatory measures.

In 1984, the sentencing Reform Act was enacted and it contained a set of mandatory federal sentencing guidelines. The United States sentencing commission was formed as part of the act and it was charged with the responsibility of provision of certainty and fairness in any sentencing in order to avoid any sentencing disparities that were not wanted while at the same time ensuring that there is sufficient flexibility to allow individualized sentencing in cases where mitigating and aggravating factors warrant the process.In 1991, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations (FSGO) was developed as a response to the sentencing Reform Act. This was the pioneer of the concept of sentencing punishment mitigation for the effective compliance program and cooperation (Kaplan, & Walker, 2012).

There is a variety of complex factors which led to the creation of conditions and culture whereby a series of large corporate frauds occurred between the year 2000 and 2002. Some of the highly publicized frauds are such as WorldCom, Enron and Tyco that brought to light significant problems with conflict of interest and the practices of incentive compensation. It is the analysis of the complex and contentious root causes of these frauds that contributed to Sarbanes – Oxley Act (SOX) being passed.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created out of the worst financial crisis since the great depression occurred. This crisis had pushed financial systems into a lot of distress and had severe consequences such as plunging of home values, fall of personal savings, loss of jobs and defaulting of consumers on mortgages and loans. Prior to the crisis, federal oversight of consumers had been spread out among different agencies but they lacked the jurisdiction and necessary tools to make sure consumer financial markets were functioning properly. This led to the consolidation of consumer financial protection responsibility in one agency; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

These laws have a great impact on business ethics in different ways. One of the FSGO objectives is the promotion of corporate citizenship and guiding organizations towards a more ethical business culture. An amended guideline by FSGO requires that executives and directors take an active role in management compliance as well as the ethics program as well as the importance of promoting an organizational culture that complies with the law and demonstrates ethical culture. Therefore, organizations are incorporating an ethical culture in their operations just as the FSGO guidelines suggest (Kaplan, & Walker, 2012).

With the SOX in place, the top management in organizations is required to certify the accuracy of financial information individually. At the same time the penalties for fraudulent financial activities have become more severe with the SOX. This has encouraged business to carry out their operations ethically by avoiding any fraudulent dealings due to the fear of hefty penalties they will be required to pay incase any fraud is detected.

The CFPB is charged with the duty of writing and enforcement of rules for financial institutions, it closely examines banks as well as non-financial institutions, monitors and give reports on markets and collect and keep a track record of complaints made by consumers. All the institutions whereby the CFPB rules apply have to make sure that they adhere to these rules. This they achieve by ensuring that they are ethical in their operations for  example banks have to make sure the promote transparency and efficiency when it comes to credit cards, mortgages and other financial products and services they offer.

The article Has SOX Been successful by Terri Eyden highlights on how SOX has impacted business ethics in organizations. The article states that we should not overlook how SOX has contributed to the generation of a greater focus towards the improvement of corporate governance as well as stronger ethicsand compliance programs. In section 404 of the SOX, public companies are required to disclose whether or not they have adopted a code of ethics which is applicable to their senior financial officers. These requirements have resulted to the elevation of visibility of ethics and made a strong ethical culture be a best practice for organizations of different sizes and types. The article points out that the significance of strong ethical culture for the success of an organization has been subject to numerous articles. This shows just how much ethical culture is and just how good the SOX is doing to organizations (Eyden, 2012).

Most organizations can do right about anything in order for them to make profits even if it means taking advantage of customers. If organizations are left to carry out their operations with no laws then it would be total chaos. Organizations could abuse the positions they hold and hence carry out their operations recklessly with no care. Most of the laws are created with the sole purpose of protecting consumers against corporate abuse by organizations. Legislation forces organizations to carry out their operations while observing the laws that have been set. This implies that the laws leave no room for organizations to do what they want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Kaplan, J & Walker, L. (2012). Semi-Tough: A short history of the compliance and ethics program law. Retrieved September 7,2014 from file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/Downloads/Documents/Rand-Kaplan-White-Paper-post-publication4.pdf

 

Eyden, T. (2012). Has SOX  Been successful? Retrieved September 7, 2014 fromcom/article/has-sox-been-successful/219796“>http://www.accountingweb.com/article/has-sox-been-successful/219796

 


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