Fraud and corruption – definitions and impact

What is fraud?

Fraud is dishonest activity causing actual or potential financial loss to any person or entity including theft of personal identity, moneys or other property by employees or persons external to the University and where deception is used at the time, immediately before or immediately following the activity. This also includes the deliberate falsification, concealment, destruction or use of falsified documentation used or intended for use for a normal business purpose or the improper use of information or position for personal financial benefit.

The concept of fraud involves fraudulent or corrupt conduct by internal parties or external entities targeting the University, or fraudulent or corrupt conduct by the University itself targeting external entities.

What is corruption?

Corruption is dishonest activity in which a person abuses his/her position of trust in order to achieve some personal gain or advantage for themselves, or provide an advantage/disadvantage for another person or entity.

Corrupt conduct can take many forms including:

  • conflicts of interest
  • taking or offering bribes
  • dishonestly using influence
  • blackmail
  • fraud
  • theft
  • embezzlement
  • tax evasion
  • forgery
  • nepotism and favouritism

NOTE: Corruption does not include mistakes or unintentional acts.

Is Your Organisation Creating Full Value From Innovation?

Innovative organisations are marked out by their visionary leadership, licence to explore new ideas, readiness to collaborate and ability to commercialise new ideas quickly.

In our new study, Unleashing the power of innovation, we explore the changing role and nature of innovation in today’s businesses, drawing on responses from a survey of 246 CEOs around the world.

We believe there are five key questions your organisation needs to address if it’s to become genuinely innovative and generate full value from its investment:

  • Does the way you innovate (collaboration, employee empowerment, customer engagement, time horizons etc.) reflect your vision and appetite for innovation?
  • How effectively are you articulating your vision and appetite for innovation to employees, investors and business partners?
  • Do your employees see creating, promoting and executing new ideas as a crucial part of their job description?
  • Are the processes for decision making and organisational mobilisation quick enough to bring new innovations to market ahead of your competitors?
  • How effectively do you measure and track the return on investment and ability to meet customers’ changing expectations?

The Value of Leadership in the Labour Market and Business Environment

Leadership is a quality that is highly prized by employers. It is difficult to define and even more difficult to measure.

Effective leaders motivate and develop their staff to get the best performance out of them, they have happy teams and low staff turnover rate. So it makes economic sense to employ skilled, talented and gifted leaders.

They create and develop a Vision, encourage a team to engage with the Vision, manage delivery of the Vision while building, developing and mentoring the team.

Managing the delivery and coaching the delivery team is where Leadership meets Management. Often the same person is the Leader and Manager, and the requisite skills sets collide and overlap.

Sometimes the Visionary has a management team around them to handle delivery of the Vision. But the thing that sets Leaders apart from Managers is the Vision.

The Vision
The Vision is about looking ahead, seeing a way to improve things, a transformation, and making the changes happen. It can be a product or a service.

Think of having the vision to create Facebook, the World Wide Web, or Google.

In Politics it is the people who had the Vision of transformational policy change such as Racial Equality, Equality for women, Votes for women, Education for all, Equal pay, Healthcare reform. Continue reading The Value of Leadership in the Labour Market and Business Environment

Can Everyone be a Great Leader?

I think a good analogy is that of a talent such as the ability to dance, sing, act, play football or be a successful athlete.

Those people are born with a set of skills and talent that enable them to excel in their chosen field. They may show an inherent ability and interest, and will have some raw skill. But given the correct environment and training the skill will be honed, the talent will blossom and the person will become proficient in their field.

It is very difficult to produce a world class footballer, actor, singer etc. from a person who does not have the inherent ability. It is possible to develop what skill there is within the person, but not to produce a world class performer.

In the same way, there may be people who could potentially be world class, but if they are never shown the way, offered the opportunity, then they will not realize their hidden potential.

So I am saying that to produce a great leader, an effective leader, it is helpful to have the correct raw material to work with, someone who has an inherent talent for leadership. But also, I am saying, everyone can be helped to improve their leadership skills.

What are we learning here?

As in everything, if we analyze the component parts of the skillset required, we can work on them separately and develop and improve our Leadership potential.

We have considered many of the skills required already on this course. Now I propose to revisit the ones that you can work on to improve your leadership potential in this new separate module. I will include the link to the original module, so you can revisit if you want to revise it, and I will briefly summarize the original module for you.

Trait and Situational theory
Leadership trait theory is an early leadership theory, and asserts that there are certain inborn traits or attributes that mean people are more likely to succeed as leaders. So it infers that leaders are born, rather than made.

Early research on the traits of leaders failed to show significantly different traits in leaders and followers. Further studies led to observations that people are not always leaders or followers in different situations. Let’s consider an example.

Two people work in the same business. A is a senior manager in the business, B is an employee at a much lower level.

Both are members of a different group –say a choir, or amateur football club. Here B is the choir leader, or team captain, and A is an ordinary member of the group.

B leads the group, in the same way as A leads the department in the company.

Their behavior in each setting is different. Why is this?

Because they have adopted different roles in each instance, and so assume the authority and command the respect conferred by their position.

Different people take the lead in different situations that require different skills. It is also influenced by the way that teams work together. In teams people tend to assume the role they are best suited to, unless that role is taken already, in which case they will slot in where they fit best.

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11 Reasons To Be Transparent On Tax

By Eelco van der Enden , Partner, PwC Netherlands.

The European Commission’s proposal for public country-by-country reporting of tax for large multinationals aims to discourage aggressive tax behavior and to get to grips with public unrest on tax avoidance. With this amendment to the Accounting Directive, it meets the public demand for more transparency on the tax strategies of large business and the fairness and efficiency of the tax system—against the backdrop of LuxLeaks and the Panama Papers. France, the United Kingdom, Greece, the Netherlands, and the European Parliament seem to be in favor of public country-by-country reporting.

The German Finance Minister, Mr. Schäuble, is not in favor. He is supported by Malta, Austria, and some tax advisor and business representatives. They claim that fiscal information is only meant for tax administrations. Tax administrations should fight tax irregularities and share information between them.

Tax transparency would lead to a competitive disadvantage for Europe, increase costs of compliance, and disclose “company secrets.” It would also put pressure on tax administrations to levy more tax. “The public will decide the tax bill in the end,” so we hear. Furthermore, there is fear that, under the pressure of US multinationals, the US administration will respond with countermeasures.

The question is whether these arguments are of sufficient substance to counter the public and political pressure for more transparency. Here are 11 reasons to counter the arguments against tax transparency.

  1. For some industries, like extractive and banking, mandatory transparency regulations already exist. This has not resulted in market distortions—confirmed by companies subject to these transparency regulations. Why should these industries be transparent on tax and others not?
  2. Many companies are already voluntarily tax transparent or intend to become so in the near future.

  3. Non-transparency to avoid financial or reputational risks is foolhardy from a professional risk management perspective. It is gambling in the “tax-detection-risk lottery,” and it is not a sign of good corporate governance.

  4. The argument that ”company secrets” would be disclosed appears to be founded on the thought that, currently, data is safe within the company. Much (big) data is already publicly available.

Furthermore, the information to be disclosed will not consist of secret formulas, but merely basic information on the difference between financial and tax accounting.

  1. Tax administrations already have more information than will need to be published.

Dysfunctional tax administrations are not prevented by non-transparency in tax. In fact, tax transparency offers an opportunity to confront the public and politicians with the bad behavior of tax administrations.

  1. The argument that tax is too complicated to explain is not relevant. Try harder or implement less “unexplainable” structures.
  • If transparency prevents tax optimization, and this is seen as a competitive disadvantage, then the question is, “how does this relate to a company’s (tax) governance and corporate social responsibility?”

  • A company needs a functional tax control framework in order to be sure it can file timely, validated, and correct returns. Tax transparency in itself will not lead to serious additional administrative costs. The European Commission has looked into this.

  • Countries are developing initiatives for more tax transparency on a state-by-state basis. Coordination and streamlining of international reporting standards via the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is needed to avoid a myriad of transparency regulations.

  • After LuxLeaks and the Panama Papers, NGOs and journalists will keep publishing such information in a format over which taxpayers have no control. Voluntary transparency can result in more public and political understanding of the tax strategy of (transparent) companies.

  • The United States itself has introduced regulations to improve transparency in risk management, reporting, exchange of information, and other areas.

  • In this era, in which tax has become a social media topic, multinationals are advised to develop a communication strategy on tax. The days when tax was the private playground of tax lawyers are over, whether mandatory tax transparency regulations are issued or not. To come to a consistent approach, the Commission’s proposal, therefore, deserves serious attention.

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    Business Models – Understand the Retail

    Unless they are personally involved in retail, most people have no idea how stock of a product gets onto the shelves.
    Many are perplexed when a product such as a toy is in great demand, they don’t understand why the retailers don’t have stock of a product that customers want to buy.

    To find out why, let’s take a look at the process a product goes through to get from ideas to product on the shelf.
    There are a number of routes by which products may come to market.

    Wholesalers, distributors and importers research their source markets for new products. They may be shown ideas by designers attached to the factories they work with.

    They may be shown extensions and additions to successful ranges. They may see product in the factory showroom which has been commissioned by others, or successful in other countries.

    There may have been an exclusivity agreement in place for a couple of seasons which has now expired.

    Or they may themselves commission ideas for new products. Continue reading Business Models – Understand the Retail

    Business Management – Organisational Skills

    Organisational skills is a term that describes the ability to use time, energy, and resources effectively to ensure you achieve your goals and objectives.

    It is a business competency that is a basic requirement for anyone who has business ambitions .It is not just about good filing and effective scheduling, but also about forward planning, and continually reviewing the business plan and the company direction, goals and objectives. Time management skills have a part to play.

    We cover time management skills on our sister site .Follow this link to learn more
    Being well organised allows you to operate effectively, easily access business data, prioritise, focus on goals and keep staff and employees updated.

    Poorly organised behaviour can irritate managers, staff, and customers, and waste everyone’s time. .Even if someone is brilliant, their poor organisational skills can impinge on everyone around them, and can even lead to a general loss of productivity and effectiveness for the whole department or business.

    It pays to keep order in your physical surroundings, your office, and your computer files, as well as in your thinking, as it helps to run the business as effectively as will help you to be punctual for meetings and appointments , hit your deadlines and maximise your own and others productivity . You will be working smarter, not harder. You can be seen to be depended upon.

    Management and organisational skills
    Key management and organisational skills would include the ability to;
    Manage time
    Multi task
    Pay attention to details

    And to Deploy ;-
    Analytical skills
    Communications skills.
    Problem solving skills
    Decision making skills
    People skills
    Team skills
    Improving your organisational skills

    Here are some ideas to help you develop your organisational skills
    Plan and schedule. Plan next week at the end of this week , plan tomorrow tonight
    Keep a list of what needs to be done. You don’t have to do everything yourself. If you make a list , it will help you to select what you can delegate and prioritise the rest
    Set goals with timelines
    Prepare in advance. Never arrive at a meeting or an appointment without having prepared yourself as best you can. Even if time is tight, try to refresh your memory, or ask someone to summarise previous contacts between the two parties for you.

    Prepare each evening for the following day, even if you just have time to read through your planned itinerary. This way your subconscious mind will work on details overnight and you may wake with some great business ideas. Also you will sleep better knowing you have the day sorted out in your mind.

    Try beginning your day early. Many successful people have this habit in common. Productivity is often at its highest early in the day, and you can probably reflect and plan in peace at that time of day.

    Use an effective filing system so you don’t waste time looking for the right file or folder.

    Evaluate your priorities on a regular basis. Don’t perform tasks out of habit
    Don’t undertake unrealistic deadlines -Say no if you have to, giving your reasons.

    I hope that quick look at organisational skills has been a useful reminder for you , and you have each found something to work on.

    Don’t forget to take a look at the time management skills section on our sister site

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    Management Theories – Nudge Theory

    We all make decisions every day –what to buy, eat, cook, choose, and spend our money on. But do we always choose well? What are the factors that influence those choices?

    Are all the facts that influence our choices presented to us in an unbiased, neutral way? Or sometimes do we receive a little “nudge “?

    In 2008 a book on behavioural economics, was published. It was called Nudge, and was written by US academics Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler.

    The authors demonstrate how to nudge people in a particular direction, without restricting their freedom of choice.

    The theory is that by understanding how people think, we can use positive reinforcement to influence how they act, and help them choose wisely, for their good and the benefit of society.

    Political theorists and people in policy making positions were interested in the idea that behavioural economics could improve the effectiveness of government using indirect suggestions rather than legislation, or enforcement.

    Research indicated that people could be steered towards better decisions by presenting choices differently.

    Politicians seized on the theory that they could subtly encourage people to shift their behaviour by influencing their decision making , and many governments around the world quickly set up “nudge units “ designed to help people think more appropriately and improve their lifestyle choices such as health nutrition and exercise . The tricks of behavioural psychology could “nudge” the public into doing the right economic thing.

    It is more subtle and less direct than classic enforced change. Politicians prefer to influence us by subtle nudges rather than pass legislation.

    Nudge theory was first popularised in America in the early 2000s, as a different approach to influencing the way that people thought about financial products , such as pensions, savings and healthcare. This was intended to improve the quality of their later life, rather than to enrich the financial industry.

    It is important to note that Nudge was initially developed by academics as a moral theory. It was intended to improve society, not to be a tool for commercial gain, or to enable governments to control.

    An example of how a nudge might replace an enforcement might be;-

    Instead of putting up “no littering” signs, and threatening to fine people, an authority places more litter bins in prominent and accessible places.

    Rather than instructing people, governments try to educate and inform them about say, better lifestyle choices.

    For the government to improve home energy efficiency, they might show people how much less their neighbours spent on gas and electricity than they did, rather than badgering them about saving energy
    Teachers and parents discuss issues with people rather than talking down to them.
    Governments try to embarrass tax evaders into paying taxes by telling them what percentage of the population pay them voluntarily, rather than pursuing them for unpaid taxes.

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    How Can Theory X And Theory Y Improve The Situation?

    Now that you understand the reason for this type of behaviour you can begin to formulate a plan to improve matters. It is best not to confront them with accusations about their style of management, better to try to work with them and “manage upwards “.

    As they are so results oriented, the best way to achieve this is to deliver the results they want or need.

    Try to understand what their agenda and motivation is. Perhaps they are genuinely busy, are stressed, and have too much on their plate. In this case can you take something off them to lighten their load?

    Manage up

    Perhaps they are just a chronically bad organiser? Can you get some structure into the system? Help them deliver?

    It is useful to anticipate their requirements so that you are able to foresee what they will need, so try to have an open dialogue with them, and get them to think ahead and plan what everyone should be doing now, tomorrow, next week and so on.

    Remember their personality is such that they want facts and figures, not thoughts and feelings. They deal in objectives and achievements and are not interested in people’s welfare or development. They may not have much empathy or understanding of these type of issues.

    If you can get them to share their objectives, you can align yours with them. As they see you are taking control of the situation, managing yourself, they may feel that they don’t have to control you so tightly and will leave you alone.

    Try to deliver

    Always make sure you deliver what you say you will, so that they build trust with you. If you have an unrealistic schedule which will not allow you to deliver what is asked of you, you must state clearly why it cannot be achieved. Don’t be negative or unreasonable, but be calm and constructive. Set out what you can deliver, when and why. Look for ways to achieve both of your objectives by a different method or form of compromise.

    If the methods they propose to achieve do not suit your working methodology, agree on the results that are required and ask them to let you achieve it your own way. As long as they get the results, they probably won’t care how you achieve them
    Don’t confront them by shouting or threatening to report them, but defend yourself reasonably. Remember they probably act like this in response to their own problems. You can help break the deadlock by showing them you are motivated, and willing to take responsibility.

    Remember, we began by considering that Theory X management is based on the belief that most people do not like work and must be forced to work towards their company goals and objectives. You need to change their thinking by showing them that is not correct in your case. In turn they should “lighten up “a bit, especially if you help them solve some of their problems.

    Theory Z

    As a footnote, theory Z was developed in 1981 by William Ouchy . It advocates a management style that combines theory Y and modern Japanese management. It assumes workers have a loyalty to their company and want to use team work and exercise a great deal of freedom in their work. The style relies on the workers attitude and willingness to accept responsibility, rather than on their management.

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    How Can Theory X and Theory Y Help You to Work With a Difficult Manager?

    I see many comments and feedback on the site from people who say their manager is not easy to work with, and does not practise the enlightened behaviours we often discuss. And many people ask me for advice on how they can work with difficult managers.

    This type of manager can sometimes be referred to as a theory X manger, whereas a more liberal, contemporary style of management is referred to as a theory Y.
    Let’s begin by having a look at Theory X and theory Y to help us understand what is happening here.

    What is Theory X and theory Y?

    It is worth having a look at the theory in detail. It addresses motivation and management and has been used to develop a positive management style. It is often used to improve organisational culture and development.

    McGregor’s theory postulates that there are basically two ways of managing people. Theory X is an authoritarian style of management, based on a belief that most people do not like work and must be forced to work towards their company goals and objectives. They need to be closely supervised, will avoid responsibility and are not ambitious. They only want security. This style of management does not encourage staff development, and fosters a limited, depressed culture. It is generally held to be unhelpful and produce poor results
    Theory Y is a more participative management style, based on the belief that people will naturally make an effort at work, and will automatically try to achieve company goals and objectives, as long as their achievements are associated with rewards. They welcome responsibility and many people will use their creativity and ingenuity to solve company problems.

    This style of management is liberating, allows staff to develop, achieve things, and enables and empowers them. It is generally held to be more constructive and beneficial, allow people to grow and develop and produces better performances from staff.

    Why do managers behave like this?

    Sometimes it helps to understand why managers behave as they do. Theory X managers are often responding to pressure from their own managers, or from external influences such as business problems or cash flow problems if they are the business owner. Maybe they have personal problems, family issues. Perhaps they are under a great deal of pressure one way or another and this is what influences their behaviour.

    Theory X managers can be characterised as results-driven and intolerant. They will often issue deadlines, threats and instructions, rather than asking for something to be done. They may be short tempered, often angry, arrogant, or elitist. They are not usually good at team building, and are not interested in the welfare of their staff. They never offer praise, delegate, listen or thank their staff.

    They are often a nightmare to work for, and create an extremely unpleasant situation for everyone concerned. In the next lesson we will consider what action you can tak.

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