Would You Blow The Whistle?

Whistleblowing“You might one day need to be a whistle-blower. Be forewarned: Your personal and professional lives will suffer.” shares Patricia Patrick, PHD, CFE, CPA, CGFM in her article with www.fraud-magazine.com, Be Prepared Before You Blow the Whistle.

True enough, once you blow the whistle, whether you wanted to be anonymous or not, your life is significantly affected. Not only yours, but that of your family and friends as well. Despite the risk, this should not stop one from doing the right thing, if it is the right thing indeed.

In recent times, whistle-blowing highlights its importance as a useful means in unearthing malpractices and putting perpetrators behind bars. It is interesting to note the trend where court cases initiated through whistle-blowing efforts are being settled successfully. Government regulators in progressive countries have started to consider taking extra steps toward supporting whistle-blowers through appropriate legislation.

“As practicing accountants or auditors, take note to always uphold this: Loyalty to your client, but fidelity to the public,” reminds Rhad Vic to his young accounting students as they were starting off the term’s discussion series.

But before even trying to blow the whistle, one must carefully consider a few important things.

Briefly, one must take into account the Art of Whistle-blowing Pyramid.

pyramid

 The pyramid above shows the ladder as to what steps to take first before blowing the whistle.

First, gather enough evidence of the anomaly. For purposes of this discussion, let’s call the act being exposed as anomaly.

Claims of anomaly should be sufficiently substantiated. Adequate proof is needed and can never be discounted. Emotions may come along the way but don’t forget to stick to the facts.

Second, exhaust means with the authorities. Authorities comprise internal and external bodies. Internal include your immediate supervisor, or your manager, or the board of directors. There are times when your immediate supervisor or manager is directly involved in the anomaly; hence, you have to jump directly to the board or to the next in rank. Whatever the case is, it is important to follow the communication flow within the organization. And if there are rules laid down regarding whistle-blowing, say, it must be in writing and it must be within a specific period of time upon discovery, this must be followed.

In this sense, authorities include the rules and procedures that must be followed in the process. This also includes the appropriate laws that are being used to support the claim. For this consideration, you need to seek the help of a trusted lawyer to attack the problem with the right bullets and with the right approach.

After seeking all possible solutions within the organization but without reaching any resolution, then it is time to approach external authorities – which may be the government, government agencies, or governing organizations.

Finally, if the authorities cannot make the resolution, then it is time to proceed to blowing the whistle – expose the anomaly to the allies. The allies include the media and the public.

Again, exposing the anomaly outside should be the last option after taking all the possible remedies in the first ladders. All possible considerations should be taken into account before even trying to blow the whistle. In a study conducted in the States, it was reported that most whistle-blowers were fired. In that study, it was noted that 74 percent of the whistle-blowers were terminated, 6% were suspended, and 5% percent were transferred against their wishes. The remaining 15 percent received poor evaluations, demoted or harassed. And 55% lost their cases.

The effect to the whistle-blower’s life can be a 180 degree turn. Blowing the whistle, whether you wish to remain anonymous or not, affect your livelihood, your career, your family, your privacy – your life.

In addition, JosephsonInstitute.com cautions that you have to make sure the situation warrants whistle-blowing. If more serious trade secrets or confidential company property is exposed, know the harm and calculated risks.

It is also good to consider learning about whistle-blower protection. It may vary depending on the jurisdiction you are in.

Blowing the whistle is a brave act of integrity. And acts of bravery come with a huge cost. When we decide to take such courageous step, let us remember to follow the art of whistle-blowing embedded in the pyramid. After all, we are encouraged to speak up when we happen to know any wrongdoings.

Witnessing some anomalies in your workplace lately? Considering blowing the whistle? Fear not. The law is on your side.

Waiting is Over

Insights_Roar to Victory

The Miami Heat has overcome a 5-point deficit with 28 seconds remaining in the penultimate game 6 last Tuesday to force a sudden death final game. Last Thursday, they have found their rhythm to defeat the mighty veterans of the San Antonio Spurs and clinch the NBA Championship.

Great things come to those who work hard toward attaining their goals.

After almost four months, today marks the dawning of a new beginning insofar as my professional career as an accountant is concerned.

I have received this morning a notification from NASBA confirming, finally, that my application for licensure as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Colorado has passed quality control. I am now a CPA authorized to practice public accounting by the Colorado State Board of Accountancy.

I’m not sure whether other international candidates have undergone this long process, but I am ecstatic just the same that the waiting has finally reached a halt.

A big part of the waiting time, almost 2 months overall, was attributable to my opting to comply with the 1-year work experience requirement via the “Education in lieu of Work Experience” available in the State of Colorado. While abundant of work experience as a management accountant, I have not been privileged to work under the supervision of a licensed CPA. I had to have my academic credentials reevaluated once again, and this time on a course-by-course review in accordance with Rule 2.7 in Colorado State Board of Accountancy.

At age 47, I have now been assigned CPA license no. 31247. Looking back at how the tale of my long and arduous CPA journey has unfolded, I have finally joined the roll of honorable men and women who carry the seal of excellence in the accounting profession.

For all the pain and the sacrifices, the long hours of reading and hitting those MCQs, and for all the downtime not being able to be with my loved ones, number 31247 is gratifying in the truest sense of the word.

Lebron and Wade may have captured another milestone in their professional careers as basketball players, but me being awarded license number 31247 to cap this exciting week? To me the awesome feeling is just beyond compare.

Insights CMA & CIA Course Orientation

CMA Review Inaugural Program – Aug 2013

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Paddling Your Accounting Career

165477500_ASKAccounting is dynamic. To be able to go with the waves, CPAs should be dynamic, too.

Mady, a fresh graduate from college, went to the beach to relax and pamper herself in an exotic resort in the Philippines. She deserves it. After all, she just hurdled past the tough Philippine CPA board examinations last May.

She sat down in one of the chairs stationed at the coast line. After a while, she noticed two men pulling a kayak down the water against the dancing waves with paddles firmly gripped on their sides.

“Wow! I’d like to go kayaking, too,” she told herself.

She keenly observed how the two men did kayaking. After twenty minutes of observing, she thought she learned a lot that she wanted to try kayaking. She was about to stand up to go to the kayak when a thought came up and she realized, kayaking just reminded her of one of the truths of being an accountant – that we should keep on paddling!

Waves in the accounting industry do not cease. The business world is so dynamic. There is a concerted effort around international accounting bodies and organizations to promote and expand accounting education. Through higher quality teaching, accountants develop their communication skills to facilitate effective financial and management reporting. Innovative accounting concepts continue to be discovered to adapt to the changing times.

Accounting, being the language of business, is ever-changing. Because of this, accountants as we are cannot afford to stay stagnant. Steadiness, complacency even, should not be part of any accountant’s dictionary. In fact, if you stop paddling your accounting know-how, you don’t stay the same either. It’s either you get drifted away from the point you should be paddling to or you get pulled to a direction you never envision of going to. To stay in charge of your accounting career, you have to keep on paddling.

How then can you do this?

There are a lot of ways to paddle your accounting career, and going after international accounting certifications definitely tops the menu.

You may choose to further study and get your next title which may be CMA (the gold standard of achievement in accounting and financial management), CIA (the globally accepted certification for internal auditors and remains the standard by which individuals demonstrate their competency and professionalism in the internal auditing), or CFE (accounting professionals tasked to reducing business fraud world-wide to inspire public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession). Select which field that you want to specialize in and paddle your way to your desired destination. With the options presented below, you can be harnessed in paddling your way to a more rewarding career in the industry.

Certified Management Accountant: With this, you can move your career as a management accountant and be of contribution to the business in the field of risk management, internal decision making, planning and cost management, and budgeting, among others. As the business organization keeps on growing, complexities in decision making follow. Be of help to your organization. Be a Certified Management Accountant.

Certified Internal Auditor: Businesses grow into empires. The larger it gets, the riskier it becomes. This is the reason why organizations started to consider hiring more competent professionals to serve as chief audit executives, audit managers, audit staff, risk management staff, and the like. By being a Certified Internal Auditor, you can go even further.

Certified Fraud Examiner: Accounting scandals are one of the big waves that attack business entities. At times, they need Superman or Iron Man to save the stakeholders from big losses that fraud may cause. And because CFEs have a unique set of skills in resolving allegations of fraud, examining data and records to detect and trace fraudulent transactions, obtaining evidence, taking statements, writing fraud examination reports, testifying to findings, and assisting on the improvement of fraud prevention and detection, they can be the Superman and Iron Man to save the valuable investments of business stakeholders. You can be one of them. Be a Certified Fraud Examiner.

Certified Information Systems Auditor: Information systems (IS) play a major role in business enterprises. It is something that you need to have. But information systems are not created equal. Because of this, there is a need for IS audit, control and security professionals. Do you want to grab this highest paying and sought-after IT certification? Raise your banner – be a Certified Information Systems Auditor.

These are not mutually exclusive and if you want to, you can get all these certifications. Don’t you worry, there are still more if you finish these four.

Take it from Mady’s realization – the similarity of kayaking and accounting. Accounting is dynamic and so shall accountants be. As a CPA, to keep on paddling is not an option but rather a necessity in order to stay competitive.

Paddle your way to the end zone.

“The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow, is uneducated the day after.” – Newton D. Baker