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A little self-control

I’ve read several accounts of a financial scandal involving a large global software enterprise, one in a Indian IT under scanner written by Debashish Sarkar, the other a Satyam: putting GRC into perspective written by Dennis Howlett.  Both posted in the Governance, Regulation, and Compliance area; I’m posting under Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability to discuss the cart, the horse and other objects which can’t be programmed.

Debashish works for a large global software company, though not the one involved in this scandal.  He is clearly expressing personal opinions, and has done so in a thoughtful and articulate way.  Though this might be Debashish’s first blog on the SAP community network, I think it was well-intentioned, well-reasoned, and well-expressed, and look forward to more content from Debashish.

The blog commentary goes in several directions, some on topic, some off topic.

On topic:

  • Audits, financial controls
  • GRC software
  • Board and corporate responsibilities 

Off topic

  • Whether this financial, business event  should be discussed on SCN

Dennis’ blog posits the question whether GRC software could have prevented such alleged massive fraud, with the general opinion (as I read it), that no, crooks will always find ways to steal.  Good software and regulatory scrutiny might find crimes sooner, but preventing them seems impossible (without personal self-control, oh, and whistle-blowers).

Marilyn Pratt‘s comment referred to prior corporate scandals like Enron; I’d recommend The Smartest Guys In The Room as a movie (and moving) documentary of what hapens when the regulation slips, management is greed-driven, and people buy into get-rich-quick schemes. A good friend of mine had a wall chart that graphically displayed the distribution of monetary wealth.  So few have so much, and so many have so little.

Fortunately for me, my parents instilled a lot of “watch our for sneaky business practices” when I was young.  Their expression for a salesperson exaggerating claims was “giving me the business”.  I read Consumer Reports regularly. As a result, I’m not rich in money.  However, I believe I have a rich reputation, since as it is said, your reputation precedes you.

I’d like to suggest to novice bloggers, wiki posters and other SAP community members to update your SCN business cards, and once you earn enough respect to get a community profile, fix that up real nice, too.  Here are mine:


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  • Nice one Jim. Reputation is earned but once lost is almost impossible to recover. Like you I come form an ‘old skool’ style of upbringing where decency, honesty, respect and reputation matter far more than the size of your bank balance or the number of cars parked in the garage. These things matter and it is to be hoped that these scandals will bring a new sense of meaning to ‘doing the right thing.’
  • Jim,
    reading your blogs everytime I think that
    one day you may have to write a book ‘Jim’s Path’!

    On the above blog-topic an interesting writing:
    “Power, Responsibility & Wisdom:
    Exploring the issues at the core of Ethical Decision-Making and Leadership:”
    by Dr Bruce Lloyd, Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management,
    London South Bank University.

    May please go through. Hope others in the community would also do.

    Sam Anbazhagan

  • While I was in India, I saw a fascinating article in local press. While a lot of fingers are pointed at the scandalous company and its founder, it seems the people from the Chairman’s hometown have expressed solidarity behind him.

    This would seem silly, till you read through and find the reasons. Apparently, the company employs a lot of the town’s residents and their children, plus the founder also puts a deposit of hundred thousand rupees in the name of girls born in the community who might need financial assistance to get married later.

    Now, these guys have all invested heavily in the company and have naturally lost money in the proces. That has not reduced their support for the founder and his company.

    Sounds robin hood like,eh?