KnowledgeLeader provides best practice articles, tools, guides and other resources on ethics and corporate culture. This page contains some examples of the many resources and tools on ethics and corporate culture that are available for download on KnowledgeLeader. The tools are provided in downloadable versions, so they can be customized for use in your organization.
Academic Conflict of Financial Interest Certification Policy
This sample outlines a set of policies and procedures for avoiding any possible conflict of interest in the conduct of grant or contract activities for academic institutions, to prevent employees or consultants from using their positions for purposes that are, or give the appearance of being, motivated by a desire for private gain for themselves or others, such as those with whom they have family, business or other ties.
Acceptable Use Policy
The following sample outlines a set of policies and procedures governing the acceptable use of technology resources. Inappropriate use of technology resources can expose companies to risks including virus attacks, compromise of network systems and services, and legal issues.
Anti-Bribery Compliance Program Policy
This sample outlines a set of policies and procedures to prevent violation of any and all national and international anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws and treaties. All employees, agents of the Company, joint-venture partners, or anyone else doing business in Company X’s name, are required to comply strictly with the FCPA, all other applicable anti-bribery and anti-corruption treaties, and all national laws.
Blog and Social Networking Policy
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all employee blog and social networking activities incorporate consistent standards to maintain and reinforce the corporate image.
Business Ethics Questionnaire
This questionnaire is designed to help risk management professionals determine how well their companies are addressing risks in this area and to bring awareness to ethics programs. It also provides guidelines on how to measure the performance of business ethics processes.
Code of Business Conduct Policy
The purpose of this policy is to help employees understand the values and beliefs of an organization. Topics covered include: Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, employment practices, antitrust compliance, and ethics hotlines.
Code of Conduct Questionnaire
If there is one constant for success in a rapidly changing global marketplace, it is the immutable bedrock of an unwavering commitment to ethical and responsible business behavior. This document discusses important questions for boards and management to consider when designing and implementing an effective code of ethics.
Complaint Handling Policy and Procedures (Non-U.S.)
This sample outlines a set of policies and procedures governing the handling of complaints regarding harassment, discrimination and bullying.
Confidentiality Policy: Sample 3 (Healthcare)
This policy outlines a set of procedures to protect patients' right to privacy, to protect confidential information regarding the business, and to document that each person understands his/her role in protecting confidential information as well as the consequences for violating the policy. Employees should not discuss confidential information with employees who do not need the information to perform their job or with anyone outside of the company, except in the case of properly authorized communication with consultants or governmental agencies.
Conflict of Interest (Trust Company) Audit Work Program
This audit work program focuses on the conflict of interest between a trust company and its affiliates. It addresses factors such as employees' access to the company's code of ethics, authorization from the governing trust instrument, disclosure of terms, fees charges, fiduciary accounts, securities transaction agreement, monitoring of the soft dollar arrangement, compliance with the safe harbor provision, service agreement, and investments.
Conflict of Interest Policy
This sample outlines a set of policies and procedures to help a company and each of its direct and indirect subsidiaries and senior officers and directors identify and properly address potential conflicts of interest.
Corporate Responsibility Audit Work Program
The objectives of this audit program are to assess the effectiveness of a corporate responsibility program (CRP) and to ensure that the company is continuing to put into practice the seven elements of an effective compliance program. This audit program explains the scope of the audit and covers topics on integration of compliance into policies and/or procedures, education, environmental assessment, hotline/investigative reporting, and corporate integrity agreement/settlement agreement.
Corruption Risk Management Questionnaire
Anti-corruption has become a major global initiative. Still, it is naïve to expect that legislators, regulators, international trade organizations and other parties can eradicate customs and behaviors that have evolved over many centuries. This board of directors and management questionnaire focuses on corruption risk, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and other key considerations.
Customer Fraud Risk Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
This tool template explains the business risks related to customer fraud and outlines best practices to counter credit card fraud, identity theft, theft of intellectual property and phony online auctions.
Diversify Workforce Audit Work Program
This audit work program evaluates a company's diversity and inclusion compliance processes.
Diversify Workforce RCM
This document outlines risks and controls common to the diversify workforce process.
Electronic Discovery: An Academic Exercise or Your Next Crisis?
Electronic discovery (or e-discovery) refers to the process by which relevant electronically stored information (ESI) is produced when an organization faces legal or regulatory action. This process is important because parties in a lawsuit can now demand from each other word processing documents, e-mails, voice mail and instant messages, blogs, backup tapes and database files. Failure to comply with these electronic production obligations can lead to serious sanctions, sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars, and increased compliance costs. The harsh consequences of non-compliance are growing exponentially. This issue of The Bulletin provides ideas for companies to implement practical approaches in proportion to their litigation risk exposure and ongoing operations that will significantly reduce the cost, burden and time associated with records retention and e-discovery.
Employment of Related Persons Policy
This policy outlines a set of procedures for employment of related persons in order to maintain an atmosphere of fair and impartial treatment of employees.
Employment: Conflicts of Interest Policy
The purpose of this policy is to communicate a company’s position on what matters could constitute a conflict of interest to employees, and to establish a protocol for disclosing and dealing with such conflicts of interest. Many conflicts of interest may not be obvious to an employee. The policy clarifies the employer’s perspective on what constitutes a conflict of interest and what the consequences may be if the employee if found to be in a conflict of interest.
Entity-Level Controls Fraud Questionnaire
Fraud prevention is essential to set the right tone for an effective internal control framework. This excel-based template links the COSO components to a number of control objectives for entity-level fraud controls. Within the questionnaire you can document items such as whether the control exists; whether it was designed properly; related test procedures; and the management action plan for deficiencies.
Entity-Level Controls Audit Work Program
This sample audit work program evaluates the entity-level controls in an organization, specifically focusing on the control environment, risk assessment, information and communication, control activities, and monitoring.
Entity-Level Controls Memo
This memo outlines a process for reviewing entity-level controls.
Entity-Level Fraud Risk Assessment Process Report
This sample report provides an overview of the process one company undertook to satisfy the requirements of evaluating fraud risks that pertain to internal control over financial reporting.
Environmental Protection Policy
This sample policy ensures that all controlled and identified materials used in operations are properly managed to comply with laws and regulations and to minimize harmful effects on the environment.
Establishing an Effective Complaint and Confidential, Anonymous Reporting Process – Questionnaire
This questionnaire focuses on issues that audit committees and management should consider as they collaborate to comply with the SECs rules pursuant to Section 301 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 301 focuses on establishing an effective complaint and confidential, anonymous reporting process. These requirements are important because the SEC’s rules direct the national securities associations to prohibit the listing of any security of a company that is not compliant with them.
Ethical Business Conduct Guidelines Audit Work Program
The purpose of this work program is to provide the general steps used to perform an audit of ethical business conduct guidelines. This document provides guidance on obtaining a list of all executives and directors, determining who is required to sign an ethical business conduct form, obtaining access to employees’ human resource files, and other steps needed to complete this audit.
Ethics Audit Checklist
This checklist contains a set of questions that can be used when performing an ethics audit. Topics include: policies and procedures, communication, training, change management, violations, penalties and enforcement.
Ethics Program Guide
An effective ethics program serves as a basis for policy-making as well as providing guidance in daily decision-making. This guide describes steps that companies should consider when developing or strengthening their ethics programs.
Ethics Program Review Audit Work Program
An organization’s ethics program is increasingly important in the current regulatory environment and critical to minimizing reputation risk. Internal audit is responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of ethics programs that can significantly reduce reputation risk exposure; however, evaluating a relatively intangible area such as ethical behavior can be challenging. This work program can assist with developing a comprehensive review.
Executive Certifications: Same Responsibilities, Higher Stakes
Although there are several aspects to the executive certification, management is certifying the effectiveness of the internal management processes that underlie the required disclosures. Certifying officers should design the certification process so that their activities are coordinated with business unit managers, process owners, internal auditors, the external auditor, legal counsel and other key parties. In this issue of The Bulletin, we answer several important questions regarding these new requirements.
Finance Code of Conduct Policy
This sample policy serves as a code of conduct specific to senior financial officers of a company with the purpose of documenting a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities.
Focus on the "Tone of the Organization”
"Tone at the top” is a term often used to describe how an organization’s leadership creates an environment that fosters ethical and responsible business behavior. While leaders communicate the company’s vision, mission, core values and commitment to ethical behavior, what really drives the culture and resonates with employees is what they see and hear every day from their supervisors. While tone at the top is important and a vital foundation, is it enough? This issue of Board Perspectives: Risk Oversight explains why it is essential that the tone at the top be translated into an effective "tone in the middle" before it can reach the rest of the organization.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Policy
This policy outlines procedures for compliance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Assessing Effectiveness of a Process or Program Guide
This framework offers guidance for evaluating the design effectiveness of a process or program and developing a subsequent test plan for evaluating its operating effectiveness. This guidance can be applied to the following types of processes or programs: code of conduct program, whistleblower process, self-assessment program, human resource program, or similar.
Fraud Indicators: Financial Performance Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
This guide identifies some of the red flags within an entity's financial performance that indicate the potential existence of embezzlement, financial statement fraud, and other illegal acts (e.g., bribery, kickbacks, price-fixing, bid-rigging and tax evasion.)
This sample policy details the actions constituting fraud and non-fraud irregularities, investigation responsibilities, confidentiality statements, authorization for investigating suspected fraud, reporting procedures, and termination and administration procedures.
Fraud Prevention and Detection Audit Work Program
This audit program sample focuses on understanding current fraud prevention and detection program activities.
Fraud Response Policy
This sample policy outlines a company's principles with respect to maintaining a fraud-free environment.
Fraud/Integrity Risk Methodology
This methodology is a flexible framework upon which internal audit teams can build. It outlines an approach for addressing integrity risk within an organization, focusing exclusively on the Integrity Risk section of the Process Risk category of the Protiviti Risk Model. The methodology addresses key questions in this risk assessment process such as current management of and measurement of integrity risk.
Fraud: Internal Audit's Role in Detection and Prevention
This presentation discusses the fundamentals of fraud and the role of internal audit in detection and prevention of fraud.
This sample outlines a set of procedures to follow for employees to file grievances and the related resolution process.
Insider Trading Policy
This policy outlines a set procedures for insider trading. Transactions must comply with these procedures in order to comply with securities laws as defined by the Security Exchange Commission.
Internal Audit Strategic Focus Questionnaire
This questionnaire explores internal audit’s strategic contributions and what management and boards should expect from audit going forward.
Intersecting Risk Management and Crisis Management
Crisis management is an integral component of effective reputation management. A rapid and effective response to sudden, unexpected events can enhance reputation. As astute observers know, even the most respected organizations can be tested. We often think, "What happened to them can’t happen to us.” Well, it can. Because most organizations are unprepared for a crisis, it is a management imperative to build a rapid-response crisis management capability for sudden and unexpected high-impact, high-velocity and high-persistence events. This issue of Board Perspectives: Risk Oversight stresses the importance of being prepared early for a potential crisis, which can improve an organization’s ability to respond to a crisis, reduce damage to a company’s brand image and reputation, and minimize regulatory sanctions, penalties or fines.
Investment Management Firm Audit Work Program
The purpose of this work program is to provide the general steps used to perform an audit at an investment management firm.
Is Your Compliance Management Making a Difference? The Bulletin, Volume 4, Issue 10
Compliance management consists of the organization’s policies and processes for adhering to applicable laws and regulations. It requires metrics, measures and monitoring that provide assurance to management and the board that established policies and procedures for fostering compliance and responsible business behavior are performing as intended. Without effective management of the compliance risks that really matter, the organization is reactive, at best, and non-compliant, at worst. Companies should ensure that they are implementing a holistic, top-down and proactive approach to managing compliance. This issue of The Bulletin focuses on the issues that surround compliance, its current state, true cost and value proposition, as well as its organizational structure and offers suggestions on ways it can be improved.
Manage Legal and Ethical Issues Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
This tool shows key objectives for managing legal and ethical issues, the outcome measures associated with each objective, and the activity measures that drive each outcome measure.
Managing Corruption Risk Involving Foreign Officials and Avoiding Its Impact on Reputation
Civil and criminal fines stemming from anti-corruption noncompliance can be costly. Firms that paid bribes to foreign officials have been subjected to criminal and civil enforcement actions, resulting in large fines, as well as suspension and debarment from federal procurement contracting. In addition, reputation damage due to negative media attention can devastate the bottom line and impair shareholder value. To avoid these consequences, many firms have implemented detailed compliance programs intended to prevent, deter and detect improper payments by employees and agents. It is critical for management to ensure that a robust anti-corruption compliance program, including anti-corruption controls, is in place. This issue of The Bulletin briefs on how to manage corruption risk and uses the FCPA as a framework for this discussion.
Managing Corruption Risk
Consequences of corruption violations include criminal and civil enforcement actions, profit disgorgements, mega fines, and suspensions from government contracting, jail terms for employees and reputation-damaging headlines. To avoid these consequences, firms should consider an anti-corruption program intended to prevent, deter and detect improper payments by employees and agents. Companies should establish risk-based policies and procedures that provide reasonable assurance the organization and its agents are adhering to the provisions of applicable anti-corruption laws, and implementing adequate systems of internal controls. This issue of Board Perspectives: Risk Oversight shares how a robust anti-corruption program can save companies from the expensive consequences of corruption violations.
Protecting Enterprise Value Through Your Anti-Fraud Program – Questionnaire
A company’s anti-fraud program is an integral part of its corporate governance process and is fundamental to protecting tangible and intangible enterprise value and preserving the reliability of public reporting. This document focuses on key questions for board members and management when evaluating the anti-fraud program.
Quarterly Compliance Assessment – Audit Report
The purpose of this report is to document internal audit’s quarterly assessment of compliance policies and procedures and the validation of the operational effectiveness of key activities and controls within those policies and procedures.
Social Responsibilities Programs Audit Work Program
This audit program helps internal audit functions identify social responsibility issues that an organization may not be adequately addressing and assess controls around those programs.
Standards of Conduct Policy
This policy includes standards for work performance, unauthorized possession or removal of property, and failure to safeguard confidential information.
System, Database and Application Administrator Policy
The purpose of this policy is to define the roles, activities, and responsibilities of administrators with regard to access rights to applications running on a company’s computer resources. The policy includes all system, database and application administrators (including third-party vendors) who have access to technology resources, either locally or remotely.
Ten Keys to Managing Reputation Risk
According to Warren Buffett, it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. With today’s electronic media, the news cycle reporting on the downward spiral of a once-proud organization that has suffered severe reputation impairment is not a pleasant one to watch. Applied to a business, reputation represents an interpretation or perception of an organization’s trustworthiness or integrity. While the truth ultimately prevails long term, reputation can be based on false perceptions in the near term. In this issue of The Bulletin, we explore 10 essential keys for managing reputation risk. Through strategic and cultural alignment, a commitment to quality, a strong operational focus and increased resiliency, companies can lay the foundation for building and sustaining a strong reputation.
The Changing Corporate Governance Landscape and Its Implications
This issue of The Bulletin reviews examples of what the board of directors and management should do as they work to improve corporate governance.
The Importance of Tone at the Top to Risk Management
This issue of Board Perspectives: Risk Oversight reviews 10 key indicators that collectively provide red flags that potential issues may exist within an organization.
The Role of Personal Accountability in the New Environment
This issue of The Bulletin outlines seven key principles that provide a framework for establishing and reinforcing the personal accountability of management and the board of directors. Application of these principles will create a healthy tension within the organization and facilitate communication between management and the board.
Web Internet Use Policy
This sample policy outlines a set of policies and procedures governing the use of the Internet, Web browsers, and other applications with the ability to access or transfer data to or from servers connected to the Internet.
Whistleblower Policy and Procedures
This policy establishes standards and procedures to ensure that the accounting and audit-related complaint handling process complies with management’s and the audit committee’s objectives.