Remembering Our Men in Uniform

memorial dayOld Glory flying half-mast till noon. The silent moment at 3 p.m. to remember the fallen. The beginning of summer. Indy 500. Barbeques. As the day wears on, the significance of Memorial Day cascades from being a stoic remembrance of history to reminding you of the warmer days ahead.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The symbolic poppies that dot the Memorial Day landscape is a sign we bear the torch, and with it more than summer’s blithe spirit – a day of remembrance of family, friends and comrades who have fallen in service.



Celebrating the Women in the Workforce Today

Women in professional workplace- Gender DiversityAs the millennials settle into the workforce, there has been a paradigm shift in how employers create a diverse space for their workforce. Gender equality, or to put it in context, gender diversity remains a leading factor in determining an organization’s stance in creating this diverse culture. The opportunities available for the fairer sex then comes pushing forward.

Do women have the same opportunities as men to propel their career? Or does the threat of observing her family ties as much as her professional accomplishments act as the cumulative factor in deciding those opportunities? The figures are persuasive:

  • 77% of women in a dual-career couple earn more than or equal to their spouse
  • Women left individual organizations at identical or lower rates than men did in 2014
  • 60% of women worked well past the birth of their second child

So then have the barriers been breached? Another area you can look into to gauge that – international mobility for women at the workplace.

71% of female millennials said they want to work outside their home country in a PWC study. In contrast, only 20% women found their place in international assignments.

The disparities here can seem troubling – until you realize that these percentiles also represent employers who have not created strategies to promote a diverse workforce.

Women in the workforce today, though, have created a distinct impact. “We stand on the shoulders of the women who came before us, women who had to fight for the rights that we now take for granted,” says Sheryl Sandberg in her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.

But the course has been chartered. Female millennials, for instance, are storming the workforce – talented, with impressive educational credentials, and firm in their career objectives – a mix of things that cannot go wrong. So here we go – another year closer to achieving what the years are building to – a level playing field.

This Holiday Season…Make Merry With FCPA Compliance!

FCPA Compliant ChristmasThe holidays are when blurred lines and merriment come together to take the edge off validating kickbacks, and in some cases, just plain bribery. Going beyond season tickets to ball games, the scope for corruption and bribery has breached borders and taken an international stage. The argument that it’s impossible to operate your business without some leeway on kickbacks and bribery in countries that are on the road to economic progress, but not quite there yet, is one that the FCPA renounces loud and clear.

The stats support the FCPA’s unflinching stand on the matter: in 2009, the total penalties imposed by the Department of Justice and the SEC stood at $622 million. The figures marched up to $1.8 billion dollars in 2010. The math here is a huge indication of FCPA’s enforcement not just within the U.S. but in American global ventures as well.

When the Obama administration pushed for an increase in U.S. exports, businesses both big and small reached out to other markets and for more offshore support services. The challenge, as always when working with countries that have a developing economic ecosystem, is sustaining in those markets where the modus operandi for a business is very different from what it is within U.S shores.

Countries that are highly prone to bribery in government offices: India, Mexico, China, Brazil. Countries where the corruption quotient would turn the radar haywire: Russia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act does not restrict itself to businesses alone – the length and breadth of the Act encompass third party service providers and business partners who may be acting on your behalf elsewhere. In which case, you run the dire risk of being stranded in an unknown realm.

If you are staring with some confusion at the bottle of wine that a vendor dropped off for you, here are a few other areas of broader concern you should get to at the earliest:

  • Kicking off the list with the most essential – an FCPA compliance program for your business – one that is well-acknowledged from the top down.
  • Hire an external firm to do risk assessments where the market is not a familiar one and to find out areas where your company could be at risk.
  • Third party FCPA non-compliance is a huge threat, so understand the channels that you function through and your international distribution systems.
  • Don’t fall prey to the facilitating payments exception that the FCPA allows – delegating decisions about working within FCPA’s parameters to your sales staff onsite may not be a good idea.
  • Small and mid-sized businesses with little understanding of conducting international internal investigations need to get up to speed fast.
  • International contracts need to clearly cite FCPA compliance terms.

Whether your operations remain within the country or go global, the FCPA regulations are a huge part of your business ethics and compliance. But with that in place, a glass of wine may not be a bad idea after all. Cheers! Merry Christmas and here’s to a compliant New Year!

Navigating the Tricky Maze of Holiday Fraudsters

Happy Thanksgiving 2015_Complianceonline

Thanksgiving’s here, and with it, the rest of the holiday season seems to loom closer into view. Whether you are gleefully anticipating the Black Friday sale this week, or exhausted just thinking about the wear and tear of your credit card that the season seems to demand, here’s why your radar needs to be turned up: fraud.

Around Thanksgiving in 2013, Target admitted to a system breach and subsequently compromising the credit card information of 40 million customers across its stores nation-wide. This is just one retail woe. Dozens of shoppers have reported missing funds from their accounts, purchases that they didn’t make on credit and debit cards, and even card scanning devices cleverly installed in bank ATMs in malls.

So with virtual Fagins on the prowl, how can you be sure you, or rather your resources, remain safe? Here’s a quick rundown on the dos and don’ts:

  • Keep shopping and payment through your mobile phones to a minimum since these devices are not usually protected with anti-virus software.
  • Enjoy using your card for transactions because credit cards come with a higher degree of fraud protection, which means you could have your money back in case of a scam.
  • Stick with the giants – yes, picking a good online retailer or a familiar payment system means you are picking a more secure network too.
  • Keep an eye on your debit and credit card statements to detect payments you haven’t made.
  • Watch out for out-of-place paraphernalia on ATM machines.
  • Use strong passwords to secure online transactions and use multiple passwords for different accounts.

Well there’s more, but these essentials top the list. The holidays warrant some caution but definitely more celebrations, and on that note……happy thanksgiving………..and stay safe!