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The Daily

Survey: 42 Percent of Execs OK With Some Unethical Behavior to Meet Targets

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Apr 22, 2016
devil-speechErnst and Young's annual Global Fraud Survey found that, worldwide, 42 percent of 2,825 executives are okay with certain unethical behaviors if it means meeting financial targets. Specifically, they said any of the following could be justified in order to meet their goals: 

  • More flexible product return policies; 
  • Change assumptions determining valuations/reserves; 
  • Extend monthly reporting period; 
  • Backdate a contract; and 
  • Book revenues earlier than they should be. 

This is the worldwide average. Some individual countries scored higher, such as Malaysia at 80 percent, while others scored lower, like Brazil at 4 percent. The U.S. is slightly lower than average, with 32 percent feeling such actions are justified to meet financial targets. 

A smaller proportion are okay with even more egregious acts: 16 percent of finace team members below the CFO would make a cash payment to win or retain business, and 7 percent would misstate financial performance.