6 of 10 businesses think corporate integrity standards have stagnated

96% of respondents also believe that this is essential to their organisation. 

60% of Singapore respondents presume that standards of corporate integrity have stayed the same, or for some, even worsened, over the past 18 months. 

The 2022 EY Global Integrity Report released by Ernst & Young Solutions, surveyed more than 4,700 employees, managers, and board directors from over 54 countries.

Of the Singaporean respondents, 96% agreed that integrity is a crucial component of organisations, whilst 44% say that the current pandemic is making it more difficult for businesses to act with integrity. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on integrity standards for companies around the world—including Singapore and the ASEAN region. The change to ways of working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has created a heightened risk of fraud and unethical behaviour. Hybrid working makes it difficult to undertake effective compliance monitoring, and fraud risk factors typically increase at a time of crisis because companies and individuals face more financial pressures,” said Ramesh Moosa, Singapore and Asean Forensic & Integrity Services Leader, Ernst & Young. 

Another finding from the survey also saw that SG-based respondents were more willing to adopt unethical practices for personal advancements. This includes a willingness to mislead auditors, ignore unethical actions by third parties, and falsify financial records at 19%, 18%, and 12%, respectively. 

32% of respondents also believe that unethical behaviour from senior managers and high performers is tolerated in their organisation, with 28% agreeing that it is easier to bypass such rules in their organisation. 

“The extended duration of the pandemic, coupled with geopolitical tensions, have undoubtedly put added pressure on businesses and individuals. In a bid to meet numbers or targets, some may be emboldened to adopt or condone risky behaviour. Hence, a focus on corporate integrity should be a cultural imperative. It is about creating a culture that supports ethical decision-making. Integrity breeds trust, guiding organisations to manage data well, and helps to protect individuals against the temptation to pursue short-term gains at the expense of ethical behaviour,” said Ramesh.

For more on this survey, the full report can be read here.

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