Hot potato: this month's dilemma.

AuthorBarman, Tanya
PositionUpdate - Column

This month's dilemma:

I'm the financial manager for a listed company. I've worked there for three years and it has been doing well. One of the directors is also a director at another firm. I've been asked to transfer a large sum of money between the two - unrelated - companies. Although I have requested further information, as I do not feel comfortable, I have been asked to "sign off" the transfer urgently. I've been verbally told that it is in the business's interest and has the support of the board. But I do not want to be responsible for approving such a transfer without the appropriate paperwork and feel awkward questioning the director's decision again.

Our response:

You have to consider carefully how you are implicated in this transaction. The fundamental principle of professional behaviour, as well as objectivity, is at stake. Potential conflicts of interest exist, as a result of either intimidation or familiarity, depending on your relationship with the director.

Safeguards would include referring to the compliance systems that should be in place within a listed company - have all policies and procedures been followed?

You need to be sure that you are in no way acting contrary to any law or regulation, technical or professional standards, or are facilitating any unethical management strategies. How would the transfer be explained to an auditor?

When there is conflict within the...

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