Descriptions of the main aspects of the regulatory environment which will protect the public from fraud within corporations are going to be provided in this paper. A special attention to the Sarbanes – Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) requirement; along with an evaluation of whether Sarbanes-Oxley Act will be effective in avoiding future frauds based on their implemented rules and regulations. The main aspects of the regulatory environment are based on the different laws and regulations the different governmental institutions such as federal, state, and local developed to create control over business practices. The regulatory environment creates a positive business financial operational environment as well as efficiency in management, integration of capital flow and domestic savings. For instance, the Securities Act of 1933 which provides regulations and laws to those offering corporate stocks to the public (University of Phoenix, 2014). Another regulatory environment is the Securities Act of 1934. The Securities Act of 1934 regulates and uses laws for trading stocks on markets that are consider as secondary markets like the New York Stock Exchange. The Securities Act of 1933 also provides the requirements for financial reporting and auditing for corporations (University of Phoenix, 2014).
When looking at the history of the business environment regulatory compliance has been part of the process of conducting business. In addition, in most industries the different organizations are going to find different rules and regulations that are presented by the government, requiring companies to follow them. In the event, these are not followed the business will be confronted with penalties for not following the regulations that are clearly defined by the government. As time progresses, many regulations were created to help and prevent fraud against the public. Some of these regulations include the requirement of state filing, and laws to create fair lending to the public. An example of this is the Securities and Exchange Commission also known as the SEC. The SEC is a major aspect of the regulatory environment. “The mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation” (SEC, 2013, para. 1). In today’s environment, many are utilizing the market as a way to secure their future.
The way to secure the future is by purchasing and paying for a home, pay for children college tuition, as well as any other expenses. As investors, it is important that the SEC does protect these individuals. According to the SEC (2013) “the common interest of all Americans in a growing economy that produces jobs, improves our standard of living, and protects the value of our savings means that all of the SEC’s actions must be taken with an eye toward promoting the capital formation that is necessary to sustain economic growth” (para. 4). The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (2013) states “the laws and rules that govern the securities industry in the United States derive from a simple and straightforward concept: all investors, whether large institutions or private individuals, should have access to certain basic facts about an investment prior to buying it, and so long as they hold it” (para. 6).
To ensure this rule is followed by ever organization the SEC requires public companies to make the appropriate financial state available to the general public. Making this statement public, future investors as well as current investors can clearly see and determine whether or not the investor wants to purchase, sell or hold an investment. The SEC (2013) also states “the result of this information flow is a far more active, efficient, and transparent capital market that facilitates the capital formation so important to our nation’s economy” (para. 7). The SEC is proactively working with other major markets that participate in environmental securities to certify that this guideline is being followed. One of the SEC functions is to supervise the participants in the area of securities world. The securities would include the areas of securities exchanges, securities brokers and dealers, mutual funds as well as investment advisors.
Another function the SEC provides is the promotion of disclosure of market related information and to maintain appropriate dealings. In addition, as a yearly procedure the SEC submits civil enforcement actions to those individuals and companies violating any of the securities laws. The infractions can include accounting fraud, trading misconduct, and providing deceptive as well as false information in regards the company’s procedures or securities. In doing this yearly event and disclosing market related data, it allows the SEC to protect companies and individuals against fraud. The SEC is an organization that works closely with other institutions to ensure rules and regulations are implemented and followed by the public. Some of the institutions that work with the SEC include Congress, self-regulatory organizations such as stock exchange, federal departments, the state securities regulators, and different private sector.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is one of the main regulatory environments that assist to protect the public from fraud that a corporation can commit. Another regulatory environment that collaborates with the enforcement of the rules and regulations is the Sarbanes – Oxley Act (SOX). The Sarbanes – Oxley is a regulatory act “passed by Congress in 2002 in response to a series of massive corporate frauds (i.e., Enron, WorldCom)” (University of Phoenix, 2014, p. 3). When Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oley Act, it was “to provide greater protections to investors, creditors, and other stakeholders” (University of Phoenix, 2014, p. 3). SOX will provide greater protection by “reducing unethical corporate behavior” (University of Phoenix, 2014, p. 3). The SOX play a major function with the SEC because not only this also helps protect the public from fraud a corporation can commit, but because this can provide solutions to issues, the SEC is confronted with based on fraudulent accounting practices.
A scandal and major concerns on how American Corporations are governed was the Enron and WorldCom scandal of a series of massive corporation frauds. As a result, the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 were developed. The act was established to improve transparency, and to create new standards for accounting firms, for management at senior level, for executives, and for board members of public companies. According to Corporate Secretary (2014) a condition this act present is that companies are required “to have robust internal control systems that can be built into their compliance processes to promote integrity and accuracy within their business operations (para. 2).
With the passing of the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act, Congress intent was to help reduce unethical behavior and to eliminate future corporation scandals. As a result of the creation of the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act the penalties for fraudulent financial activities are more severe (Corporate Secretary, 2014). The Sarbanes – Oxley Act has played an important role in the regulatory environment which will protect the public from fraud within corporations. Even when this act has played an important role it is clear the implementation of the act by legislation is not going to solve the problem of fraud. However; with the implementation of The Sarbanes – Oxley Act, of The Securities and Exchange Commission, The Securities Act of 1933, and The Securities Act of 1934 it has assisted with minimizing fraud as well as to create transparency when companies are following rules and regulations presented by the government.
Corporate Secretary. (2014). Ten events that have changed corporate governance. Retrieved from http://www.corporatesecretary.com/articles/regulation-and-legal/12277/ten-events-have-changes-corporate-governance/ University of Phoenix. (2014). Week 1 Study Guide: Introduction to Financial Reporting. Retrieved from University of Phoenix, ACC561 – Accounting website. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (2013). The Investor’s Advocate: How the SEC Protects Investors, Maintains Market Integrity, and Facilitates Capital Formation. Retrieved from http://www.sec.gov/about/whatwedo.shtml U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (2013). Codification of Staff Accounting Bulletins. Retrieved from http://www.sec.gov/interps/account/sabcodet1.htm