Guide offers SMEs practical anti-corruption tips
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has published a guide for SMEs on preventing corruption. A similar guide has not previously been available in Finnish. The purpose of the guide is to describe corruption and provide ways for SMEs to prevent it in their activities.
Corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain or the gain of the company. Corruption is often perceived as a form of bribery, in which a stack of bills exchanges hands for a certain benefit. However, corruption is a more complex phenomenon.
A typical feature of corruption cases in Finland is for the offender to obey the law, but still act unethically. This type of hidden activity involving inappropriate influence on decision-making is called structural corruption. Such influence is often not perceived to be wrong; instead, it is accepted as a custom of the land or the organisation.
“We want to break the stereotypes of corruption with this guide. Because of the stereotypical view, people in Finland tend not to recognise corruption, which makes fighting it difficult,” says Linda Piirto, Senior Adviser at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
“There are many good reasons to stop corruption. It improves the company’s administration, strengthens its reputation and reduces legal risks. What is more, the risks associated with corruption apply not only to large companies, but SMEs as well,” Piirto adds.
Necessary measures for companies in one place
For those short of time, the guide provides a single page compilation of key actions at one glance.
- Make a public commitment on behalf of your company to fight corruption. Commit not just yourself, but also the management, personnel and business partners.
- Assess the risks associated with corruption that are relevant to your company’s business.
- Create an ethics programme based on the risk assessment. The purpose of the programme is to prevent, detect and react to corruption. Publish the programme.
- Train the personnel to understand the practical meaning of the ethics programme in everyday work and in different situations.
- Create a confidential reporting channel through which unethical or illegal activities can be reported, without fear of punishment. Process the reports appropriately.
- Specify and describe the actions the company will take in case the ethics programme has been violated.
- Periodically evaluate and monitor whether the ethics programme needs to be updated, and if so, repeat the previous steps.
- Make use of outside expertise, if necessary.
Linda Piirto, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 028