In preparing for challenges, it is critical for the individual working in the financial industry to have both a self-moral compass and an absolute one (Novak, 1996). There could be simple ethical issues and complex ones in the company. For instance, a person travelling might want to claim their personal travel expenses under company travel to save on taxes, and this is one of the simpler ethical issues where the clear demarcation between the right and wrong is visible. However, not all ethical issues in the company can be clearly demarcated as such. Some of the issues are that they are complex and the employee in the financial industry would need a lot more than just legal guidance to understand them.
Firstly, most companies after the scandals of Enron and others around the world have a very strict legal compliance framework to follow. The SOX was just one of many laws that were to ensure stricter disclosure laws, rules of working and financial controls. Following these rules will ensure that the employee is meeting the basic ethical controls in the workplace. In addition, companies have a standard code of ethics developed based on professions. In the case of the financial industry for instance, there are specific code of ethics set out for them, similarly Information Technology Professionals that work with the company have their own set of guidelines as well (CFA, 2016). Code of ethics in company are usually clearly laid out, however when an individual is in doubt, they should approach their higher up and speak about it to get clarification when possible. Professionals can seek answers from the different associations that specifically exist for this reason. For instance, in the case of the United States, much of the independent accountants would be a part of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants AICPA. They follow the code of ethics and professional conduct as set by the AICPA or CFA. The industry standards must be followed in addition to the other collaborations that the professional would be into. For instance, a member of the financial industry would also be working with say a health care industry or would be working with an information and technology industry. And hence, the standards of codes and ethics from these different associations should also be followed. There are minimum set of codes for people to follow and for complex issues there are guidance that they can seek in detail, too. People in the financial industry can get ostracized for not following these codes and should take care to ensure they follow them strictly.
Newer business situations are leading to much more complex ethical issues. Research on this subject shows that in the financial side of businesses, most businesses are under high pressure to show very good quarterly results. However, this is not possible and only by slight manipulation of numbers is a good result often shown. The financial people who work to show these manipulations should be aware that they are falsely representing data and must be able to speak up when they are expected to indulge in unethical actions. There are many ways to raise the issue with the higher heads of the employee and breaches can also be directly reported to the SEC in case of the United States and an equivalent in other countries. Special whistleblower programs exist to protect the person when they decide to speak up against the issues and professionals should not fear to do the right thing.