which sell for under a thousand dollars, are not quite as sturdy as their more expensive models, they are a match for any similarly priced treadmill from other makers.
Unbeatable Pricing
Because Smooth buys all the parts used in their treadmills direct from the factory, they are able to claim oh their Internet website that Smooth treadmills cost 40% less that other models. While some have questioned this claim, there is no doubt that Smooth treadmills do sell for hundreds of dollars less than others with similar features.
There are Smooth treadmills available in almost any price range, including those which go for several thousand dollars. But even a mid-priced Smooth, at around $1500.00, will be built from the finest parts and loaded with more technological features than a $1500 treadmill from any other fitness equipment maker.
Smooth’s Remarkable Warranty
Smooth does not skimp on customer protection, and the motors on some Smooth treadmills are backed by lifetime warranties. The warranties require that you maintain your Smooth treadmill properly, by keeping its belt lubricated, and performing other minor maintenance tasks, but if you follow through and your treadmill’s motor fails, Smooth will provide you with a new replacement. Other components of Smooth treadmills are backed by different warranties.
Smooth even gives you a chance to try your Smooth treadmill on for size with their thirty-day money back guarantee.
You can learn more about what earned Smooth treadmills their reputations as terrifically priced top-of-the-line pieces of fitness equipment by reading the reviews of them posted on such websites as , where Smooth treadmills are regulars among the top-rated.
Drawbacks of Smooth Treadmills
The one thing that makes consumers unhappy with smooth treadmills is that the company charges for both shipping them and setting them up. The fees are nominal, however, and they relieve you of having to rely on a badly written set of instructions as you try to assemble your treadmill form scratch.
Smooth treadmills are available only online, so you won’t be able to try one on at the local fitness equipment store before you buy. But Smooth didn’t get its great reputation for selling shoddy treadmills, so don’t let that stop you for a minute!
Today, there are seemingly thousands of candidates applying to every position. Some of them are amazing people that will never get noticed due to their “less than impressive” resume. Some of them are amazingly terrible candidates (we have all been excited over a resume only to be floored by someone that could barely finish a thought!) that have professionally written resumes. So, how do you read between the lines and determine which resume has the best chance of getting you that amazing employee?
You need to determine specifically what you are looking for. Just reading your job description is not enough. If you have an overly talented sales staff, but are lacking operational efficiency, a glowing sales background should not be your top priority. The best approach is to examine the core strengths and weaknesses of your current team, and then determine what are the core values in a candidate that would best complement your team. Write down these “core values” (try to keep it to four or five), and review resumes looking for these values. Do NOT pay attention to the pizza stains or the great reputations of places they have worked, simply look for these values. For example, if you are looking for someone that is very Loss Prevention aware, ignore that pizza stain and look for a common thread in job histories that detail positive shrink results, or a passion for LP. Some people are so good at what they do, or even what you need them to do, that writing a resume is just not one of them.
You should have narrowed your candidate field to people that are all closely qualified to fill your position. If your stack is small enough, interview them all!! If not, this is where you want to take a closer look at the resumes to see who will “fit in” the best with your team. This is the best approach when filling a single position.
When trying to open a new store, or even hire to fill multiple positions, this approach doesn’t change too much. Again, you need to determine “core values” that you are looking for. I like to use the acronym “SMILE” to describe my core values.
S- Sales
M- Merchandising
I- Integrity
L- Leadership
E- Everything else…this is where I would allow for a “wow” factor.
…and of course if this person isn’t wearing a “smile” they probably won’t be happy at work either! When reviewing applications and resumes, I would be looking for these things first.
Just remember, there are LOTS of great candidates applying to almost every position out there. Getting through the “pile” of resumes doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Professionalism is very important when hiring, that is why we interview. One of the best employees I have ever hired pulled his resume and application out of his pocket both folded all the way down to about one inch square. I found this to be very unprofessional. He did, however, exhibit the core values I was looking for to fill my operations manager position. I hired him, and he was not only extremely professional, but exactly what my store needed. In retrospect, the precise folds in his application and resume, should have been a sign to how detail oriented he was.
Sorry, I am not quite sure what the pizza stain is a positive sign for!! ;-)}|{Business security professionals make it a point to study their craft and learn ways to counter evolving threat. Business intelligence methods need to continue to keep up with technology to analyze and prevent the internal and external influences that can ruin the enterprise. The threats corporations face include: theft, vandalism, workplace violence, fraud, and computer attacks. Through a system of identification, analysis, risk assessment operation security and prevention, astute managers can mitigate risks. ™
Theft affects all. On average the median loss of theft of cash and non-cash assets is $223,000 (ACFE). The costs of theft are passed on to consumers to bear the cost of the loss. A simple way for companies in retail to get back from a bottom line loss is to pass the costs on by increasing the top line. Raising prices is a symptom of theft, but not a cure. It does nothing by itself to stop the activity other than punish the innocent.
Many companies have invested in security staff. This staff focuses efforts to identify and prevent theft. Many businesses have created “loss prevention” jobs. The whole career is oriented on identifying risky behavior, observing others, investigating theft, and finding methods of reducing risk. In retail, they may be secret shoppers; in transportation they may be monitoring cameras and patrolling as guards, or dressed in business suits advising in board rooms.
Information technology (IT) and lessons from business intelligence (BI) can be applied to detecting and preventing theft. For the internal threat, access can be controlled by badge or biometrics. Capabilities of these can limit access by employee, time of day, and certain days of the week. For example, employees that work in the warehouse can access their warehouse doors, but cannot gain entry to the supply department. Those who have janitorial privileges with their access cards can only do so during work hours and not when the business is closed.
Other IT help includes closed circuit television (CCTV). This is a great deterrent and detection device for both the internal and external threat. Current technologies allow the use of tilt/pan/zoom cameras that can record digital data for months. This data can be reviewed to see the habits and patterns of suspect customers and employees. All of this leaves a data trail that can be put into a data warehouse. Besides employee protection and assistance roles, this data can be mined to see patterns and recognize traits of potential perpetrators. For example, a supply bin in a warehouse may suffer shortage at each inventory. The installation of a CCTV device would provide digital feedback of whether or not supplies are being stolen and who is doing the stealing.
Sabotage and vandalism is a constant threat and can be categorized with workplace violence, criminal trespass activities, and industrial espionage or in conjunction with a theft. Though it is a rare, its costs are heavy and depending where in the supply chain the product is, the expense may fall on the company or the customer. Here supply chain is a generic term, but is used to identify an IT tool that provides and automated tracking of inventory and information along business practices. These practices can include campuses, apartments, retail, transportation, factories and other industries.
Security solutions to detect and prevent include monitoring the workplace and removing the internal threat, building security in depth to prevent the external threat, training employees on operation security, and employing loss prevention techniques. Other effective measures against vandalism and sabotage include volunteer forces, employee incentive programs and other organizations such as neighborhood watch programs. Industry, churches, community activity centers and schools have learned the value of relying on volunteers. Volunteers serve as force multiplies that report criminal activities like vandalism to the proper authorities.
Employee workplace violence makes huge headlines for a very good reason. It is shocking behavior with the most serious events resulting in multiple deaths. These incidents lead to law suits, low morale, a bad reputation for the company and leaves families and victims devastated. In 2003, workplace violence led to 631 deaths, the third leading cause of job related injury deaths (BLS).
This is acts of abuse physical or verbal that is taken out on employees, customers or other individuals at a place of business. For the purpose of this paper, the workplace is identified as a corporate building, warehouse, gas station, restaurant, school, taxi cab or other place where people engage in business.
Not all violence in the workplace end in death. They range from simple assault to much worse. What ever the level of crime, innocent people are attacked at the work place. In the corporate world this may be shocking. In other industries like law enforcement, retail sales and health care systems it is much different. These three have the most incidents. The US department of Justice conducted a study on workplace violence from 1993 to 1999. In this study they found that 1.7 million workers fell victim to many types of non-fatal crime. These crimes include, rape, assault, robbery, and sexual assault. These studies don’t always mean employee on employee violence, but include outsider on employee violence and vice versa (DETIS).
Concerning homicides at the workplace, it is very expensive. For the risk of sounding cold, the average mean cost of a work related homicide from 1992 to 2001 was a round $800,000. The total cost of homicides during those years was almost $6.5 billion (ASIS). These cold hard facts derived from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) are what industry must deal with in creating their risk management plan. It is a tough but necessary evil that must be calculated.
When dealing with these facts and creating a mitigation plan, industry has to make choices to protect the workplace. The company has two obligations. The first includes the legal responsibility of the employer to protect and safeguard against preventable harm. This includes all those who work in or visit the workplace. The second responsibility is to handle incidents and investigations, discipline and other processes appropriately (ASIS). It is as important to respect the rights of all persons involved throughout the prevention and investigation processes.
All departments in the enterprise are involved in the prevention and detection. All can contribute to the design, construction, and use of the data warehouse necessary for executing this type of prevention and detection. Each part could maintain a data mart with senior managers mining from the entire warehouse. In this scenario, all team members would build the data base with discriminating features. Alone, these features would probably not mean much, but any behaviors or habits when combined, may identify an abuser.
The more serious discriminators would be identified and “non-hire” criteria. For example, one discriminator that would prevent a person from getting a job would be a history of violence. This would be identified in during the employee pre-employment screening phase. Another would be specific questions about performance during the interview that might indicate propensity for violence or not being able to work well with others.
By building these rules, all sources could contribute to the database to identify high risk people throughout the employment. Rules could be input that when breached, could help management make a determination of who might be a threat to harmony in the workplace. For example, HR can input results of pre-employment background checks, job interview records and disciplinary actions within the company. Managers could provide information from performance reviews about questionable comments. Employees could make anonymous tips about other employees concerning their behavior.
Employees’ may not be the threat. Nature of customers, friends and family members could provide risk to the work place. These criteria could be identified as well. Employees who have abusive partners or spouses and employees who perform in risky environments such as retail must be considered in the risk analysis and data warehouse input.
Some additional mitigating factors for employee workplace violence include traditional security methods. Additional lighting in darker areas, an armed guard, security cameras and panic alarms do wonders to give employees a peace of mind as well as help prevent violent behavior. Knowing security is in place deters the criminal element. These security measures could be linked in a network to provide feedback and evidence for use in analyzing and determining actions to prevent this behavior.
Occupational fraud describes the use of “one’s occupation for personal enrichment through the deliberate misuse of resources or assets” (ACFE). Whether an employee feels entitled to his fair share, is disgruntled or other reasons, this crime is costly. The median cost to business for this scheme is $159,000. Some reported fraud cases have cost upward of $1 billion (ACFE). Fraud accounts for approximately five percent of losses of their annual revenues or $652 billion in fraud losses.
This crime can be broken down into three categories: Asset misappropriation, corruption, and fraudulent statement. Examples of asset misappropriation include fraudulent invoicing, payroll fraud, and skimming revenue. Corruption can involve bribery and conduction business laced with undisclosed conflict of interest. Fraudulent statement covers booking fictitious sales and recording expenses in the wrong period (ACFE).
Fraud losses affect small business the greatest. For example, compared to the median loss of all businesses, small businesses suffer median losses of $190,000. Losses like these can devastate an unwitting company and fraud can continue for 18 months before being detected (ACFE). Whenever possible, business should focus on reducing both the mean cost of a fraud incident as well as the time it takes to reduce the fraud discovery timeline.
Out of all industries, fraud causes the highest median losses per scheme in whole sale trade, construction and manufacturing. Government and retail has the lowest losses per scheme (ACFE). These industries have a huge impact on costs of finished product. Wholesale trade, construction and manufacturing all wrap up the costs in the final product. Of course the costs aren’t recovered immediately. In construction and some manufacturing, the jobs are bid on and regardless of losses; the project must be completed at or below cost of bid. However, later bids may be higher as a result to gain back costs.
Believe it or not, the position of who commit fraud is directly related to the cost of the fraud. For example, the losses caused by owners or executives in a business are 13% higher than the losses caused by employees (ACFE). Managers may not be sticking product in their pockets and sneaking out the door. People in higher positions can be found falsifying travel reports, creating false accounts, diverting payment and other crimes. Some of this is evident as we continue to prosecute chief officers involved in huge schemes.
Fraud is difficult to detect and many schemes can continue for long periods of time before they are detected. Detection can be accidental, the result of a tip, an audit (internal, external or surprise), hotline or as referred to by law enforcement. Focus and discipline could be perceived as the best means to detect fraud. Paying attention to patterns, verifying paperwork and checking records is time consuming, but must be performed.
The most successful but less used method to detect fraud involves the input of employees. Training employees on fraud and awareness cuts down on the time span of a fraud as well as the overall cost. Training increases morale in many ways and creates a team like atmosphere. Business can gain from the proper training. Employees are a great resource in fraud prevention. There has been great success with using hotlines and anonymous reporting to detect and deter fraud (ACFE).
Information technology (IT) and lessons from business intelligence (BI) can be applied to detecting and preventing fraud. We have already mentioned that employee and hotline tips are most effective but business doesn’t take advantage of this. Computer links could be set up on corporate sites to allow employees to report fraud. Some methods could include survey, direct question and answer, or just a space for reporting.


The audit, hotlines and tips are effective after or during the commission of the lengthy fraud period. These are all reactionary events. What about being proactive? Many companies have the capability to automate almost everything. Time sheets, accounting, billing, production and supply chain records are often on a server. Most require supervisor approval or at the very least have the capability of real time monitoring. This information can be integrated into a company version of a data warehouse and be manipulated according to the input rules. Specific habits of employees can be pulled to look for and address financial inconsistencies.
As mentioned earlier, businesses have employed access control measures such as card scanners, code readers and biometrics. They leave a trail of employee activity and regardless of position all are required to enter information to gain entry. Computer keyboard activity can be limited by password protection and all media should go through the security department before introduction or removal. All of this leaves a data trail that can be put into a data warehouse. Besides employee protection and assistance roles, this data can be mined to see patterns and recognize traits of potential perpetrators.
Finally, computer attacks are a huge risk to all businesses. The threat of hackers, malicious viruses, and those who hijack websites and hold financial transactions for ransom are just a few serious events of which the security manager must the aware. Data can be destroyed, reputations can be ruined, and lives can be stolen. These attacks can cripple an enterprise and could take months or years to recover. Businesses need to have IT tools to detect and combat this type of threat as soon as possible. Identity protection and other computer related incidents requires the same type of protection afforded to an employee as in the section about employee workplace violence.
Worms and viruses are quickly destroying years of input. These threats appear innocently enough in the beginning and when the right time comes, they activate. They recreate themselves, and spread through out networks and stand alone systems. Hackers continually knock at the internet portal trying to learn passwords and the inner most secrets of protect to exploit for espionage, theft or horrible fun. Hijackers enter a system and threaten to cripple financial transactions until payment is made; extortion in high-tech form.
Unprotected systems perpetuate all the above threats. Businesses that get involved either innocently as naive contributors or as the hapless victims suffer greatly financially and productively. There is another cost that could take longer to recover from. This is the of their valuable reputations with their customers. A technically illiterate or unprotected business has no excuse when dealing with customers or partners. Embarrassing things happen when a virus or cyber trail leads to a witless company. Industry cannot take the risk.
There are many existing security methods available to help companies take the offense against such attack. As the in the above examples, this effort takes the coordination, input and involvement of all business units and departments in the organization. This cannot be given to the security department alone to handle, however such actions should be accountable to one department.
There are new positions created called Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO). The hot new topic for these positions is convergence. Convergence is the alignment of physical and information security under the same department. According to CSO Magazine, this should be run by one point of contact being the CSO. This can align physical security, information security, compliance and privacy under one function. This enables the security executive to address Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and Sarbanes-Oxley with focus and intent (CSO Online).
Other aggressive measures that can be taken are password protection, rules on internet use, firewalls and internet access blocking. These can be regulated with the convergence concept. Software already exists to help generate and protect passwords on network and stand alone systems. These help ensure not only that authorized users are accessing the systems, but they also provide a basis for auditing systems. This is vital to protect a company from the threat of social engineering. Information technology can track who used which system to access which information. The user leaves an automatic automated electronic trail.
Companies need a firewall to protect information from both leaving and entering the enterprise system. These firewalls help prevent hacking, high jacking and malicious viruses. The firewall needs to be updated regularly with updates. Most importantly, the CSO or CIO should be checking and running analysis identifying the threat. This analysis of threat and defenses can be conducted the same way as military strategy.
This identification should track where the threat is coming from, how often the defenses are probed, what the threat using to probe the defenses is, and what times of day are the threats the strongest. For operations security, the chief should look at what makes their business so tempting to the threat.
When a chief information or security officer analyses his own operation, they should be trying to identify strengths and weaknesses that the adversary is trying to exploit. When is the IT asset most vulnerable? Are our passwords easy to break? How much intrusion would it take to stop our operations? Are just a few questions that must be analyzed along with external threat analysis.
Internet discipline is also vital. An enemy doesn’t have to break down your defenses to wreak havoc. Just like old vampire lore, all you have to do is invite them in. When employees visit unauthorized websites, download unauthorized software, transfer data from a home computer or forward corrupted email, they can cause just as much harm. Blocking websites, allowing only IT personnel to upload software, and screening all mobile media or preventing all media such as CDs and other portable storage devices is crucial to protecting the enterprise.
As mentioned in other paragraphs, protecting your company with security in depth will solve many problems. This security in depth includes previously mentioned biometric or card reader access devices, alarms and CCTV cameras. These are available IT devices that are popular and effective at monitoring employee movement and activity. The chief can also store vital risk assessment detail in a data warehouse to better analyze events and proactively mitigate risks before damage occurs.
As mentioned throughout this paper, somebody needs to take charge of organizing a multiple business unit task force to protect the company. Traditional methods of segmenting units and having them work in a vacuum do not produce effective results. When the IT department handles all internet activity, human resources execute the laying off offenders, finance department handle all payroll discrepancies and accounting performs all audits, the result is a broken chain of incomplete activity.
The willing participation and information sharing is better handled in the form of a committee. Each respective department can do their day to day activities, but results can be presented to the entire group to help detect and determine any one of the threats addressed in this paper.
We began with the news reports of businesses needing to protect their personnel and the assets. We showed examples from the headlines of people coming to places of business to conduct senseless acts of terrorism and violence and the need for having a corporate culture or environment to address the different types of threats. This culture involves quickly evolving the role of security to become the protector of personnel, facilities and product. This evolution will enable them to use IT as a tool to help detect and deter risks to the enterprise.
Having said that, we can conclude that security professionals need to continue to make it a point to study their craft and learn ways to counter evolving threat. Business intelligence methods need to continue to keep up with technology to analyze and prevent the internal and external influences that can ruin the enterprise. The threats corporations face include: theft, vandalism, workplace violence, fraud, and computer attacks. We have reviewed the roles of security to converge traditional physical protection with the capabilities of IT systems. The IT can provide a great tool to enterprise as a system of identification, analysis, risk assessment operation security and prevention, astute managers can mitigate risks.
Works Cited:
ACFE. 2006 ACFE Report To The Nation On Occupational Fraud & Abuse, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Austin, TX, 2006
American Society of Industrial Security, Workplace Violence Prevention and Response, ASIS International, 2005
Detis. Violence in the workplace, 1993-1999. NCJ 190076. December 2001
Berinato, Scott; Carr, Kathleen; Datz, Todd; Kaplan, Simone and Scalet, Sarah. CSO Fundamentals: ABCs of Physical and IT Security Convergence. CSO Magazine. []
Cummings, Maeve; Haag, Stephen; Phillips, Amy, Management Information Systems for the Information Age. McGraw-Hill. New York, NY 2007
China continues to be a seemingly never-ending source of products and/or materials resulting in the need for recalls by manufacturers and retailers worldwide. Operational and communications response to the need for a recall can dramatically affect an organization’s reputation, for better or worse. Here are some experience-based tips for effective product recalls:
1. Remember that rapid response to a known product problem minimizes damage. The time to examine the systems you have in place for recall is now, not when you already have a product needing recall.
2. Have a product recall plan ready to use anytime, one that covers the operational, legal and public relations (internal and external) components of making a recall. Hint: “We’ll wing it” is not a product recall plan.
3. Have the core members of a product recall team identified and trained in advance. It may be necessary to have one team at a corporate level to direct recall activities overall, and individual teams more focused on the operational aspects of product recall at the sales/marketing and/or manufacturing levels. And you’d be amazed at how some people you think will be cool in a crisis actually aren’t, and vice versa – behavior that often is identified through training that includes simulating a recall.
4. Have back-ups for critical people and recall systems. Assume that some recall-related lead personnel will not be available when you need them. Assume that the computer system where you maintain your stakeholder contact lists has crashed. Assume other similar worst-case scenarios and make your back-up plans accordingly.
5. Have contact lists for all stakeholders set up on automated notification systems. This is particularly important for end-users and distributors of your products. You can’t rely on the media alone to reach them.
6. Consider the use of virtual incident management. There are a number of Internet-centered systems that allow recall team members to exchange real-time information, access current communications documents, and keep team leaders updated even if the team is geographically scattered.
7. Make recall-related decisions that are based on protecting your brand/reputation and not just on your legal risks. The infamous Bridgestone-Firestone recall started far too late because the company’s leadership was considering risks other than the most important one — the risk of aggravating the court of public opinion.
8. Communicate internally and externally. Remember that every employee and, often, dedicated contractors are public relations representatives and crisis managers for your organization, whether you want them to be or not. You must empower them with reassuring messages about the recall suitable for use at their respective levels of the company, and you don’t want them to learn of the recall from external sources before they hear about it from you.
9. Don’t wait for the CPSC, FDA, USDA or other regulatory agencies to protect your reputation. While each regulatory agency that can get involved in product recalls has its own process to follow, that process can often delay how much time passes before product consumers and distributors are notified — a delay which, in worst-case scenarios, can cause injuries or deaths. In that event, the court of public opinion may react very negatively to both your organization and the regulator — but you’re the one whose revenue and reputation will be most impacted.
10. Focus special communications on highly disgruntled customers and distributors. In this Age of the Internet, and in a litigious society, a few angry people can make waves completely disproportionate to their numbers or even to the injury suffered (if any). The recall process should include an “Escalated Cases” team to focus on such complaints when they’re received.
CEOs need to remember that the public expects them to do what’s right, not just what’s required. There are a lot of companies whose leadership learned that the hard way – don’t let it happen to you.}|{Online Reputation management is conducted to safeguard a person’s, brand’s and company’s reputation on the internet. Since every individual has gained access to the Internet and is using it optimally to gain information about a person, product or services, the need of keeping your content clean and safe online has become very important. You must ensure that whoever reads about you or your company online, gets to read the good stuff. Managing your reputation online is an enormously important aspect in the business world. ™
Get it right, right from the beginning
Many online presence owners believe that they need not bother about their online reputation management services unless something negative comes online in their name. Unfortunately, it is a mistake. One needs to be on check all the time to keep it clean and positive on the Internet. Smart website owners have realized this fact and are taking the entire deal of online reputation management services, very seriously.
Types of online reputation management services
Normally, there are two kinds known – Proactive and Reactive. Proactive is the campaign that is run to maintain a good reputation of the company. It is mostly taken by the new budding online companies or the ones that are extremely serious about their online reputation. On the other hand, reactive services are exclusively designed for websites or brand, where the damage has already been done. A reactive campaign is employed when a company needs an online clean up.
Prevention is better than cure
Since childhood, we have been learning that it is better to keep one safe and protected than running later, for cure and treatment. Hence, in this case also, it is advised to maintain your reputation, right from the beginning rather than leaving it at the mercy of your competitors, who anytime may rapture it, bringing down your rate of customers. Online reputation management services must start as soon as a business establishes its presence online. It offers a chance to fabricate a good reputation from the get-go and uphold that fine reputation through the years.
Proactive reputation managing services should be seen as an image building campaign. It is primarily focused at search engine optimization link building practices. It is the process where content that is present in the form of press releases, articles, blog posts and comments, and social networking not only help you with link building services but also strengthens your brand awareness. It leaves no stone unturned in establishing your reputation online as a genuine company that understands its business and responsibilities towards its clients. Good management of reputation on web build up the level of trust amongst your target audience.
Online reputation management services keep your website in protected hands
One should start working on his or her website’s reputation building right from the beginning. The strong presence of valid content on the internet will prevent any negative feedback from making its way to the search engine result pages. Plus, it would become extremely difficult for your competitors’ to even give a slight jerk to your reputation on web.
As you and your children research, investigate and visit colleges that may be of interest, you will find that each college has a different look, feel and appeal. Some you will like. Others you won’t. That’s all part of the process for narrowing the field.
To help ensure that you and your children make clearly focused decisions, you can use the information that follows to rank your choices. Some of you may want to use a five point scale to rate each college on items 4 – 11. In that way, parents and students can more easily compare colleges on individual items and total scores. You can even add items, if that would be helpful. However, the first three items on this list should be fully discussed and agreed upon long before you begin to look at colleges.
1. Evaluate Your Financial Position – How many children do you have? How much money can you afford for each child’s college education? Is the student able and willing to obtain a part-time job? What is the likelihood that your student will receive a significant amount of grant and merit scholarship money? Is the student willing to take on one or more student loans? As parents, are you willing to take on one or more loans to help pay for college?
2. Consider Cost Reduction Alternatives – Since money is a concern for most parents, students should consider community colleges and lower cost four year colleges. However, be sure to check out the ratings and reputations of those colleges. It pays to attend a college that has a good reputation. Then, if you obtain good grades, you may be able to transfer to a higher ranked, four year college. Don’t ignore the savings that can be gained by attending a local college and living at home. Does the student need a car? Should the student attend college on a part-time, pay as you go basis? Explore the alternatives to determine which one is best for you.
3. Rate Your Student’s High School Performance – Be honest. What is the quality of the high school your child has attended? The best colleges will take this into consideration. Carefully evaluate your student’s high school performance, including the following: academic achievement, leadership roles, participation and performance in school activities, community involvement and service, part-time work, critical life experiences, obstacles that were overcome and outstanding achievements. In what areas has your student been recognized by others for having achieved excellence? What is the likelihood that your student will excel in college?
4. Financial Aid – First, you should be interested in Grants and Scholarships, not loans. How
much money is each college willing to offer your child? Is there enough difference between the offers to influence the student’s college choice? Qualified students should begin to investigate local and national scholarships and grant money early in their junior year of high school. After all possible grants and scholarships have been investigated, look at other options including work-study programs, part-time jobs and loans. Since student loans come in all shapes and sizes, both students and parents should carefully consider each loan option. Obviously, some loans are more repayment friendly than others. Make certain that you fully understand all loan requirements before you commit. Also understand that you may be repaying those college loans for more than twenty years.

5. College Ratings – Most colleges have an international, national, state or local reputation. What are the reputations of the colleges to which your student will be applying? Are any of the colleges known for the field that your student plans to enter? Colleges with a the best reputations can be helpful when it’s time to look for a job.
6. Career Services – Does the Career Services office have enough employees to provide personal assistance, classes and training for every student, or do they merely provide information on their web site? Do they provide students with assistance in every aspect of the job search: A Goal, A Plan, Assessment Instruments, Research, Networking, The Resume, Interviewing, References and more? Can they help students with internships, part-time and summer jobs? Can they steer students to alumni who are already working in their field of interest?
7. Job Placement Statistics – Colleges are very clever with the statistics they present. Many colleges state that 95% or more of their students are employed within six months of graduation. However, those numbers don’t tell you how many students are working in their field of interest and if they are earning a living wage. Are graduates forced to live at home because they can’t afford to live independently and still pay off their college loans? Before selecting a college, students should find out how many employers, in their field of interest, actually come to that campus to recruit students. How many students, in that field, received job offers as the result of campus interviews? What were the titles of the jobs they were offered? How much did they pay? Where were they located? Parents and students have a vested interest in these answers.
8. Campus Safety & Security – Every college has safety and security issues. What are the statistics for the past four years? Ask about Murders, Rapes, Assaults, Stalking, Thefts and Intruders. What prevention measures are in place? With regard to major security events, what is the college’s track record and ability to immediately communicate with students about lock downs? How does the college handle Contagious Health Issues – Meningitis, etc.? Are you satisfied with the way each college has handled such problems? Be sure to ask about and investigate dorm security. Talk with current students about these issues.
9. Counseling Services – What counseling services are offered? Which of the counseling services is your student most likely to need? Students often seek counseling for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drugs, drinking, academic performance and career issues. How comprehensive are these services? How frequently has each service been used by students in past years? What are the success rates?
10. Parent Association – Which colleges have a Parent Association? If they have one, you will be able to talk with other parents about any issues that concern you. Make a judgment whether each college is parent and family friendly. You will find that some are interested in parent opinions, suggestions and involvement, while others are not. Some colleges only want your tuition payments and annual donations.
11. Campus Activities – When students have a special interest, make certain that the colleges under consideration provide the student with an opportunity to participate. Other students may prefer colleges with a broad array of activities, so they can explore their options and test their skills.
As you get down to the four or five colleges that hold the most interest, are appropriate for the student’s qualifications and meet your personal financial requirements, the application process can begin. Many students apply a strategy to help ensure acceptance at colleges that fit their needs and wants. They apply to one or two colleges they consider to be a stretch, two or three in which they are confident of acceptance and one or two that they consider to be a slam dunk. This is an excellent strategy to consider, since the competition at high quality, lower cost colleges will always be stiff. Keep in mind that some colleges accept as few as 20% of their applicants.
When parents perform well during this process, they will have helped their children to gather and evaluate important college information, explore the alternatives, focus on the things that will enable students to find success and teach their children how to make sound and informed decisions. However, once the choices are reduced to the two or three most suitable colleges, the final selection should be left to the student.
Visit Bob’s web site: . Bob Roth is the author of The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College -and- The College Student’s Guide To Landing A Great Job.}|{In the last few years, many accounting frauds have shaken investors’ confidence in the reliability of financial reports. The large number of instances of financial reporting frauds and failure of certified auditors to discover the frauds are shocking and disheartening. The solution to this menace definitely lies in fraud prevention, which this book, christened “Fraud Prevention Guide” is all about. ™
It is written by Waheed Aremu, who has more than 10-year experience in anti-fraud activities, much of which was acquired from statutory audit functions and the banking sub-sector. Aremu holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State and Master of Business Administration from University of Ilorin, Kwara State. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); an Associate of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), USA and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
This author says fraud is a menace to modern-day business activities and economic prosperity. He educates that many large corporations have witnessed financial scandals due to the unethical conduct of top-level officers in the organisations. Aremu stresses that fraud also has systemic effects on global economy, assuring that this book has therefore been written to offer fraud prevention strategies. He says no one is born to be fraudulent; rather people slip gradually into fraud often unknowingly because of their ignorance of what fraud entails.
This text has nine chapters as far as structure is concerned. Chapter one is tagged “Introduction to fraud”. In the words of this author here, “Fraud is a growing phenomenon in every society today, and the threat of fraud is a reality that faces every nation. Yet it appears adequate attention is not given to this threat. The challenges are compounded by the fact that frauds are perpetrated in secrecy and many frauds may remain undiscovered and indeed may never be discovered, although some schools of though believe no fraud can remain hidden in the long run.”
Aremu stresses that reports of frauds and the manner of their perpetration catch people unawares. He says fraudsters are ordinary people who merely exploit loopholes within the system. This author adds that it is also interesting to note that experiences about frauds indicate that perpetrators cut across various shades of human endeavour. Aremu asserts that this situation brings to the fore, the need for organisations to proactively manage fraud risks, create a roadmap for effective implementation of anti-fraud programmes and establish remediation policy to minimise the impact. This professional accountant illuminates that fraud slowly erodes jobs and investments and has negative impact on corporate reputation or brand image.
He educates that there is no universally accepted definition of fraud, adding that, however, fraud is not an abstract concept because it is an idea that exists in real life in such a way that we can identify it when it is exposed.
Chapter two is based on the subject matter of overcoming the challenges of fraud. Here, Aremu explains that the challenges of fraud are by no means small in any human setting. He says in modern-day organisations, challenges of fraud manifest in various forms and these challenges must be appreciated to be able to overcome them. “An organisation faces the challenges of fraud from fellow corporate organisations which in some cases the law enforcement and regulatory agencies may be unable to control,” submits this author. He discloses that corporate frauds are also perpetrated by dishonest employees who defy all anti-fraud control measures to commit their financial crimes.
According to him, “Laws and regulations provide checks on frauds and other crimes because they contain sanctions to check the excesses of the society. Similarly, organisational policies and procedures have penalties and rewards. The experience in some cases is that opportunities are created for fraudsters because they obey the letter and not the spirit of the law or policy as the case may be….”
In chapters three to five, Aremu examines the concepts of understanding fraud prevention; effective fraud prevention framework and corporate governance.
Chapter six is entitled “Role of key stakeholders”. This author asserts here that the task of ensuring the success of corporate governance is collective and every stakeholder has a role to play in achieving this. Aremu suggests that the board has the ultimate responsibility for implementing it within the organisation. He says, “The external auditor has responsibility not to be a party to a financial statement that does not reflect a true and fair view of the underlying accounting records….”
In chapters seven to nine, this author analytically X-rays the concepts of ethics; compliance; and ethical and compliance programme.
Employment of animal symbolism to illustrate fraud risk quadrant and categories constitutes part of the stylistic creativity of this book. A quadrant of low impact and low frequency is identified as rabbits. Second quadrant of high impact and low likelihood is represented by bears. Third quadrant of low impact but high likelihood is dogs, while high impact and high likelihood is represented by snakes.
The title of the text is short yet assertive. Aremu makes abundant use of graphics to visually expand the scope of readers’ understanding. The cover design is graphically simple yet communicative non-verbally. The language is simple while the ideas are clearly presented.
One error is noticed on the outer back cover thus: “… has more than a decade experience on anti-fraud and control activities many of which was acquired…” instead of “… has more than a decade of experience in anti-fraud and control activities, much of which was acquired…” This and other minor ones need to be corrected in the next edition.
This text is a masterpiece conceptually. It is a compendium of effective solutions to the multiplicity of frauds pervading our society today, especially the corporate world. This book is highly recommended to auditors, corporate organisations and managers of national economies. It is fantastic.
Faith-Based organizations have a long history of funding and providing services to individuals and communities throughout the country. The work of various faith communities have evolved into the current Faith-Based Initiative, Crime Prevention efforts. Faith-Based Initiative, Crime Prevention effort is defined as the collaboration of faith-communities working in a more comprehensive partnership to prevent and reduced crime, ensure public safety, improve employment and educational opportunities, and to strengthen families and communities through the assistance of federal funding opportunities. The Faith-Based Initiative, Crime Prevention approach seeks to avert crime and criminality through the process of providing resources, services, and opportunities that can reduce the rate of crime and recidivism among offenders and ex-offenders by leveraging partnerships among various congregations, denominations, criminal and social justice systems. Hence, the Faith-Based Initiative, Crime Prevention is designed to ensure public safety through crime prevention. According to the literature, many of the newly created faith-based programs are focused on providing services largely within minority or ethnic communities where the crime rate is consistently high.
Crime happens in all communities in varying degrees despite the socioeconomic, educational level, and or racial/ethnic make-up of a specific neighborhood or community. However, much of the literature suggests that there is a strong correlation between crime and race. Moreover, African American communities experience disproportionate levels of crime and criminality in comparison to other racial/ethnic groups. For example, at year end 2006, African American males represented 38 percent of all sentenced inmates in the United States, which was the largest percentage of all sentenced inmates in 2006. Many of the Faith-based programs are located in communities with high rates of minority residence. This entry presents on the White House Faith-Based Initiative, Crime Prevention through a discussion of how the initiative provides federal grants and funding opportunities designed to build partnerships between faith-based organizations and communities.
White House OFBCI
President George W. Bush created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (White House OFBCI) by Executive Order on January 29, 2001. The President’s Faith-Based Initiative aid faith-based organizations and community-based programs to continue to do the work that they have done on a daily bases within the community with the potential assistance of Federal grant opportunities. The President’s Faith-Based Initiative helps faith-based and community programs to expand services and generate new opportunities for citizens in need of resources and services through a preventive approach. The Faith-Based Initiative is designed to reduce historical barriers that many faith-based and other community organizations traditionally face through the required process of competing for Federal dollars that are earmarked toward prevention programs and services. Basically, the Initiative allows Faith-based and other community organizations to apply for competitive Federal funding opportunities.
Access to Federal Grants
From a crime prevention perspective, the Faith-Base Initiative provides Federal grant opportunities that open doors to preventive programs, resources, and services that pro-actively prevent delinquency and criminality, substance abuse, provides help to families in need, improves the quality of life within communities throughout the country, and to combat poverty in a meaningful way. Through the Faith-Based Initiative, community and faith-based programs have access to Federal funding opportunities that allow faith-based programs to provide more opportunities and a broader capacity to provide resources and services that are preventive. Research indicates that crime prevention centers primarily on mitigating any risk that could lead a person into a period of delinquency or criminality. On-the-other-hand crime preventing agencies and organizations provide resources, services, and tools to prevent the onset and or persistence of risk factors that lead to criminal behaviors.
Funding Streams
The Faith-based Initiative, crime prevention philosophy is administrated and facilitated through 11 Federal or government sponsored organizations. Those agencies are: Agency for International Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Dept of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Small Business Administration, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. These programs provide funding opportunities where Faith-based and other community programs can respond to Federal requests for proposals.
Strengthen Social Bonds
Research asserts that faith-based community programs can promote public safety and reduce criminal behavior. Through the process of building strategic partnerships within the community, Faith-based communities can strengthen social bonds within families and neighborhoods that are empirically argued to prevent delinquency or crime. Social Bonding Theory posits that constructs such as attachment, commitment, involvement, and a strong belief system can prevent crime and criminal behaviors. These principles are often ingrained within Faith-based community programs and organizations. Faith-based community programs have provided preventive services for centuries, but for the first-time many of these organizations can now competitively compete for Federal grants to support local and national crime prevention efforts.
Preventive Programs
The Faith-Based Initiative allows community-based programs to create or enhance programs that provide preventive resources and services. Numerous programs are identified as model prevention programs, such as block watches, resident associations, curfew programs, gang prevention efforts, national night-out rallies, mentoring programs, awareness campaigns, school-based programs, or crime prevention through environment design (CPTED) concepts. From example, the Baton Rouge Walk-By-Faith Collaborative program offered mentoring services for youth in Baton Rouge, Louisiana that matches youth with faith-communities in East Baton Rouge. Through the Walk-by-Faith Collaborative, eight African American Baptist churches have partnered to provide activities for youth that are designed to prevent delinquency. Another example, of preventive efforts can be seen in the Southwest Youth and Family Network of Philadelphia, PA, which is operated by the African American Interdenominational Ministries of Philadelphia, which provides programs and services for youth and the community to prevent and reduce crime and criminality. The Ready4Work program through various faith-based partnerships provide ex-offenders with a broad array of services to reduce recidivism and to change the lives of those involved in the criminal justice system. In addition, simple efforts such as increased awareness about locking doors and windows and or just being more observant helps to prevent delinquency, crime, and recidivism. As such, the Faith-Based Initiative allows community-based programs to be awarded Federal funding to provide resources and services in areas that are traditionally underserved or neglected.
Through Faith-community programs and services, youth and adults take part in programs and services that are designed to prevent delinquency or criminality. Faith-based programs offer preventive services, interventions, mentorship, and guidance, and a pathway to opportunities for social stability and bonding that leads away from delinquency or potential criminality. Through Federal funds, the faith-community can leverage resources that help to increase the chances of children, youth, and families becoming healthier and more socially productive.
Beacons of Hope
The Faith-community conventionally lacks a broad base of financial resources to provide holistic services beyond their own members and local communities. Now, through the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, many faith-based and community programs or organizations are able to fairly apply for Federal grants in order to provide resources and services within and beyond their community boundaries. As trusted organizations within the community, Faith-based organizations throughout the country serve as beacons of hope for crime prevention. Faith-based organizations have solid reputations within their respective communities, while many others have a national reputation for providing quality preventive services. However, empirical or evidence-based research is limited concerning the overall effectiveness of Faith-based programs as being more preventive in comparison to secular programs that provide similar resources or services. Nevertheless, Faith-based and community programs are well suited to provide preventive services as mandated by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.}|{One of the most dangerous ways of having identity theft is through your social security information. ™
Your social security number can give someone all the information they need about you. If you are one of those people who keep their social security card in the wallet or purse, you are playing a very dangerous game.
Are you one of those people who shred every document with your social security number on it?
Not many people do. Most just throw their documents in the garbage without a thought to as what information is printed on them.
For those who are not aware of what happens to your garbage once it leaves your hands, then you may be among the masses that have had identity theft by social security number. This allows others to take advantage of your many credit cards and bank accounts as well.
Those who take social security numbers and work them into new bank accounts with your name on it because they have all the information that is needed. It may seem like a lot of work, but its an easy pay day to these people.
All it takes is someone to confirm your social security number and they have access to all your money and they will use it and destroy your good name. You will find that they now can order things online, get utilities, and even carry out a whole new life all at your expense.
Sometimes the thief gets to greedy and this can lead to an arrest, but it’s only after your name and credit has been ruined. Depending on the motivation of the thief, you may have a simple problem that eventually goes away, or you may end up having illegal immigrants coming into the country using your name time and time again.
It could take months or even years for you to be able to straighten up the matter, but your life will be ruined for quite sometime. You will also find that the IRS may come in and even ask you to pay taxes on some of the properties that others have purchased in your name. Even when you do have your life straightened out, the IRS still may want to take a closer look into your life, and no one really wants to deal with that.
You might be thinking that you don’t have to do anything to protect your online reputation. Perhaps you’re thinking, who would want to do anything against a charitable organization? You would be mistaken. Criminals and trolls don’t pick favorites, and unfortunately, any person or group can be fair game.
Nonprofits Can Be a Prime Target
In the “wild west” of the digital world and social media, plenty of people and organizations have gotten their emails, websites and social networks hacked by people who are looking to cause havoc or worse, steal. If your site is hacked, for instance, you can find yourself in a situation where people are donating to your charity, only the funds are not going to your nonprofit but into the pockets of criminals. The same can occur if you’re social media accounts are hacked.
You can also find yourself on the “wrong” side of an issue, and let’s face it, in today’s world no one can please everyone and trolls would love the chance to make it rain negativity on your organization if they feel like it.
Therefore, it’s always a smart thing to think about online reputation management.
An Ounce of Prevention
As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And, although some nonprofits, particularly the smaller ones with limited resources and bandwidth prefer to have a limited online presence, this is not the approach you should be taking.
Your organization does, in fact, have to have an active website, mobile, digital and social media presence because, in the digital age, that’s how you get supporters and engage. However, you have to be proactive about the risks that are involved, just as you would with your own bank account and personal accounts. I’m sure you take precautions with respect to your personal finances and social media accounts. The same is true for your nonprofit’s digital presence.
Search Engine Results for Your Organization
Any online reputation management begins by searching for yourself on the big search engines, especially Google and then Bing. Search for your nonprofit’s name and don’t stop at seeing the results of the first page. Go deeper into the weeds by searching to see if there’s anything adverse in the first five pages of the search results. You should also look at Google News and see if you missed anything that might have been written as a news item.
If you happen to find negative items, you need to make a note of them. See the source, and take note of the URL since you will probably be returning to those pages. Depending on the type of source, you can ask third-party sites to correct any erroneous information, however, depending on the source, you may have success or not.
Audit Your Social Media Accounts
The next places you’ll want to review carefully are all of your social networking sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. If you see there are negative posts that may have been done by someone else, you can delete them. If you have comments or shares that are evidently from dissatisfied people (e.g., donors, ex-staff), the rule is to address it professionally and then take it offline as quickly as possible. Remember, you always want to remain positive, even if you’re dealing with a negative situation. If you’re dealing with trolls, then you can choose to briefly reply that you respectfully disagree or choose not to engage at all since trolls are looking to get a rise from you.
Reputation Services
If you find yourself in a situation where there’s something about you on a search engine search or social media, you can also look at paid services such as Reputation Defender, or tools such as Trackur or Rankur. However, depending on the issue, you may end up spending a lot of money for incomplete results because nothing is ever really “erased” from the internet and search engines in our country are loathe to delete information. Each situation is different.
You or someone on your team should be regularly monitoring the digital information about your organization on the Internet and also on social media. Make sure, always, to have information at the ready should you need to challenge a third party platform about something they have in their system that is simply flat-out incorrect or even abusive. Read the “Terms of Service” for all platforms, including social media, so you can challenge things should it come to that concerning your online reputation.}}