Corruption – where are you?

Corruption is a thing that most would agree should be stamped out. But what is corruption?

Less developed countries don’t fare as well on the Corruption Perceptions Index, an annual list published by Transparency International. Its measures are clear and the conclusions it arrives at are reasoned. For a macro view of corruption, this kind of scale makes for easy comparison.

Far trickier, is to assess how corrupt individual companies (or corporate entities) are. What does corrupt even mean, exactly? Does it mean the CFO is cooking the books to con investors? Does it mean market power is being abused to rip-off customers? What else could it, should it, mean? I believe that how we choose to spend (both our money and attention) impacts Western society more than how we vote every few years. Without clear and agreed measures, with indices available to make comparisons, how do we choose wisely?

Getting information out of public sector organisations is rarely easy, getting it from commercial bodies with an interest in remaining opaque is near impossible. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

I’m looking to get an accounting package for my self-employed business and the two top contenders appear to be Sage Accounting and Intuit’s QuickBooks. On features and price it’s pretty easy to compare the two, as you’d expect. Wikipedia entries for Sage and Intuit leave me thinking the latter is deceptive and exploitative with its customer base, while Sage has been largely good for and to its community. If what I’ve read is an accurate picture, one is certainly more corrupt than the other in my view.

Even the best maintained wiki isn’t an authoritative source, of course, so I’d love to feel confident that my spending goes where it is deserved.

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