Advantages and Disadvantages of U.S. Convergence Between GAAP and IFRS



For over the past decade, there has been a growing demand in the corporate world for U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to converge to form one set of universal accounting standards. In 2002, members of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and members of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) met and issued a memorandum laying out framework for the adoption of IFRS by the U.S. Known as the Norwalk Agreement, the two boards agreed to make “existing financial reporting standards fully compatible as soon as practicable”, and to “coordinate future work programs to ensure compatibility is maintained” (Kieso, 2012, p. EP-2).

Critics against the adoption of IFRS in the United States argue principle based accounting standards leave too much of a judgment call in the hands of the preparer. In other words, IFRS is open to more interpretation than rules based GAAP, and can lead companies to release fraudulent representations. Additionally, disadvantages include an increased ability to manipulate transactional accounting, increased variations in accounting approaches for similar transactions, and fewer rules to consider in determining how to account for a transaction (“Which is Better — Principles or Rules?”, 2011). According to a global fraud report issued by Kroll Inc. for 2012-2013, American and European companies have a higher rate of fraud (60% and 63%, respectively) compared to global averages (“Global Fraud Report”, 2013). Changing accounting standards to be open to greater interpretation may attract higher cases of internal, or company fraud.

Another disadvantage to IFRS is the cost expected to be associated with transitioning from GAAP based standards and accounting information systems to IFRS based accounting information systems. However, while these costs may be high, they are short-term in nature and it is estimated companies will save money in the long term. “Studies suggest that a major impact will be the cost of transition to IFRS. According to research, the benefits to U.S. investors may not exceed costs. Additionally, due to U.S. GAAP’s high standards, financial reporting improvements will be minor. Research also suggests that these costs and benefits will vary across firms and will be difficult to trace upon adoption” (Bolt-Lee, 2009). These costs will burden small to medium sized companies that lack the capital and resources that large MNCs possess. And, according to KMPG, the largest component of IFRS conversion costs are IT costs, estimating that 50 percent to 70 percent of a typical conversion effort’s costs relates to IT (Krell, 2009).

A major holdup in the convergence of IFRS and GAAP rests with control. In the U.S. the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has the power when it comes to accounting standards. Although the FASB sets the standards, the SEC oversees and ensures public companies are complying with laws, practices and acting in a manner that facilitates ethical behavior and decision making. “Under the present system, the SEC attempts to ensure uniformity and consistency in financial reporting. However, regulators cannot enforce uniformity in a principles-based system” (Thompson, 2009). If the U.S. converts, the SEC is sure to lose a great deal of control and influence over the accounting and reporting practices.

One benefit to IFRS is standards that are based on principles, unlike GAAP which relies on rules-based standards. Principles-based standards allow more leeway as to how corporations can portray their financial performance (Galuszka, 2008). According to a survey of corporate executives, many of them listed IFRS and principles-based standards as “more intuitive” and “easier to use” than their GAAP counterpart.

The distinction between the two approaches lies precisely where their respective descriptions suggest: principles-based standards are based on a clear hierarchy of overarching principles, contain few or no provisions and rely heavily on the exercise of judgment as to what constitutes fair presentation; rules-based standards are characterized by several anti-abuse provisions and allow relatively less scope for the exercise of judgment in their application. (International GAAP, 2010)

Under rules based accounting, it is sometimes the case that a “transaction must be accounted for in accordance with the rule even if the applied accounting is misleading” (“Which is Better — Principles or Rules?”, 2011). Using IFRS allows a company to use judgment to best represent financial performance, and increase comparability among companies with similar transactions over different industries. “Rules-based accounting has not worked in practice. Critics argue that the present U.S. system does not produce accurate reporting. It focuses on “checking the boxes” more than portraying an underlying economic reality” (Thompson, 2009). IFRS tries to curb this problem through greater interpretation of the accounting principles.

Replacing GAAP standards with IFRS accounting standards will enable interested users of financial statements to make more informed decisions. Currently, “over 115 countries have adopted IFRS, plus the European Union now requires all listed companies in Europe (over 7,000 companies) to use it” (Kieso, 2012, p. EP-2). Most of the developed nations, especially those members of the EU currently practicing international standards, have a higher degree of transparency and reliability amongst financial information. Working towards convergence of accounting standards will make international investing easier, as well as make it easier for users to dissect financial information if located in foreign regions.

Adopting IFRS will, in the long-term, help to reduce cost. Many firms such as Nike, Microsoft, IBM and Apple have operations in several different countries, and therefore must prepare several different accounting books and records under each set of standards. In addition, users of financial statements must be knowledgeable in both GAAP and IFRS to completely dissect the financial information reported by multi-national corporations (MNCs).

Adopting IFRS will open the doors for firms across the globe to hire new talent. According to Matthew Birney, a manager in the financial reporting department responsible for International Financial Reporting Standards at United Technologies says some of the positives to IFRS is access to a wider talent pool (Krell, 2009). In an increasing globalized economy and workforce, hiring may no longer be restricted to hiring new applicants within the country’s borders.

As the world continues to shrink and business becomes even more globalized, a universal set of accounting standards is desired to help harmonize global accounting practices. The benefits of increasing comprehension and creating one set of accounting standards will help facilitate the flow of assets and increase overseas investment. Adopting a principles based approach to accounting will allow preparers of financial information to more accurately portray financial performance relative to the operations of the company. As global business environments improve, it is inevitable that one set of accounting standards is needed.

References

Bolt-Lee, C., & Smith, L. (2009, November 1). Highlights of IFRS Research. Retrieved September 20, 2014.

Galuszka, P. (2008, August 28). Pros and Cons of IFRS. Retrieved September 18, 2014.

International GAAP. (2010, January 1). Retrieved September 18, 2014, from http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-403632.html

Kieso, D., Weygandt, J., & Warfield, T. (2012). Intermediate accounting (14th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Krell, E. (2009, April 2). Biggest IFRS Cost? IT. Retrieved September 18, 2014.

Krell, E. (2009, April 6). IFRS Pros and Cons. Retrieved September 19, 2014.

Thompson, R. (2009, September 14). Principles- vs. Rules-Based Accounting. Retrieved September 19, 2014.

Which is Better — Principles or Rules? (2011, April 5). Retrieved September 18, 2014.

2012 / 2013 KROLL GLOBAL FRAUD REPORT SURVEY. (2013, January 1). Retrieved September 19, 2014.

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Source by Andrew B Johnston

General Liability Insurance Explained



You do not need to have a business owner to benefit from a general liability insurance plan, nor do you have to be a homeowner. But if you are either, and especially if you are both, such broad insurance protection absolutely is one of the best plans for protecting against potential lawsuits and other financial issues.

A general liability plan provides protection for goods or services arising from commercial activities as well as property coverage in case damage or destruction of another person's property occurs. Many people choose to work from home, and with the Internet facilitating the proliferation of home-based businesses, many business owners also choose to reduce overhead by engaging in commerce from their homes.

Whether doing online sales or providing a professional service, such as accounting or real estate sales, or possibly simply engaging in commerce away from home, general liability policies offer property coverage as well as protection for potential liability arising from work performed or goods sold to others . Most commercial policies offer such combined covers, and homeowners can request it as well if they have any kind of commercial activity tied to their homes, such as storage for landscaping services provided for other properties.

And if there are damages or other losses tied to the goods or services offered, the policy will pay up to stated limits and help prevent a possible lawsuit or other financial loss that could cause a bankruptcy filing. Among perils coverage are bodily injury, personal injury, property damage or other losses that negatively could have impacted a commercial enterprise regardless of its size.

Combining the two coverage under one policy helps make it more affordable while extending a broad range of protection at rates that are lower than they would be if bought in separate plans. The property portion of the plan reimburses others up to policy limits for any damages caused by the goods or services offered by the insured party. And the liability portion offers coverage only for possible lawsuits arising from business activities that cause a loss for customers or other people.

Although broad in nature, such policies do not apply to criminal acts, intentional acts or gross negligence. Gross negligence is generally defined as failing to act in a reasonable manner when a problem is known and a possible loss may occur. If aware of a faulty weld on a piece of heavy machinery and failing to fix the problem, for example, any loss arising from the potential failure of that equipment due to that bad well and any damage done likely would not be covered.

Still, having the combined coverage provided by such plans can mean the difference between staying in business and going bankrupt in the event of a lawsuit arising from general commercial activities.

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Source by Mike Heuer

Understanding Self-Insured Retention (SIR) Programs – Healthcare Equipment Maintenance



The current economy has forced healthcare organizations across the country to search for ways to save money. As a result, many organizations are investigating the annual cost of maintaining their healthcare equipment inventory. In the past, it was common practice for healthcare organizations to purchase Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) service agreements for all their healthcare systems from patient monitoring to sophisticated diagnostic imaging systems. However, OEM service agreements are often quite expensive, service options are limited, and reports on financial cost benefit analysis, vendor issues, or equipment performance are rarely provided.

As a means to reduce maintenance costs and gain control over their maintenance budget, many healthcare organizations are challenging the rising cost of OEM service agreements by building in-house service capabilities, purchasing multi-vendor service programs, and working with providers of Equipment Maintenance Management Programs for customized solutions. Many healthcare organizations have found that a hybrid solution, using a combination of in-house biomedical staff with an Equipment Maintenance Management Program (EMMP) and the selective purchase of necessary OEM service agreements, provides the best long-term and cost effective solution. This approach provides the greatest level of control, vendor flexibility, and cost containment possible to handle the wide range of equipment utilized by healthcare organizations.

Over the past few years, insurance brokers have been promoting an insurance solution to address the healthcare maintenance cost issue – the Self-Insured Retention (SIR) Program. In insurance terms, this product is known as a deductible program. While the SIR Program is currently offered by a handful of insurance companies, aggressive insurance broker marketing of this product in the healthcare space has created interest, questions, and some confusion.

The SIR Program is explained in detail below. It is important to note that the potential financial benefits of the SIR Program rely on many variables and can be overstated by the insurance broker if they rely upon unreasonably low maintenance cost assumptions. In order to evaluate the potential benefit of the proposed SIR Program, it is imperative to consider all the factors described below.

What is the SIR Program?

SIR stands for Self-Insured Retention, which is an insurance policy using an aggregate deductible structure as a means for limiting overall maintenance costs for insured equipment. Unlike your typical personal insurance experience, whereby a homeowner’s policy may include a “per event” deductible limit, the SIR Program is an aggregate deductible. This means the insured must pay for the cost of maintaining their equipment, and the insurance policy will provide no financial protection, until the policy deductible limit has been satisfied. At that point, the deductible policy begins to function like a traditional insurance policy and future maintenance expenses, “losses”, may be eligible for reimbursement.

The SIR Program replaces OEM service agreements with an insurance vehicle for limiting maintenance costs. The healthcare organization identifies specific equipment to be insured, cancels the OEM service agreements, and enters into the SIR Program to limit maintenance cost exposure for that equipment. The insured (healthcare organization) pays the provider insurance premium for the coverage, plus an administrative fee to cover account servicing and insurance broker commissions. The insurance coverage only becomes relevant when the client has satisfied the policy deductible. The insurance company unilaterally determines what maintenance expenses will be applied to the deductible. The client is responsible for paying all maintenance costs for the covered equipment until such time as the insurance company agrees that the maintenance expenses were both eligible for coverage under the contract and have reached an aggregate level equal to the deductible.

Example 1: $100,000 in OEM Service Agreement

SIR Premium Plus Administrative Cost $25,000

Insurance Policy Deductible $60,000

Total Cost $85,000

Proposed Savings $15,000 (15%)

Insurance brokers will often present proposals that demonstrate the additional savings possible to the client should actual maintenance costs be less than the deductible.

Example 2: $100,000 in OEM Service Agreement

SIR Premium Plus Administrative Cost $25,000

Insurance Policy Deductible $60,000

Actual Maintenance Costs Paid By Client $30,000

Maintenance Costs Reimbursed By Insurance Policy $0

Clients Net Maintenance Costs $30,000

Total Program Cost ($25,000 + $30,000) $55,000

Illustrated Savings / Losses $45,000 (45%)

Under this example, the insurance broker can argue that potential savings will be a minimum of 15%, but could be much larger (45% illustrated above). Unfortunately, it is more complicated than described above and like any insurance deductible program, the devil is in the details. The insurance contract defines what types of maintenance events are eligible for coverage under the policy. It is critical that the SIR policy coverage exactly match service agreement coverage or there will be coverage gaps that lead to unexpected higher costs for the client. It is possible that some maintenance events will be declared ineligible for coverage under the insurance policy leaving the client responsible for the payment. Further, it is the responsibility of the insured (healthcare organization) to track all maintenance activity, collect all maintenance documentation required by the insurance company, and submit the information and documentation to the insurance company in a timely manner in order to have the claim applied against the policy deductible (or reimbursed once the deductible is satisfied). Unless the healthcare organization has the systems, personnel, and processes in place to handle all this additional administrative work, there is a good chance that potentially covered maintenance events may not be counted against the deductible or ultimately reimbursed under the insurance contract.

In the following example, we consider the possibility that maintenance expenses incurred are declared ineligible for coverage under the policy. The resulting financial impact to the healthcare organization could result in a significant increase in maintenance costs relative to the original OEM cost baseline. Please note that insurance contracts terms and conditions, policy exclusions, and defined coverage levels will dictate the level of protection provided by the SIR Program. It is critical that potential purchasers of these insurance programs conduct their own review of the specific contract.

Example 3: $100,000 in OEM Service Agreement

SIR Premium Plus Administrative Cost $25,000

Insurance Policy Deductible $60,000

Actual Maintenance Costs Paid By Client $99,000

Maintenance Costs Reimbursed By Insurance Policy $10,000

Clients Net Maintenance Costs $89,000

Total Program Cost ($25,000 + $89,000) $114,000

Illustrated Savings / Losses ($14,000) (-14%)

Example 3 demonstrates that the SIR Program could actually result in the client paying more than the original OEM Service Agreement cost. In the case of diagnostic imaging equipment, that contain proprietary X-Ray tubes that can cost over $200,000, one maintenance event declared ineligible for coverage or not applied against the deductible can turn the economics of this type of insurance program upside down for the client.

Who can utilize the SIR Program?

Any healthcare organization that currently purchases equipment maintenance contracts on their electronic equipment is able to utilize the SIR Program.

When is the SIR Program beneficial to the client?

The SIR Program may be beneficial to a healthcare organization if:

1) They possess the internal systems, personnel, and controls to administer the insurance claims submission process;

2) The policy coverages and limits contained in the SIR contract mirror and conform to the prior service agreement coverages; and

3) If actual maintenance expenditures incurred are favorable (less than normally expected for healthcare equipment).

The client is typically required to take on all the administrative duties of processing and tracking every claim on every single piece of equipment under the program. Every maintenance event must be paid immediately by the client with satisfactory documentation and proof sent in a timely manner to the insurance company. The insurance company reviews the claim, determines coverage eligibility, and either denies the claim, seeks additional information, or applies the claim against the deductible policy. Because the very nature of the SIR Program is to utilize a sophisticated insurance contract to insure the maintenance cost exposure of healthcare equipment, it is imperative that the client be familiar with all policy inclusions and exclusions. It is important to note that the maintenance requirements of complex healthcare systems do not always conform to the straight-forward “black and white” terms and conditions of the insurance contract.

Where is the SIR Program sold?

The SIR Program is sold by insurance brokers nationwide in the healthcare market segment. This type of product, which is primarily an insurance deductible policy, is generally sold to healthcare organization risk managers and CFO’s.

Why is the SIR Program sold?

The SIR Program is sold as an insurance vehicle to address the financial risk associated with equipment maintenance. The insured pays the premium upfront, pays all maintenance expenses, and submits claims to the insurance company to be applied against the deductible or for reimbursement once the deductible is satisfied. If the client’s actual maintenance expenses are less than the deductible, and everything works as promised, it is possible for the client to save money relative to the original service agreement cost baseline. If maintenance costs are high, if the client lacks the internal staff and processes to handle the additional administrative workload, if claims are not submitted in time, or the insurance company denies submitted claims due to coverage limitations or policy exclusions, it is possible the client may actually pay more than the original service agreement cost baseline.

Conclusion

The SIR Program is an alternative to Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) service agreements. This type of program is a sophisticated insurance vehicle designed to transfer some of the financial risk of maintaining healthcare equipment to an insurance company. Like all insurance policies, it is critical that policy coverage levels, inclusions, exclusions, and policy terms and conditions provide coverage equal to (or greater) than what was provided by the OEM service agreements. The SIR Program client must also possess the tools and resources necessary to track maintenance activity throughout the year. There should be no question as to which invoices were paid, denied, and reimbursed. Finally, it is critical that the actual equipment maintenance cost performance, and the types of maintenance events incurred, fall under the insurance policy defined coverage levels. The SIR Program can provide a wide range of financial outcomes based upon a number of variables. The healthcare organization would be wise to perform significant “due diligence” and not rely upon the optimistic promises offered by the insurance broker, who is not an expert on healthcare equipment maintenance. In other words, caveat emptor or “Let the buyer beware.”

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Source by Jennifer Daugherty

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Corporate Financial Reporting



Corporate Financial Reporting is part of corporate reporting that consists of financial statements and accompanying notes that are prepared in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The financial statements are summaries of business transactions during the financial year of the corporation. The business world has many forms of organizations ranging from the for profit sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporated businesses with limited liability to the not for profit organizations whose existence is not mainly driven by financial gain.

Regulations that govern the preparation of financial statements largely apply only to the incorporated entities. This has given rise to accounting standards setting bodies and legal provisions that form the frameworks used when preparing the financial statements. The process of preparing the reports in accordance with the GAAPs and legal requirements presents advantages and disadvantages to the organizations and to other interested groups. The International Financial Reporting Standards are increasingly being adopted by many national accounting standards setting bodies leading the way to a single set of accounting standards all over the world. It is therefore worthwhile to look at the advantages and disadvantages of financial reporting to create an awareness of the complexities that corporations and accounting professionals contend with.

THE ADVANTAGES

A number of advantages of corporate financial reporting can be enumerated and perhaps among the most important is that organizations are able to compare their individual performance with others in the same industry or line of business. This is because the established principles, standards and regulations ensure that there is a benchmark to be followed in the preparation of financial reports. Recognition of income, expense, assets and liabilities is standardized by the existing framework and any deviation can be countered with disciplinary or legal action. Organizations strive to prepare their financial statements to closely match the set frameworks as much as possible. In some countries for example Kenya, this has been translated into an annual competition (the fire award) where companies performance in this area is assessed by professional bodies including the national accounting professionals body with the aim of awarding the company with the best prepared financial statements. This in turn promotes staff and professional development which is a desirable aspect in the growth and wealth creation of the corporate organizations.

Investors and owners of companies in jurisdictions where corporate financial reporting follows strong established and clear frameworks can make the appropriate investment decisions. Corporate reporting in this case enhances the development of understanding of the activities of the companies and at the same time keeps the companies themselves on their toes as the wider society is well-informed of the expected reporting standards. This also acts as an incentive to managers to perform at their best and to institute control measures that aid the organization to comply with the frameworks.

Requirements of corporate financial reporting lead to timely preparation of financial reports. This is desirable to the stakeholders who may be more interested in the organizations immediate past rather than wait for a long time before the outcome of their input is known. When financial reports are prepared and published within the stipulated time, it is possible for necessary actions to be taken to correct any anomalies that may have led to undesirable outcomes. In a more serious case where a material error happens to be discovered, it can be corrected and the necessary measures taken to avoid a repeat of such occurrences.

IFRS give room for flexibility as they are based on principles rather than rules. As principles are based on value, corporations can adopt the standards that best suit their circumstances as long as fair value is adequately reported. This also encourages professional development as accounting standards setting requires qualified academics who can develop the required standards after lengthy and rigorous discussions and considerations to come to a consensus.

Overall, corporate financial reporting acts as a control measure as management, owners, employees, customers, creditors and the government are dependent on the reports in their decision-making. For instance the government in taxation of companies relies at the outset on the financial reports prepared and examined by qualified public or certified professionals. Trends on the growth of the companies can also be quickly determined by comparing sets of reports for different periods.

THE DISADVANTAGES

Corporate financial reporting does not bring desirable results only. There are some undesirable outcomes that should be mitigated against. The consideration of cost guides many companies in their operation. In preparing corporate financial reports in accordance with laid down standards and rules, expertise is required and the company has to engage highly qualified professionals for this task. The fee payments to qualified professionals can be prohibiting especially to small companies controlled closely by their owner managers. Compared to larger companies the small entities do not have adequate resources to implement adoption of the standards or even to train or employ qualified staff. In many instances such small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are tempted to forgo compliance with certain aspects of the standards or rules leading to problems with regulatory bodies including the government.

Freedom to adopt standards that suit the particular circumstances of the company leads to manipulation of reports. Disclosure of important information is in jeopardy as there is no legal enforcement for implementing the standards. Even where the government imposes legal obligations on what financial reports are to be prepared, there are still loopholes that can arise especially when the accounting standards and the legal stipulations are not in conformity in some areas.

For multinational companies, there are challenges in preparing their consolidated financial reports especially where operations are in countries with different accounting standards and legal regimes. There are also other challenges in dealing with for instance exchange rates, interest rates and transfer pricing where treatment of such aspects may be considered differently in different countries. Taxation and existence or non-existence of dual taxation treaties also poses another challenge.

CONCLUSION

It can be concluded that corporate financial reporting is essential and the gains from following accounting standards based on principles far outweigh the disadvantages as freedom to prepare reports in whatever way organizations deem appropriate may lead to financial chaos.

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Source by Peter K Maina

Beginner’s Guide to Computer Forensics



Introduction

Computer forensics is the practice of collecting, analysing and reporting on digital information in a way that is legally admissible. It can be used in the detection and prevention of crime and in any dispute where evidence is stored digitally. Computer forensics has comparable examination stages to other forensic disciplines and faces similar issues.

About this guide

This guide discusses computer forensics from a neutral perspective. It is not linked to particular legislation or intended to promote a particular company or product and is not written in bias of either law enforcement or commercial computer forensics. It is aimed at a non-technical audience and provides a high-level view of computer forensics. This guide uses the term “computer”, but the concepts apply to any device capable of storing digital information. Where methodologies have been mentioned they are provided as examples only and do not constitute recommendations or advice. Copying and publishing the whole or part of this article is licensed solely under the terms of the Creative Commons – Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 license

Uses of computer forensics

There are few areas of crime or dispute where computer forensics cannot be applied. Law enforcement agencies have been among the earliest and heaviest users of computer forensics and consequently have often been at the forefront of developments in the field. Computers may constitute a ‘scene of a crime’, for example with hacking [ 1] or denial of service attacks [2] or they may hold evidence in the form of emails, internet history, documents or other files relevant to crimes such as murder, kidnap, fraud and drug trafficking. It is not just the content of emails, documents and other files which may be of interest to investigators but also the ‘meta-data’ [3] associated with those files. A computer forensic examination may reveal when a document first appeared on a computer, when it was last edited, when it was last saved or printed and which user carried out these actions.

More recently, commercial organisations have used computer forensics to their benefit in a variety of cases such as;

  • Intellectual Property theft
  • Industrial espionage
  • Employment disputes
  • Fraud investigations
  • Forgeries
  • Matrimonial issues
  • Bankruptcy investigations
  • Inappropriate email and internet use in the work place
  • Regulatory compliance

Guidelines

For evidence to be admissible it must be reliable and not prejudicial, meaning that at all stages of this process admissibility should be at the forefront of a computer forensic examiner’s mind. One set of guidelines which has been widely accepted to assist in this is the Association of Chief Police Officers Good Practice Guide for Computer Based Electronic Evidence or ACPO Guide for short. Although the ACPO Guide is aimed at United Kingdom law enforcement its main principles are applicable to all computer forensics in whatever legislature. The four main principles from this guide have been reproduced below (with references to law enforcement removed):

  1. No action should change data held on a computer or storage media which may be subsequently relied upon in court.
  2. In circumstances where a person finds it necessary to access original data held on a computer or storage media, that person must be competent to do so and be able to give evidence explaining the relevance and the implications of their actions.
  3. An audit trail or other record of all processes applied to computer-based electronic evidence should be created and preserved. An independent third-party should be able to examine those processes and achieve the same result.
  4. The person in charge of the investigation has overall responsibility for ensuring that the law and these principles are adhered to.

In summary, no changes should be made to the original, however if access/changes are necessary the examiner must know what they are doing and to record their actions.

Live acquisition

Principle 2 above may raise the question: In what situation would changes to a suspect’s computer by a computer forensic examiner be necessary? Traditionally, the computer forensic examiner would make a copy (or acquire) information from a device which is turned off. A write-blocker[4] would be used to make an exact bit for bit copy [5] of the original storage medium. The examiner would work then from this copy, leaving the original demonstrably unchanged.

However, sometimes it is not possible or desirable to switch a computer off. It may not be possible to switch a computer off if doing so would result in considerable financial or other loss for the owner. It may not be desirable to switch a computer off if doing so would mean that potentially valuable evidence may be lost. In both these circumstances the computer forensic examiner would need to carry out a ‘live acquisition’ which would involve running a small program on the suspect computer in order to copy (or acquire) the data to the examiner’s hard drive.

By running such a program and attaching a destination drive to the suspect computer, the examiner will make changes and/or additions to the state of the computer which were not present before his actions. Such actions would remain admissible as long as the examiner recorded their actions, was aware of their impact and was able to explain their actions.

Stages of an examination

For the purposes of this article the computer forensic examination process has been divided into six stages. Although they are presented in their usual chronological order, it is necessary during an examination to be flexible. For example, during the analysis stage the examiner may find a new lead which would warrant further computers being examined and would mean a return to the evaluation stage.

Readiness

Forensic readiness is an important and occasionally overlooked stage in the examination process. In commercial computer forensics it can include educating clients about system preparedness; for example, forensic examinations will provide stronger evidence if a server or computer’s built-in auditing and logging systems are all switched on. For examiners there are many areas where prior organisation can help, including training, regular testing and verification of software and equipment, familiarity with legislation, dealing with unexpected issues (e.g., what to do if child pornography is present during a commercial job) and ensuring that your on-site acquisition kit is complete and in working order.

Evaluation

The evaluation stage includes the receiving of clear instructions, risk analysis and allocation of roles and resources. Risk analysis for law enforcement may include an assessment on the likelihood of physical threat on entering a suspect’s property and how best to deal with it. Commercial organisations also need to be aware of health and safety issues, while their evaluation would also cover reputational and financial risks on accepting a particular project.

Collection

The main part of the collection stage, acquisition, has been introduced above. If acquisition is to be carried out on-site rather than in a computer forensic laboratory then this stage would include identifying, securing and documenting the scene. Interviews or meetings with personnel who may hold information which could be relevant to the examination (which could include the end users of the computer, and the manager and person responsible for providing computer services) would usually be carried out at this stage. The ‘bagging and tagging’ audit trail would start here by sealing any materials in unique tamper-evident bags. Consideration also needs to be given to securely and safely transporting the material to the examiner’s laboratory.

Analysis

Analysis depends on the specifics of each job. The examiner usually provides feedback to the client during analysis and from this dialogue the analysis may take a different path or be narrowed to specific areas. Analysis must be accurate, thorough, impartial, recorded, repeatable and completed within the time-scales available and resources allocated. There are myriad tools available for computer forensics analysis. It is our opinion that the examiner should use any tool they feel comfortable with as long as they can justify their choice. The main requirements of a computer forensic tool is that it does what it is meant to do and the only way for examiners to be sure of this is for them to regularly test and calibrate the tools they use before analysis takes place. Dual-tool verification can confirm result integrity during analysis (if with tool ‘A’ the examiner finds artefact ‘X’ at location ‘Y’, then tool ‘B’ should replicate these results.)

Presentation

This stage usually involves the examiner producing a structured report on their findings, addressing the points in the initial instructions along with any subsequent instructions. It would also cover any other information which the examiner deems relevant to the investigation. The report must be written with the end reader in mind; in many cases the reader of the report will be non-technical, so the terminology should acknowledge this. The examiner should also be prepared to participate in meetings or telephone conferences to discuss and elaborate on the report.

Review

Along with the readiness stage, the review stage is often overlooked or disregarded. This may be due to the perceived costs of doing work that is not billable, or the need ‘to get on with the next job’. However, a review stage incorporated into each examination can help save money and raise the level of quality by making future examinations more efficient and time effective. A review of an examination can be simple, quick and can begin during any of the above stages. It may include a basic ‘what went wrong and how can this be improved’ and a ‘what went well and how can it be incorporated into future examinations’. Feedback from the instructing party should also be sought. Any lessons learnt from this stage should be applied to the next examination and fed into the readiness stage.

Issues facing computer forensics

The issues facing computer forensics examiners can be broken down into three broad categories: technical, legal and administrative.

Encryption – Encrypted files or hard drives can be impossible for investigators to view without the correct key or password. Examiners should consider that the key or password may be stored elsewhere on the computer or on another computer which the suspect has had access to. It could also reside in the volatile memory of a computer (known as RAM [6] which is usually lost on computer shut-down; another reason to consider using live acquisition techniques as outlined above.

Increasing storage space – Storage media holds ever greater amounts of data which for the examiner means that their analysis computers need to have sufficient processing power and available storage to efficiently deal with searching and analysing enormous amounts of data.

New technologies – Computing is an ever-changing area, with new hardware, software and operating systems being constantly produced. No single computer forensic examiner can be an expert on all areas, though they may frequently be expected to analyse something which they haven’t dealt with before. In order to deal with this situation, the examiner should be prepared and able to test and experiment with the behaviour of new technologies. Networking and sharing knowledge with other computer forensic examiners is also very useful in this respect as it’s likely someone else may have already encountered the same issue.

Anti-forensics – Anti-forensics is the practice of attempting to thwart computer forensic analysis. This may include encryption, the over-writing of data to make it unrecoverable, the modification of files’ meta-data and file obfuscation (disguising files). As with encryption above, the evidence that such methods have been used may be stored elsewhere on the computer or on another computer which the suspect has had access to. In our experience, it is very rare to see anti-forensics tools used correctly and frequently enough to totally obscure either their presence or the presence of the evidence they were used to hide.

Legal issues

Legal arguments may confuse or distract from a computer examiner’s findings. An example here would be the ‘Trojan Defence’. A Trojan is a piece of computer code disguised as something benign but which has a hidden and malicious purpose. Trojans have many uses, and include key-logging [7], uploading and downloading of files and installation of viruses. A lawyer may be able to argue that actions on a computer were not carried out by a user but were automated by a Trojan without the user’s knowledge; such a Trojan Defence has been successfully used even when no trace of a Trojan or other malicious code was found on the suspect’s computer. In such cases, a competent opposing lawyer, supplied with evidence from a competent computer forensic analyst, should be able to dismiss such an argument.

Accepted standards – There are a plethora of standards and guidelines in computer forensics, few of which appear to be universally accepted. This is due to a number of reasons including standard-setting bodies being tied to particular legislations, standards being aimed either at law enforcement or commercial forensics but not at both, the authors of such standards not being accepted by their peers, or high joining fees dissuading practitioners from participating.

Fitness to practice – In many jurisdictions there is no qualifying body to check the competence and integrity of computer forensics professionals. In such cases anyone may present themselves as a computer forensic expert, which may result in computer forensic examinations of questionable quality and a negative view of the profession as a whole.

Resources and further reading

There does not appear to be a great amount of material covering computer forensics which is aimed at a non-technical readership. However the following links at links at the bottom of this page may prove to be of interest prove to be of interest:

Glossary

1. Hacking: modifying a computer in way which was not originally intended in order to benefit the hacker’s goals.

2. Denial of Service attack: an attempt to prevent legitimate users of a computer system from having access to that system’s information or services.

3. Meta-data: at a basic level meta-data is data about data. It can be embedded within files or stored externally in a separate file and may contain information about the file’s author, format, creation date and so on.

4. Write blocker: a hardware device or software application which prevents any data from being modified or added to the storage medium being examined.

5. Bit copy: bit is a contraction of the term ‘binary digit’ and is the fundamental unit of computing. A bit copy refers to a sequential copy of every bit on a storage medium, which includes areas of the medium ‘invisible’ to the user.

6. RAM: Random Access Memory. RAM is a computer’s temporary workspace and is volatile, which means its contents are lost when the computer is powered off.

7. Key-logging: the recording of keyboard input giving the ability to read a user’s typed passwords, emails and other confidential information.

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Source by Jonathan Krause

Concessions to Start-Ups Regarding Labor Laws in India



In order to promote the Start-Up ecosystem in the country and incentivizing the entrepreneurs in setting up new start-up ventures and thus catalyze the creation of employment opportunities through them, the Ministry of Labor & Employment has issued an advisory to the States / UTs / Central Labor Enforcement Agencies for a compliance rule based on self-certification and regulating the inspections under various Labor Laws. It has been suggested that if such start-ups furnish self-declaration for compliance of nine labor laws for the first year from the date of starting the start-up, no inspection under these labor laws, wherever applicable, will take place. The nine labor laws, included in this advisory are:

• The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947;

• The Trade Unions Act, 1926;

• The Building and Other Constructions Workers' (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996;

• The Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946;

• the Inter-State Migrant Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979;

• The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972;

• The Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970;

• The Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; and

• The Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948.

From the second year onwards, up to 3 year from the setting up of the units, such start-ups are required to furnish self-certified returns and would be inspected only when acceptable and verifiable complaint of violation is filed in writing and approval has been obtained from the higher authorities.

The advisory to State Governments is not to exempt the start-ups from the ambit of compliance of these Labor Laws but to provide an administrative mechanism to regulate inspection of the Start-Ups under these labor laws, so that start-ups are encouraged to be self-disciplined and adhere to the rule of law. These measures intend to avoid harassment of the entrepreneurs by restricting the discretion and arbitrariness. Punitive action shall, however, be taken whenever there is a violation of these labor laws.

Start-ups not only help the country to develop and grow financially but also provide a lot of job opportunities to unemployed people of the country. The labor opportunities generated also helps the people of the country to gain employment. The Department formed for this in the government has come up with 9 labor laws which need to be looked up in case of violation or complaint filed against the start-up.

Therefore the government is promoting start-ups and alongside generating labor opportunities for unemployed people of the country.

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Source by Poonam Jain

What Is The Need For Incoterms Shipping Rules?



Incoterms or the International Commerce Terms are defined as the set of terms which are standardized and used in case of international trade. Companies engaged in the shipment of goods or enterprises that receive goods from the international markets via ships must be aware of these terms. They help in deciding the terms of delivery between the seller and the buyer. It also specifies which party is liable for the insurance of the goods and which party is supposed to bear the unloading and loading charges of the products. When these terms get clarified between the parties, there is hardly any confusion to deal with. Thus, for the ease of international transactions, the Incoterms first came into existence in the year 1936.

ICC is the organization which laid down these rules which govern the cross-border trades even today. There have been many changes incorporated in the terms to suit the changes of the global business environment. Using the incoterms correctly and wisely helps businesses in enjoying several benefits. The shipping rules mentioned in the incoterms must be adhered to by the parties for more clarity in transactions. The latest amendments to the shipping rules are available in the Incoterms 2010 which have brought about many useful modifications in the system.

Reduction Of Risks:

The most important benefit of the shipping rules mentioned in the Incoterms help in minimizing business risks. It is known that international transactions take place between different countries that follow different languages and business cultures. Thus, it is always wise to have everything in writing to avoid any type of misunderstandings. The use of correct incoterms makes the contract much valid and simplified. Thus, there is no risk involved in transacting with a foreign company.

The contract of sale must have all the obligations of the seller and the buyer engaged in export and import of the products. This removes any type of confusion related to the rules of transporting the goods from one point to the other. Thus, the transacting parties know when the risks and costs involved in the goods would be transferred in the process of the shipment.

Understanding Of The Rules:

  • The E Rules: As per this rule, the agreement specifies that the goods are to be delivered EXW meaning “ex-works”. This indicates that the goods would reach either the factory of the seller or at his warehouse. Thus, the seller is not liable for any expenses relating to transportation, loading charges, and customs tariffs
  • The F Rules: This rule involved three terms- FOB, FCA, FAS. Here, the seller sends the consignment to the carrier whom the buyer appoints. In this case, the seller is responsible to bear the expenses of delivery and thereafter all other costs are borne by the buyer.
  • The C Rules: In this type, the seller contracts for carriage but does not take into account any risk or damage of the goods after the shipping of the products. The related terms here are- CIF, CFR, CIP, CPT.
  • The D Rules: The seller takes up any risk that is involved in delivering the goods at the doorstep of the buyer. The terms used are- DAP, DDP, DAT.

So, you see each risk factor has been defined so well in the rules that both the parties can clearly understand what their obligations are. There is no room for confusion if one understands the terms well. It facilities not just smooth transactions but is also helpful in strategic logistics management.

Most of the small businesses prefer transacting under the C-terms. This ensures that the buyer is having more grasp when the shipment is in huge quantity. Till the time the cargo reaches the origin port, all the costs are borne by the seller. Thereafter, the buyer takes on the responsibility of the costs up to the discharge port. So, more or less the burden of risks and costs get divided equally among the parties. The latest version of the Incoterms which came out in 2010 has also well defined the FOB Incoterms. This has made the segregations quite understandable and comprehensible.

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Source by Yash Pal Singh

The Main Subject of This Article Is Health and Fitness Programs



Health and fitness programs

The health of a human being is of two types. One is the mental health and the other is the physical health. The happiness of a human life mostly depends on being healthy. So it is very much important for a human to remain healthy and fit. It has been proved that human being can stay fit by taking some steps. A human body can only be fit by maintaining many fitness rules. The age of today is the modern age. The people of today are very much aware of staying healthy and fit. Many employers are implementing these types of programs into their workplace with the goals of improving and maintaining the health of their employees and increasing worker productivity. Now a day’s many satellite channels are broadcasting many health and fitness programs.

Not only that they are also providing many useful diets, exercise by depending on ages and those are taught by professional instructors and also giving information about those foods which are bad for health. Many health and fitness programs are introducing the health and fitness instruments or products. So people are being benefited and they personality is improving and so as their confidence level. That’s why large number of people is attracting to these kinds of programs. As the days are passing these numbers are spreading. In the current world companies whom are offering jobs are mainly searching people having best personality and confidence. Health and fitness programs are helping people to get many exciting jobs.

It has now become one of the major concerns. This made life active and alert. Now, life has become more simple and easy. Everything an individual need is just a step away. This easy life has restricted humans to do that bit of physical exercise which is required to keep the body fit and healthy. We get instant, spicy and variety of food which lose their nutrition during the process. It can make all that difference in one’s life. These kinds of program are facilitated by a Certified Athletic Trainer who will help individual to develop an exercise program for his/her specific needs. These programs has helped them to address health issues such as being overweight, having high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol levels, reducing risk factors for heart disease, back pain and other balance disturbances. However, research is still being conducted to determine if these programs are an effective means of achieving these goals.

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Source by Lionel Messi Fernandez

How To Append More Worth To Your Residence and Enhance Its Selling Potential



Loft Conversion is the process for renovation of living space. Whether you are thinking about a new home (Kitchen, bathroom, office place) an en suite or a total re-decoration. If you select the right project, you can add worth to your home. This can be a good future investment and will increase your properties selling potential, should you desire to sell your home in the future.

Add 10-15% with a loft conversion

If you live in a city where the place is limited, an attic conversion is a fine way to create the most of what you have. As long as the renovation gives good standing room upstairs, it can be additional to the property's room. This would be helpful as a home office or bedroom and should lead to more attention in the house.

Add 5-7% with a new kitchen

A kitchen is very significant for the scalability, but it rarely adds more worth than it costs. Yet if a kitchen is an in reality poor state, buyers tend to need a discount to enforce across the whole house.

Up to 5% with a new bathroom

The possibility of improvement a bathroom can put off some buyers. We all know the negative impact that a colored site has. A new, neutral colored bathroom that needs no work can be a precious asset, depending on the property's place.

Up to 4% with an en-suite bathroom

A en-suite can put in more worth in a larger property, where a high-quality bathroom count is important. The recent tense has seen many proprietors opt to add a fitted to the master bedroom; a walk in wardrobe or deep storeroom space is the ideal starting point to creating an en-suite.

Add between 3 and 10% with a conservatory

A conservatory adds important space and light, primarily desirable in built-up areas. It is a relatively simple and gainful way of rising space within a property. Make sure you decide a design that complements the method of your home and it does not take over the garden. Positioning is also significant. For example, a south-facing conservatory requirements ventilation and shade, while good heating is necessary in a north-facing room.

Add 5% with a complete cosmetic redecoration

In a good market, a great cosmetic makeover could put in up to 20% onto a sale price. Buyers like to have a modern kitchen and out-of-date paint colors will be harder to sell.

Add between 5 and 15% with a garden room

A garden room is a genuine draw in the nation with its picturesque views. It's also probable to add value to your home by adding an outdoor studio space part of the house, which expenses less than an extension and gives a retreat away for domestic life.

Add between 15-20% with an extension

Additional space may be a great outlay, but it will add important worth in the long run. Although an additional room that eats considering into a tiny garden will not attain optimal value.

Add up to 2% with an outdoor swimming pool

The thought of a swimming pool may sound like a vision, yet in realism they add little to homes as their successively costs can be expensive.

London Loft Conversion Company is the popularity & accredited way for home renovations.

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Source by Sunny Dabla

Coming Up Empty In Education Reform



The recent days for public education reform from the No Child Left Behind Act, the Core Curriculum mandate, and standardize tests have all placed public education on notice that once again our policy decision makers have continued their assault on education. All they have done has directed in a educational system that continues to fail our youth. From the mainstream Republican stance of what they have done in issuing these mandates that literally shoved down the public's throats misguided attempts at education reform. This is nothing more than political expediency. What has been happening with all these mandates is a continuation of glossing over the real undering problems facing education in this country. If education was run like a business there would be far more accountability and structure in our public schools today. But, like everything else our most stupendous governmental officials have done is thrown tax dollars down the toilet. Meanwhile our youth are far worse off today in educational standards compared to the rest of the world.

Someone once said just recently that teachers alone can not change conditions in our schools. The only way to gain back the supremacy we had in educational standards that prevailed in the 1950's and early 1960's will take nothing short of a revolution. When we take a good hard look at the landscape of America today we find that the US is indeed fractured. In one hand we have the wealthiest few who control the all too powerful politicians, Those self serving bureaucrats continue to overlook the obvious distress that the majority of Americas are wallowing in. Then there is the majority of the population, those multitudes wallowing in desperation hiring that somehow someday soon things will get better. Meanwhile our youth, the future generations of Americans continue to suffer the consequences of failed educational mandates and initiatives by a political system that by its own nature fails to forgive what really is needed to reverse the effects of years of meddling in educational policies that worked for decades prior to the late 1960's.

The one key component in education reform where students in all grade levels are able to succeed is always overlooked by our illustrious bureaucrats. When we really take a close look into America today we find their are so many children just like Bob and Jane Smith. Brother and sister both are sixth graders at Roosevelt Elementary. Typical children, but what their teachers did not know until after their parents lost their home when. Smith got laid off and the bank foreclosed. For over a year the Smiths have had to live in a two bedroom apartment in a not so nice area. And, with only one income, a minimum wage job at Walmart many a night Bob and Jane do not get enough to eat let alone the proper vitamins and nutrition they both need during the day. When we really stop to think what is actually occurring all across the country today it is unconscionable to think that over one third of the countries school age children are literally starving. The fact of the matter is nutrition really does play the most vital role in a child's growth and development. But, what is so disconcerting is the fact that those policy makers fail to take into account that food, nutrition, vitamins and minerals are essential for not only physical development and health but are necessary for mental growth and mental health in every human being.

When schools today are judged solely on test scores the prevailing contention is that poverty should never be excuse for poor academic achievement still remains the status of policy makers. And, as long as test scores are at par our policy makers continue to be unconcerned if the pants are bare, the parents jobless or worse yet in jail and the gap between the rich and poor is more appalling than it's been since 1929. We now have a whole society of mounting inequality, where the wealthiest few altogether ignore, are too blind to see and just plain oblivious to the harsh reality facing countless millions of children each and every day.

Food insecurity of our nations youth continues to undersine these nations ability to compete in an ever increasing global economy. But, it is not the only factor the has eliminated these nations education prominence. When the Common Core Curriculum was implemented in so many states it dismounted many of the founding building blocks in elementary and secondary education that stood as the standard for over 100 years. This, regardless of all the new technology integrated into school systems will still have an adverse effect on generations of our youth. Take for example cursive writing. It is now obsolete in the minds of so many school boards. Their rational is why spend time learning penmanship where today all you need is a computer keyboard. The time spent on penmanship now can be used for more useful subjects that are more relevant to today. As many of us remember it was a right of passage for generations learning how to write. Signing your name is just one of the most useful tools we use today as adults.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in education reform that is already taking it's toll on our nations youth. When one walks into any public school in Anytown USA many a baby boomer is quite shocked to see what is actually going on in our schools. All one has to do is read the latest paper to find that another school age student was bullied actually to death. Never before has this country been inundated with so many social crisis that allows public schools to be a haven for so much bulling. A moral crisis has taken over in so many parts of the country. It really does underscore that our public education reforms for the past twenty years and counting has only systematically rendered our public school system at the bottom of the heap in regards to other developed countries around the world.

In education especially for elementary and secondary age youth it is vital that physical education be as important as math or science. A prime example is a private school in the state of New York that mandates the first 3 hours of every day to rigorous physical activity. In doing so these students, each one of them has excelled exceptionally in core curricular studies such as science and math. The benefits of physical exercise whether it is competitive sports or not clearly shows a vast improvement in academies. To have school systems retard or eliminate all together physical education clearly puts our nations youth not only at health risks but undermines our nations future stability and security. Many a time it is budgetary constraints that play an external factor in the elimination of Physical Ed. But, the reality is the hard cold fact that our nations youth obesity rates are among the highest in the world and inevitably all the health risks related to our obesity rates do cost a hell of allot more than if we mandated Physical Ed. to begin with.

With the advent of so much technology especially the hand held personal computer has really taken it's tool on the way our youth today are being educated. Gone in so many elementary schools across the country are the days when students were required to stand at the old chalk board and work out math or other subject problems. Where the interaction of fellow students and teachers was actually encouraged. What we are witnessing today is the only interaction occurring is on a very interpersonal one. One can understand the importance of self confidence when students first over come the fear of standing in front of their contemporaries by trying to solve a problem at the chalkboard. That is not the case any longer.

Today, too many of our youth are being identified with ADT other known a Attention Deficit Disorder. Probable cause, diet, genetics, and many consider their environment also contributions to its cause. What ever the cause too many of our youth are all lumped into this category and too many are prescribed prescription drugs like Ritalin. These drugs do nothing to cure or direct that hyperactivity into positive constructive endeavors. From a personal point of view took place over fifty five years ago when my father took control and put me on a path that transformed my life. Back in the Fifties ADT was not a known diagnosis all my father knew I was a very hyper active kid, always getting into trouble. Sometimes I getaught and boy that was when corporal punishment came with a hard spank on the bottom. But, most time I managed to escape unscathed. My parents knew I was the fastest kid on the block. Nobody could catch me. It was one afternoon thought that changed all that when my father came home from work. That one afternoon while watching cartoons on our small TV was when my father dropped me away and said "I have a present for us." He then proceeded to hand me a small wrapped box. After teasing open the box to my dismay was a small stop watch. It was from that moment on I knew my life was going in a new direction. From that afternoon on my father took me to the old high school track field where I was trained running 440's, half miles, and the mile. At first I missed going but the gradual success at track and cross-country I did not only succeed in school but got into a major university.

A life long pursuit of fitness and a desire to succeed resolved because of my fathers influence, help and encouragement. Today most of our youth are not as fortified as I was. It is a sad commentary for our times that too many elementary age children come from single parent homes. A whole spectrum of factors are involved now that were not back in the 1950's. What is happening today there really is a sense of foreboding tension, a silent force that is ripping across our moral fiber, a sagging truth of unpresented demise of morality, liberty, and justice. The world we once new in our youth is no more. We now are faced with the consequences of our actions and of our interactions of what we have done in the name of social liberalization in public education all across the country.

There is another factor in what has happened in our school systems over the years. It was on a recent visit to one of Tampa Bay's public schools just to see first hand what it is like to be a student today. First impressions they say are worth a thousand words. Well, in this case that first impression I was totally unprepared for what my eyes were actually seeing. Gaining entry was no small task. Nowadays one has to press a buzzer and state name and reason for your visit. It would help to call before hand to make things go allot smoother. Fortunately, this visit upon entering there were no metal detectors that from my understanding are the norm in so many other schools all through-out the country. Now, as I approach the main hallway being accompanied by a teacher or teachers aid through the maze of scantly clad young girls and droopy baggy bent boys cell phones a buzzing I could not tell the difference between the students or my escort they all dressed very sloppily. It is a known fact that today over 40% of students do themselves a very huge disservice by cheating on their exams when they have access to personal cell phones in class. If they do it in secondary or even in elementary levels just think of the percentage of students that cheat in college. A very disturbing fact that has a very disastrous effect in business and our whole economy sufferers because of it.

Finally made it to the main office where on a small table in the corner there were a stack of papers outlining necessary items each student was supposed to have in their possession. Stuffed into every bodies backpack were items such as a calculator. Oh, that really amazes me. So much for the arithmetic tables one is supposed to memorize. Next comes the hand sanitizer for our disease conscious society. Heaven forbid we forget to use soap and water. Maybe with all the budget cuts especially in our public schools soap is a luxury that now is unaffordable. With all the backpacks packed with those so-called essentials as well as the actual course books I have a feeling that this generation is going to have an awful lot of back problems as they get older. Maybe, because again of all the cut backs in the one program that will help more than any others is physical education. Now, one of the first programs to go under the ax when budgets are trimmed. As in so many instances today. One of the most disturbing trends today in our public schools there really are too many administrators. But, we got to cut physical education, arts, music appreciation and all the other so called no essential programs that would otherwise contribute to an overall educational experience.

Now, when one steps into a school it is more apparent than ever when we walk away with the realization that somehow our own society is to blame for these nations failures in public education. Silly me, to want our youth to have more respect for themselves as well as others. Two of the four principals this nation was built upon Education and Morality both go hand in hand. The morality today, well there practically is not any. Sure there are remnants where the morality of generations past hold true but, for the most part is sadly lacking by the majority of students in practically every public school system in the country.

The decorum that is displayed by so many sets the tone for failing or not. Amoral societies too often fall where as a society who embarks and practices basic moral values ​​raises and flourishes. Maybe, with all the political rhetoric about creating another great society we would really look at why our society's moral values ​​have all but disappeared. This is where and why our school systems have to reform and reestablish codes of etiquette and dress in every school. This would go a long way in bringing back moral values ​​in our youth as well as the professionalism that our teachers must display.

When we look at other top flight educational systems through-out the world like Japan and Sweden professionalism and morality displayed keep those countries on the cutting edge of education and consequentially their entire economy flourishes as a result. Just look at the period from 1952 – 1968. The United States economy reached heights never before or since attained. When morality along with education improve so does any economy. That is how to rebuild our nation.

Not only has our whole educational system been reprogrammed to do more harm than good our youth today are being continuously subjected to the cultural stimulus that have had practical effects not positively mind you but have basically encourage more of a amoral culture. The continuing escalation of youth violence whether it involves gangs, other issues that could stem from the lack of parental influence, or just the way our society has changed in the last few decades all have affected a generation of youth and their interpretation of the freedom of speech. The United States Constitution guarantees Freedom of Speech. This right comes with a responsibility. What we say does have a direct affect on the actions of others. A case in point; The Federal Communications Standard for specific expression on TV, radio, recordings, Magazines etc. Now studies and statistics show that there is a direct correlation with the escalation of youth violence with the relaxing of acceptable standards by public forms of communication.

Our youth are very impressive and are not fully capable mentally of handling the responsibility of today's freedom of expression. A good example is noted in the book "Lord of the Flies." Education is the best approach but along with education has come with it's own natural maturity that comes through the aging process through infancy through young adult. Each phase of aging comes with it's own physical, mental, and emotional progressions. If we skip from adolescence to young adult with-out going through the natural aging progresses these individuals will not be equipped in all aspects to handle the responsibilities that are imposed on the life cycle they are thrust into.

The youth of today are continuously being exposed to ideas, situations, and material items that are not yet provided mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially to effectively uses. This causes great harm not only to themselves but to society as well. What needs to be done is to reestablish the standards of conduct and speech that were enforced back in the middle of the 20th century. The rebuilding of ethical standards is essential for the continuation of our society. What happens when a society reverts to rampant disregard for themselves and others is a destruction of freedom everywhere.

When we talk of education reform we do have a responsibility to our youth to entrust in them the ideals and principals along with the moral ethics that were the basis on which our whole society was founded on over 200 years ago. Integrated with the technology coinciding with a lifestyle that encourages a passion for the arts, athletics, and academies is essential for a balanced society to flourish and prosper. That is education reform. To accomplish this it takes a whole conceptual approach. From financial security we come away with food security, With food security of our nations youth equals more economic opportunity for our future. And, the only way to achieve this is through passage and implementation of National Economic Reforms Ten Articles of Confederation.

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Source by Dr.