The services performed by EBBEN Partners – leading to a clear recommendation or report of findings – are based on four areas of expertise. For our assignments we put in a combination of our expertise: accounting, legal profession, integrity, and security.
One expertise that has not been mentioned, but in our world may best be shown, is the ability to write a clear report. A report that can be properly read by outsiders, judges and related persons. And if a professional opinion or a review is requested, we give it gladly.
Our services are based on our expertise, but are also based upon confidence and a ‘click’ with the client.
The partners at EBBEN Partners – without obligation – would gladly have an introductory interview to establish whether the expertise of EBBEN Partners can be efficiently used, what the costs will be, and whether there is, or might be, that certain ‘click’.
Special investigations often are difficult to place in a certain category. Because of the areas of expertise available within EBBEN Partners, we can assemble a multidisciplinary team of experienced investigators to fit the needs of the investigation.
To prevent is better than to cure’. Consultants at Ebben Partners assess the structure of your organization and provide you with recommendations to ensure that you are in control.
An investigation into a possible breach of internal procedures, code of conduct or governance guidelines must be done carefully: independent, honest, competent and objective. That means a good description of the assignment, interviews performed with those involved with an eye on the situation and relations, an examination of the documentation, and the careful application of adversarial, if necessary.
Someone in position of power that grants favors not in the interest of the organization, in exchange for personal services or a kickback. Bribes are still being sought and given. Procedures are sometimes not respected, integrity codes and inaugural oaths are being transgressed. The specialists of EBBEN Partners investigate and report on this.
A research for a proposed merger or acquisition is an important aspect to substantiate the valuation or assess risks. In particular, the expertise of EBBEN Partners in the area of integrity can bring added value: do the same values apply within the organization to be taken over? Could integrity skeletons possibly fall out of the closet?
Factual investigations can be very diverse in nature. Consider the monitoring of specific transactions in financial statements, examining of money laundering, an investigation into the integrity of your data or an inquiry into the respect of contracts and legislation.
When there is a suspicion of fraud or fraud has been detected, you want to have a clear picture of the scale as soon as possible to limit the damage. Suspected persons should be held liable and confidence needs to be restored. The persons employed at EBBEN Partners have been the founding fathers of the forensic audit in Belgium and the Netherlands. The lawyers have extensive experience in fraud investigations and brainstorm on the best strategy for the start of proceedings. Is it important to let the investigation take place under the protection of the legal privilege of the lawyer? You’ve come to the right place.
For the smaller-scale organizations, EBBEN Partners can fulfill the internal audit function – fully or partly – externally. EBBEN Partners can do this by reviewing the (desired) audit organization, setting up audits, arranging the audits, actually performing audits, training auditors, and for the purpose of the management and / or regulators, evaluating the results of an audit, the audit plan or the performance of auditors.
An audit that focuses on the quality of the management of all aspects of business: operational affairs. This goes beyond the aspects of reliability and validity. Often there is a relation to the objectives of an organization (strategy). The audit team will often be aggregated in a multi-disciplinary manner. This multidisciplinary character gives a significantly broader scope of research, often with interesting observations.
If the team, operating as a temporary project team, is made up of people from different departments and levels of the organization, this can be an instructive exercise for the participants. But that requires attention to planning and coordination: to ensure that everyone fills out the role that is expected of him or her. EBBEN Partners may be part of an existing operational audit team, but is also able to independently set-up, to prepare and to carry-out investigations, including the reporting to the management.
The participation of an external expert is an informal and accessible tool to provide feedback on the functioning of the supervisory board. During the regular board meetings, one of the EBBEN Partners gets a guest seat at the table. He thinks conceptually with a fresh, contemporary and critical outlook. He prepares for the board meetings, gets familiar with the agendas and minutes of the meetings of the past few years. As a guest, he comprehends the technique and dynamics of the meeting, by means of a “live perception”. Following the meeting, he provides comments on his perception of the agenda-making, the board’s interpretation of the concept “supervision” regarding the manner in which meetings are set up, how collaboration is realized between directors, and the role of members as well as the chairman. As such, the EBBEN Partner aims to use the EBBEN knowledge and experience in the world of real estate, housing associations, partnerships, consulting firms and various corporations & industries.
In an organization where employees work and collaborate with integrity, there are less incidents regarding integrity and employees collaborate with more pleasure than in an organization where integrity is less important. Even if merely through the fact that employees feel safe and do not get bullied. Employees are more loyal and this results in better statistics on staff turnover.
It all starts by asking an association their understanding of the concept of integrity and whether there is a comprehensive and uneqivocal insight of what the concept entails within the supervisory board and board of directors. (Read the book I’m Honest, You are Honest, written by one of the EBBEN Partners together with a journalist from FD. With, currently shocking conclusions!]
Next, EBBEN Partners perform an audit of the existing measures aimed at protecting integrity and improvement in the organization. The results are shared with the client and EBBEN Partners engage to develop an integrity policy. The Plan is to be shared at the top but also on the workfloor, at every layer of the organization. As quoted from the previously mentioned book, by Anthony Burgman: “Lack of integrity at the top of the organization is life-threatening to a company. Absence can be deadly, presence a blessing. “ After implementation of our recommendations in this area, our clients are more in-control.
How do directors and internal supervisors know that the information reported to them is accurate and complete? Are delegated tasks and powers according to agreements and Segregation of Duties? Are the outlined or approved policies effective? Are risky reorganization projects and system implementation undertakings fully reported? Capable controllers, reliable financial reporting and ‘in control statements’ established via protocol, often provide inadequate answers to these questions. Internal audit, in this context, is an excellent and successful tool. However, often only large organizations have sufficient mass to capacitate setting this up successfully themselves, hire quality human resources, and organize, carry out and evaluate professionaly. This is where EBBEN Partners can support your organization.
Governance is about the management and supervision of organizations.
How is Segregation of Duties arranged? How is integrity managed? What are the company’s values ? What is the organization’s view on leadership and culture ? This Governance area typically needs combination of managerial experience, legal expertise and expertise in the field of integrity.
Every company deals with risks. These risks may be strategic, operational or financial. With projects in the field of risk management, the challenge is to preserve the link with the business. Risk management can never be an end in itself, but must always add value by serving the interests of the organization. EBBEN Partners utilizes a proven method in which the connection is formed with the organizational objectives in a practical way. Within the strategic and operational reality, this method offers the possibility to make a translation into secondary objectives regarding the areas of integrity, security and legal control. This approach turns risk management from an expense into an investment that contributes to the business objectives. The business case remains central, while taking into account, among other things, the feasibility, cost-benefit considerations and priorities which then integrate seamlessly within the organization.