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By Adam Turteltaub
Reuters recently ran an article about a pair of unusual whistleblowers. They didn’t work at the company they tipped off regulators to. They didn’t do business with the company. Their family members didn’t either.
The whistleblowers were a pair of analysts. One looked at the financials of the company, Orthofix International, and thought the numbers didn’t add up. He checked with a friend and professional colleague who took a look at the data and agreed. They told the government and, long story made short, the company reached an $8.25 million settlement with the SEC.
The case is a good reminder that not every whistleblower will be found within the four walls of your organization. With the amount of data publicly available and with a sharp mind, and sometimes with the help of a good algorithm, there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of people who can spot something wrong.
If these two whistleblowers receive a piece of the settlement, you can make a pretty safe bet that a lot of people will be putting your company’s numbers into algorithms of their own.
It has long been popular to ask the question, “How would this decision look on the front page of the New York Times?” Now it’s time to also start asking, “How would this decision look to a person at home with some analytic skills?”
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