The High Cost of Unethical Vendors


Recent market research conducted for two clients in completely different industries revealed that being ethical people was one of their greatest differentiators. As much as we are glad that our clients are ethical people, it seems sad that being ethical is a unique selling proposition (USP) these days.

Some industries are burdened with bad reputations that may have been earned a long time ago.  Our construction industry clients know all of the jokes and the stories about pay to play plus they still occasionally have to address a prospective customer’s assumption that they use wire-taps to learn competitors’ prices.

Would you have expected that ethics would be a compelling differentiator in international payroll processing?  Accuracy and full disclosure is expected from accountants handling payroll…right? A recent survey of 500 (titles) conducted by Secor Relocation and the Forum for Expatriate Management surfaced that less than 20% of the responding mobility professionals fully trust the accuracy of the payroll numbers being done for their expatriates.

It’s a mobility industry-wide dynamic that can easily cost any single company millions of dollars every year while also putting the organization at significant compliance risk,” shares David Leboff President of Expaticore Services LLC.  “Incredibly, the effort to raise the visibility and magnitude of the costs and risks to appropriate levels of an organization is typically underwhelming.  And no fix can be initiated without the backing of those with the authority to do so.  Some of the responsibility for this shielding can be placed on accountable internal resources who may not have the budget or horsepower to fix on their own.  But it also rests squarely on those advisors who are concerned that raising the issue may tar them with some responsibility, or even liability if they are paid and profiting as part of a defective payroll process. “

Would you have expected that being ethical would be a differentiator for a legal search firm? There are lawyers involved. And maybe recruiters aren’t always known for their transparency either. OK, maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised.  I’ll give you that.  When I asked the President of Princeton Legal Search Group, Inc., David Garber said, “It still seems amazing to us how many of our clients (law firms, universities and large corporations) view us as being SO different because we say what we mean and mean what we say.  Ethics, integrity and honesty are very important to our clients. We now provide our clients with copies of our code of conduct (which goes well beyond industry standards) and we have adopted a client bill of rights.  Not everyone can work in a firm like ours, but professionals who value ethics and honor do seem to gravitate to us.”

How much money does your company spend on… or should I say LOSE TO… unethical vendors?                           


Aldonna R. Ambler, CMC, CSP has earned the right to be called THE GROWTH STRATEGIST®. She has won over 2 dozen national and statewide “entrepreneur of the year” awards for the resilient growth of her international businesses across 4 recessions.  Her midsized BtoB clients get on…and then stay on…the published lists of the fastest growing privately held companies. She owns and operates a suite of companies that help privately held midsized companies achieving accelerated growth with sustained profitability® through opportunity & resource analysis, 4 approaches to strategic planning, executive advisory services, growth financing, and targeted search.  2012 is Ambler’s 8th year hosting a weekly peer-to-peer-to-peer syndicated on line talk show that features interviews with CEOs/Presidents of midsized companies (typically between $20 and 200 Mil/yr) sharing success tips about the growth strategy-of-the-week. An archive of over 300 interviews is available She can be reached toll free at 1-888-Aldonna or at    

About Aldonna Ambler:
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.

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