A new national report offers a glimpse at the flip side — companies doing right by their investors and the public.
And, a prominent Vermont energy company ranked near the top of that list.
No, it's not Entergy Vermont Yankee.
But, it is a power company.
Forbes named Vermont's largest utility — Central Vermont Public Service one of the nation's most trustworthy companies. CVPS earned a score of 99 (out of 100). Only four companies ranked higher in its category of "small-cap" firms.
For the fourth year in a row, Forbes contracted with an outside auditing firm to develop a list of the top 100 companies in the United States.
"Events of the last few years—corporate scandals, bankruptcies, the recession — have greatly damaged investors' trust in some of the country's largest public companies," said Forbes in making its announcement. "We wanted to identify the most transparent and trustworthy businesses that trade on American exchanges."
Forbes used Audit Integrity, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm. In 2005, long before Lehman Brothers and American International Group (AIG) made headlines as their faulty investments threatened their very existence, Audit Integrity warned investors.
Audit Integrity found these 100 companies consistently demonstrated transparent and conservative accounting practices and solid corporate governance and management.
"These are the good guys," says Jack Zwingli, the chief executive of Audit Integrity. "They've consistently shown accuracy and transparency in their financial reporting."
CVPS welcomed the accolade.
"Open, honest financial reporting and communications are critical to investors, lenders, regulators and our employees and customers. We strive to be accurate, complete and transparent, and this ranking is evidence that we are hitting the mark," said CVPS CEO Robert Young. "This is a tremendous acknowledgment of everyone involved in our financial reporting, accounting and communications efforts.”
Several years ago, CVPS invested in a company-wide effort to ensure honesty and transparency in its financial and performance reports, say company officials.
Not a bad return on the investment.