Alarmingly, research suggests that up to 50% of the perpetrators of fraud can be said to be “inside the business”. With this in mind, it is clear that instilling the correct culture in an organisation is a vital mechanism to prevent fraud, through a programme designed to foster loyalty and transparency. There are a number of key questions an organisation can ask itself to evaluate its culture. For example, do you:
- Ensure your pre-employment screening of new employees is sufficient?
- Communicate the ethical guidelines of the company?
- Make it clear that fraud will not be tolerated?
- Encourage company loyalty?
The following tips are offered by the Fraud Advisory Panel on how to best protect your business from fraud:
- Monitor your firm’s bank and credit card statement for unusual transactions.
- Conduct checks on your suppliers, contractors and biggest customers to make sure they are who they say they are.
- Make sure your staff are aware of the risks from theft and fraud and how to report it.
- Implement clear staff expense policies/procedures and monitor compliance.
- Check references for all new staff. Further checks may be needed as employees are promoted or require access to more confidential information.
- Adequately protect your IT systems and business information from the risks of cyber crime.
- Consider how you would respond to fraud if it was discovered in your organisation.
- Ensure that there is a separation of key duties; and that no one individual has disproportionate responsibility for the management or administration of payments, income or assets.
The SFO has recently called upon business, accountants and lawyers to make disclosures of fraud on a timely basis with the warning ‘call us before we call you’.