Beat the con-artist’s fraud fetish

November 12, 2014

As businesses around the globe focus on the upcoming ‘International Fraud Awareness Week’, iFacts takes a look at how critical it is for management to concentrate on the effects of corporate fraud and the importance of anti-fraud training and education in the workplace.

International Fraud Awareness Week takes place from 16 – 22 November 2014. We encourage business leaders and employees to join us at iFacts, having also just signed on to this global initiative to minimise the impact of fraud. International Fraud Awareness Week is dedicated to fraud awareness, detection and prevention.

This vibrant campaign, sponsored by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and supported by hundreds of organisations worldwide, is critical at a time when word is out that companies around the world are losing an estimated 5% of annual revenue to fraud.

We all know economic crime is a worry in faraway lands, but the stats of local companies being subjected to some sort of fraud, are terrifying. In fact, a recent survey – which involved over 5 000 respondents from over 90 countries – showed at least 69% of South African respondents revealed they had been subjected to some form of fraud, bribery or corruption in the past two years, compared to 37% of global respondents.

The truth is, employee crime threatens business profitability, tarnishes corporate image and compromises the integrity of a team. Businesses need to deal with deceit quickly, professionally and effectively, before too much damage is done.

What’s comforting to know is it’s never too late to introduce a formal programme to safeguard against employee fraud – no matter how small or large the organisation. Deception, hoaxes, imposters and cheats, must simply not be tolerated.

The iFacts philosophy about corporate crime is clear. Our holistic and proactive approach to fraudsters encompasses regular employee screening, the implementation of an effective fraud prevention programme and the introduction of ethics and integrity training and testing.

Here, in a nutshell, are five basic steps to follow to make sure you rid your team of any scams, swindles or devious schemes.

Step one: Formalise a fraud policy that suits the nature of your business
The services of a professional consultancy, with extensive experience and a proven reputation in fraud prevention, is highly recommended. By introducing a formal code of ethics for management and employees, you will reduce your company’s vulnerability to fraud.

Step two: Take a close look at your company’s hiring policy and procedures
Be sure to formalise an employee screening policy which includes checking on qualifications, credibility and employment history.

Step three: Design a company-specific fraud training programme in-house
The introduction of a customised anti-fraud training programme is highly effective in uniting the team in a company’s efforts to prevent corruption. Every employee should participate in this training, regardless of his or her position within the organisation.

Step four: Establish an anonymous hotline for reporting suspicious conduct
Make sure your team knows there is no crime in being a whistle-blower. Boast about a discreet tip-off facility for employees, contractors and clients, where there is no worry of retribution. Hotlines are known to significantly reduce deception.

Step five: Open all communication channels
It’s important employees are aware of the consequences of misconduct. Punishment for wrongdoing, which could mean termination and even prosecution, must be very clear. We encourage you to sign up to become an official supporter of International Fraud Awareness Week’. Go to www.fraudweek.com and learn more about protecting you business from fraud.

By signing up to become an official supporter of International Fraud Awareness Week, your organisation will receive recognition on ADFE’s website.

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