The values associated with workplace fraud continue to rise- especially during economic downturns. Preventing workplace fraud begins on the inside of an organization. One of the largest fraud risks companies must address is the opportunity for fraud to occur. There are a number of anti-fraud techniques and systems that are easy to implement within any organization. When fraud grows out of control within an organization, reputations and public trust are destroyed. To reduce the opportunity for fraud to occur, accounting and money handling responsibilities must be divided. Monitoring and enforcement of anti-fraud programs is necessary in order for the program to be effective and for employees to take it seriously. When employees know they are being watched, their work is being reviewed on a consistent basis and punishments are administered to those who violate anti-fraud policies, there’s less room for fraud to go undetected.
An effective system of internal checks and balances greatly reduces and may even eliminate all opportunity for workplace fraud to occur. Here are 4 tips to help reduce the opportunity for fraud in the workplace:
1. Dividing Responsibility
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Create a small team to handle the money handling and accounting responsibilities. This makes it easier to identify any misallocated funds or errors that could lead to the discovery of a fraud scheme. Dividing responsibilities decreases the opportunity for fraud, as different employees are responsible for separate tasks, making it difficult to explain missing funds or expense forms. Make it known that all financial reports and corporate bank accounts are reviewed item by item- any expenses or charges out of the ordinary will be questioned and investigated. If employees are aware that bank statements and other documents are never reviewed, the opportunity to commit fraud is wide open.
Monitoring the anti-fraud program is one of the key success factors in reducing the opportunity for workplace fraud. Implementing anti-fraud systems to detect and deter fraud isn’t enough. Monitoring and assessing identified fraud risks must become an ongoing processes in order for employees to understand the company’s commitment to fighting fraud. The article “The Importance of Antifraud Programs and Controls,” published by Deloitte Canada addresses the importance of monitoring anti-fraud programs:
“A final step for management and audit committees is the monitoring of the quality and effectiveness of an entity’s antifraud programs and controls. Monitoring can be done in two ways: through ongoing activities or separate evaluations. Separate evaluations can be performed by internal audit or other interested parties, such as business process owners. Monitoring activities can include timely reconciliations, confirmation of information by external parties, and periodic confirmations from personnel that they understand and comply with the company’s code of conduct.”
3. Anonymous Reporting System
A reporting system must be established in order to allow those who have observed fraud to report it. Reporting systems help reduce the opportunity for workplace fraud, as employees are less likely to commit fraudulent acts, knowing that their fellow employees are watching and are equipped with the proper resources for calling them out on their actions. Many companies receive tips related to workplace fraud through a whistleblower hotline or internal HR teams. Implement a system that provides the opportunity for anonymous reporting, as some individuals will be more apt to bring information forward if they don’t have to expose their identity. Opt for a case management software solution that can be easily integrated to work with existing hotline or reporting systems and platforms, allowing for simplified, multi-channel case entry. A system that supports multi-channel case entry is important, as tips and reports of observed misconduct can be made via an Internet web form, company intranet and telephone hotline.
4. Effective Case Management
Effective case management reduces the opportunity for fraud within the workplace by providing managers with the ability to launch investigations into fraud-related incidents as soon as a new case is entered. i-Sight for Fraud Investigations uses automatic alerts to notify managers when a new case is entered. Reducing the time it takes to respond to cases, as well as conducting timely investigations, helps end fraudulent acts before they compromise the entire company.
i-Sight dashboards provide managers with the tools to identify common allegations or investigation types, analyze cases by geographic location or other relevant variable and spot patterns and emerging trends. Dashboards communicate complex information quickly. They translate corporate data into rich, graphical presentations using gauges, maps, charts, and other graphics to show multiple results together. Dynamic dashboards also let investigation managers drill-through to other data sources and reports for more detail about what the dashboard is communicating. This is useful for monitoring and tracking fraud related tips and investigations, as the ability to understand the frequency and location of fraudulent events within an organization allows managers to revisit these areas and make amendments to the anti-fraud program.