How to prevent fraud and corruption in the workplace

Part 2 of our series on fraud and corruption.

Fraud can often seem like a distant, theoretical concept that has no direct impact on our lives- and yet, they do. When it comes to fraud and corruption, the actions of all personnel have a significant effect on the business. It is vital that all companies have a fraud prevention plan in place, and that employees are aware of this plan.

Fraud can come in many forms but can be compartmentalised according to three categories: asset misappropriation, corruption and financial statement fraud. It is important to understand that fraud and corruption come in different forms, as this will make them easier to identify and counter.

A key deterrent of fraud and corruption is prevention and awareness. This includes the processes of denial or opportunity, effective leadership and oversight, pre-employee screening and auditing. These processes have been deemed effective in curbing fraud and corruption.

All employees must be encouraged to maintain and embody the company’s ethics, and values and managers must lead by example.

There are several steps that companies can implement to fight fraud, which include:

* Know your employees: familiarise yourself with your employees to identify potential fraud risk.

* Set up a fraud reporting system: Give employees a safe way to report suspicious activities and make them aware of possible warning signs.

* Implement internal controls: enforce plans and programs to monitor and investigate transactions.

* Monitor vacation balances: it might sound like dedication when an employee hasn’t missed work in years, but this can often be a sign that employees have something to hide.

* Hire experts: use professional agencies to monitor and prevent fraudulent activities.

* Live the corporate culture: a positive work environment can prevent employee fraud and theft

* Have a written ethics policy: There should be a transparent organisation structure with written policies and procedures.

* Segregate duties, to prevent one person from undertaking an entire deal on their own.

* Create a perception of detection

Fraud can affect any company, any time. By employing these methods and remaining vigilant, one can prevent fraud from damaging your business activities.

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