Fraud and where it can occur
While the nature of any fraud will be specific to the nature of the business and the opportunities offered to a potential fraudster, there are several common areas where fraud can occur.
Employees abusing their position
Most fraud impacts on the profit and loss account, where either expenses are overstated or income understated. Frauds here could range from a few pounds of fiddled expenses, where no one checks supporting documentation or reviews whether the claim made is reasonable, to more significant frauds.
These could involve the setting up of fabricated suppliers and the production of false invoices, or an employee who approves purchases working in collusion with a supplier.
Positions could also be abused where a business requests tenders. Here there is a risk of ‘kickbacks’ where the individuals involved in the tender process accept bribes or sweeteners from potential suppliers. This could result in inefficient contracts being signed perhaps for dubious quality goods.
The individual amounts involved in these types of fraud may not be large, so they can get overlooked for months and sometimes years. However, as time progresses the amounts involved can become substantial. Many fraudsters gain in confidence and the figures involved escalate. It is then that they are more likely to be discovered.
Nevertheless, the time taken to spot fraud is vital. It may make all the difference to cashflow as fraud drains a business of resources that it needs to grow.
Suppliers taking advantage
Where a business has few or weak checking procedures, a supplier may acknowledge this fact and take advantage. For example, fewer items may be delivered than those included on the delivery note. Invoices may include higher quantities or prices than those delivered and agreed.
This highlights the importance of checking both delivery notes and invoices and following up any discrepancies promptly.
Other risk areas
Theft of confidential information such as client or customer lists or intellectual property such as an industrial process could cause a business untold problem if these are stolen by unhappy employees.
Information could also be vulnerable to attack from outside. Advances in technological developments mean that businesses need to consider IT related risks. Nowadays it is often believed that the computer is always right, so less and less manual checks are being completed within an organisation as a result.
Certain types of organisation are at greater risk of fraud, for example those that are cash based can be more vulnerable due to the difficulties in implementing effective controls over cash.
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This article is for information and interest only. It is not a substitute for full professional advice, which will take in to account the specific and individual circumstances. Navigate Business Recovery Limited cannot accept any responsibility for any loss arising as a result of any person or organisation acting or refraining from acting on any information.