David Anderson is principal of David Anderson & Associates, a Philadelphia forensic accounting firm that provides a full range of fraud investigation, fraud deterrence programs and forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley.
Is, as many business executives and owners believe, performing a formal financial audit each year the most effective way of detecting and deterring fraud?
The answer, in a word, no.
Less than four percent of all fraud is detected by a formal financial audit; in fact, nearly twice as many frauds are discovered by accident than by formal audit.
So then, what is the best way to detect and prevent fraud? You might be surprised.
A recent “Report to the Nations” from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) shows tips are responsible for uncovering fraud more so than any other method. More than 39 percent of all frauds were exposed as the result of information provided by tipsters.
And who were the main source of these tips?
By far, the study showed, a company’s own employees are its best source of information about ongoing fraud. The ACFE reports a surprisingly high 52 percent of all frauds reported via tips came from company employees.
“Employees can be your first line of defense against fraud,” said Anderson, of David Anderson & Associates. “Employees may see fraudulent or suspicious activity but may be reluctant to be identified as the source of a tip, either because they fear retribution from other employees or because they’re not absolutely sure that fraud is occurring.”
So how do you encourage employees to come forward? The best way is to set up an anonymous tip hotline.
“Employees are far more willing to report illicit activity if their anonymity is protected,” said Anderson, a Certified Fraud Examiner and an ACFE member. “The anonymous tip hotline provides them with the vehicle they need to do the right thing and bring the fraud to the attention of people in charge.”
Companies do not have to set up the tip hotline themselves, Anderson said. Third-party companies can be hired for a reasonable fee to set up and operate the hotline to ensure employee confidentially. In fact, having an outside party manage the hotline further assures employees their identity will not be revealed by something they say or by speaking with someone who recognizes their voice.
In addition to tip hotlines, the ACFE Report referenced by Anderson shows many companies also are providing mechanisms for receiving tips through e-mail and/or through their websites.
Companies that provide tip hotlines for their employees typically find both the duration of fraudulent activity and amount of the losses are reduced by 50 percent.
A tip hotline is an important component of a comprehensive fraud deterrence program that, Anderson said, can be created by a firm that provides forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Anderson also said he urges organizations to protect themselves by contacting a Certified Fraud Examiner to conduct a thorough fraud investigation at the first sign of suspicious activity.
If you require the services of a Certified Fraud Examiner or any other forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, please contact the Philadelphia forensic accounting firm of David Anderson & Associates by calling David Anderson at 267-207-3597 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About David Anderson & Associates
David Anderson & Associates is a Philadelphia forensic accounting firm that provides a full range of forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. The experienced professionals at David Anderson & Associates provide forensic accounting, business valuation, fraud investigation, litigation support, economic damage analysis, business consulting and outsourced CFO services. Company principal David Anderson has more than 30 years of experience in financial and operational leadership positions and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Valuation Analyst.