There’s now a wealth of research that shows that a well-trained workforce is one of your best defences against internal corruption.
There are many things that go into creating a robust ethical culture in an organisation. Among them, clear expectations around behaviour, a written and accessible code-of-conduct, leaders ‘walking the talk’, and the right ethical reporting tools being available to employees.
When it comes to tackling ethics and corruption however, nothing is quite as important as proper training.
The ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) has conducted extensive research on fraud awareness and the effects of training on organisations.
The group’s Report to the Nations – a 2020 global study on occupational fraud and abuse – looks at the costs, schemes, victims and perpetrators of fraud to examine how fraud is committed within businesses and how organisations can best respond to the threat.
What does that research show about fraud awareness training?
Firstly, that there’s much to be done. According to the research, around a third of all whistleblowers don’t use any formal reporting mechanism at all. Rather, they report their suspicions to supervisors, investigators, or “some other interested person”.
A further 7% of reports were made directly to law enforcement or regulators – something most organizations would hope to avoid in the first instance.
So the need is there. Training is one solution.
According to the report, organizations with fraud awareness training for employees were much more likely to gather tips through formal reporting mechanisms than those without.
On average, untrained staff will direct tips through formal mechanisms 37% of the time. With training, that rises to 56%.
Report It Now conducts fraud awareness training on behalf of organisations and can assist your ethics committee to ensure full compliance with the Protected Disclosures Act.
Tools of the trade
Another part of the solution? The right tools.
Tip offs are the most common way to detect fraud and account for around 43% of all cases. The ways in which whistleblowers are reporting their ethical concerns is changing however. Increasingly, tip offs come by way of email (33%) or web-based forms (32%), and less via telephone hotlines (33%).
Training also increases detection by tip, and tips are more likely to come through formal reporting mechanisms when training has been done.
Providing employees with multiple ethical reporting channels also increases the number of tip offs received, as well as speeds up fraud detection within the business and minimises losses from fraudulent activity within the business.
Industry is aware of the challenge
Use of targeted anti-fraud controls has increased over last ten years. Training, along with the implementation of anti-fraud policies, and increased use of hotlines and external reporting mechanisms has increased over the past decade as well.
Businesses like Report It Now work with organisations to empower employees, and create workplaces of honesty and integrity. Report It Now provides training and support for organisations, as well as independent and confidential reporting channels for employees, to minimise the risk from fraud and other unethical behaviour.
Fraud awareness training checklist
Do you have an ongoing ethical training system in place? ❐
Do employees know how to report unethical behaviour if they encounter it? ❐
Are secure, anonymous external reporting channels available to employees? ❐
Do employees know who to turn to if they need advice about an ethical issue? ❐
Is there a written code of conduct in place and is it available to employees? ❐