I recently heard a fraud case study where informal communication was key. The case had to do with a large bottling company that uses fuel cards for its fleet of truck drivers. Last summer, when fuel costs were at their highest, the company reduced costs by $1.4 million. How? In addition to simple tests using both internal and credit card data, word of mouth played a big part. Fraudsters were using the cards during hours they weren't working. A few of them were confronted and the jig was up. Word spread like wildfire and the fraudulent activity ceased pretty quickly once the truck drivers knew their transactions were being monitored, not just tested randomly, but continuously. Following your investigation, you'll want to communicate your findings, your challenges and successes to management. Schedule a lunch n learn session within your organization, make it an agenda item at the next Board meeting, or contribute to the intranet or corporate newsletter.It can also be professionally rewarding to share your results with your peers by contributing to journals, webinars, and conferences through the ACFE, The IIA and other industry leaders.
If anyone was looking for an example of the benefits that continuous controls can bring to an enterprise, the state of the U.S. economy and the fall of some of the largest, most admired financial institutions in the last couple of years provide more than enough data. And instituting a continuous controls process focusing on risks related to fraud is likely now in the plan for many companies this year.
Check out this seven-step outline, provided by Dustin Lewis, CISA, a senior technical consultant with ACL Services, Ltd. for building an analytics-based program that will allow you to focus on risks that have the greatest chance of reducing shareholder value. For example:
Extended supply chain re: safety, quality, reliability of suppliers and processes
Is there a process to receive and act on regulatory comments or findings?
Are pricing strategies consistent with regulations and free from collusion?
Can you detect and avoid discrimination with customers, suppliers and employees?
Plus, by focusing on reducing the risk to shareholders, you make management happy, and this can result in a more robust, long-term fraud program.