It probably comes as no surprise that the federal government is not as technologically advanced in terms of fraud fighting tools as the private sector. Commercial enterprises are created to make money, or in the case of non-profits, to further a cause. Some would argue that government is only in place to spend money. However you look at it, the government has never done well at fighting fraud, whether internal or external. The Pentagon’s $900 toilet seat comes to mind. Or Social Security checks continuing to be sent to those long deceased. Most of us have wondered how that kind of fraud and mismanagement could go on undetected and seemingly without end.
Corporations more intent on increasing revenues and growing their business (their cause) see the value in process automation. They know they can save money and grow profits in the future by wisely investing in their infrastructure today. One way they do that is by using the latest tools and technology to automate those processes, whether it’s an operational issue or a matter of ethics and compliance. We now have a host of high-tech systems at our disposal which can improve corporate fraud prevention efforts, such as integrated hotline systems, incident tracking and management applications, and data visualization tools optimized for governance, risk and compliance use.
But maybe the government is catching up. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set up the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) to provide transparency of Recovery-related funds and to prevent and detect fraud, waste and mismanagement. The Board uses analytics and business intelligence tools to uncover things like identity theft and bad data which leads to lost assets. It may be a very long time indeed before the feds can launch a truly integrated GRC system that can proactively capture fraud reports and process them through a case management application, and link it all together with a reporting and analytics toolkit. Still, give them credit for what headway they’ve made.