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“Not Me”: EMEA Fraud Survey Points Out the Need for Improved Anti-Corruption Policies

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“Not Me”: EMEA Fraud Survey Points Out the Need for Improved Anti-Corruption Policies

If you read last Wednesday’s article in Compliance Week on Ernest & Young’s 2013 EMEA Fraud Survey you were probably appalled. Of the more than 3,000 top officials and managers polled, 57% believe that fraudlent behavior happens frequently in their home countries. However, only 26% acknowledge that corruption happens within their organizations. Whether this discrepancy means that only ethical companies participated in the survey, respondents were fearful of reporting corruption within their industries or some other influencer was in play, the fact remains that over half of participants site corruption and fraud as a common business occurence.

There’s a big discrepancy, too, between how execs see the issue and how non-management employees see it. Sixty-seven percent of directors and senior managers believe that their commitment to anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies has been communicated strongly, compared with 44% of other employees. The question here isn’t really which number is correct. The question should be: “is either number exceptable?” The answer is no. Even if 67% of employees feel that they have received exemplary education and training on anti-corruption and anti-bribery, that still leaves another 1/3 who feel uninformed. It doesn’t take 1/3 of an organization to bring on a lawsuit, it only takes one employee.

According to David L. Staud, E&Y’s Global Leader for Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services, “an alarming number of executives are aware — or even comfortable with — unethical conduct.” Corruption is seen as a necessary evil by sales and marketing representatives. More than 25% of employees admitted they accept gifts and services to keep or win business and one in six go as far as stating that their company’s compliance policies negatively affect their ability to do business. These figures make it easy to see why 57% of executives believe that fraud and corruption problems exist — employees are reporting unethical behavior first hand!

With the threat of compliance lawsuits, companies today cannot afford to blindly believe “not me.” Challenge your organization to educate and inform you on anti-corruption policies. Ask for engaging anti-corruption training (i.e. interactive programs, videos, quizzes) to protect your corporation from future legal attacks and sizeable payouts and to make sure YOU still have a job.

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