In recent years, Scotland’s economy has become increasingly international in scale. While Brexit negotiations create some debate over how we might trade with global markets in the future, it’s widely accepted that long term growth relies on the country maintaining trading ties with economies around the world.
But, while access to a global marketplace has provided a bounty of new opportunities for the business world, it has also created new challenges, including a rise in fraud.
Costing the taxpayer a staggering £190 billion a year, fraud is now the most common criminal offence in the UK. It’s challenging to pin down any main cause for an increase in cases. However, experts believe a growth in outsourcing and a greater focus on online business transactions have played their part in the complex picture.
Earlier this month,the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners launched International Fraud Awareness Week. The ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organisation, and Grant Thornton is one of hundreds of members, working hard to tackle a crisis, which is causing real problems for ambitious, growth-hungry companies.
Increasing broader awareness of the issue is a step in the right direction. But, as a business leader, you can take action right now. Take a step back from your day-to-day operational functions and look more closely at the practices you’re undertaking. Are there any risk factors? If so, what steps can you take to enhance security and prevent any future fraudulent activity.
Grant Thornton’s Forensics team in Scotland focuses on a wide range of aspects related to fraud. We can work with your business to undertake a full risk assessment, and implement and monitor systems and controls. Despite best intentions, some organisations will be defrauded at certain points in their life cycle. Should you be a victim of the crime, our team can undertake a full investigation and, thereafter, assist with the recovery of losses.
From cyber-attacks to the increase in mutli-jurisdictional investigations and disputes, businesses are facing greater risk and an ever-growing threat from fraudulent activity. The key to protecting your business is to plan for all scenarios and take a preventative approach, to ensure that your growth strategy isn’t damaged by criminal opportunism.
Stuart Preston is an Advisory Director and leads Grant Thornton’s Forensics and Restructuring team in Scotland.