Fraud can cause a lot of loss for a firm. Fraud in the workplace is common, and a firm might lose a lot of money if it fails to remove fraud that is happening within the organisation. It has been seen that even the employees themselves commit most of the fraud in the workplace. What’s more intriguing is the fact that the employees or ordinary workers who commit these acts of fraud do not actually see themselves as committing ‘fraud’.
For many of them, these are usual routine actions. For instance, taking office stationery home, asking for more expenses than are necessary, or asking for overtime wages when they have not actually worked overtime are some of the most common acts of fraud committed by employees. In fact, it is estimated that nearly £15bn is lost annually by UK companies due to these acts. But this is not only in the UK – such fraud in the workplace is committed all the time in all countries.
How can these acts of fraud be reduced?
The occurrence of fraud in the workplace should be nipped in the bud. First, employees should be educated and told that they are committing fraud, because most of the time, the employees are oblivious to this fact. Then, if the occurrences still continue, workplace investigations by Risq Fraud detection should begin.
Who should carry out the workplace investigation?
Preferably, a person from the workplace should be given this responsibility. This is because the person would know the workplace inside out and also know which employees can actually resort to such acts. The person appointed should be unbiased and objective in nature, and must first investigate which employees could actually do such things.
After zeroing in on the possible culprits, the employees must be informed that an investigation is being carried out against them. While the investigation is being carried out, the employee who is under doubt may be suspended if the employer so desires. This can be done so as to ensure the fairness of the investigation, especially if the fraud is of a great magnitude. An act of fraud of great magnitude involves tampering with the company’s records, among other things. These acts must be heavily punished so that they do not recur again, and investigations have to be carried out by reputed third parties like Risq Fraud Detection, especially in cases where there is no specialist in fraud investigation within the enterprise itself.
What to do in the occurrence of fraud
If the investigation has been carried out and the employee has been found guilty, the employer should seek out a response from the employee, but in written form first. The employee should be given a fixed time to respond. If the response is unsatisfactory, then the employee should be called in to a disciplinary meeting and can be accompanied by a colleague.
After the disciplinary meeting, the employer would decide on the right action. The employee’s contract might be suspended, a disciplinary warning might be issued (a disciplinary warning should be issued in written form and not otherwise), or the employee might be dismissed. It is advisable, however, not dismiss an employee if the employee’s records are otherwise clean.
Tina is a forensic accountant and fraud investigator based in Sweden. She specializes in risk management and writes on a freelance basis for services such as Risq Fraud detection, among others.