Fraud cases are on the rise (1) and the profile of fraudsters is changing to include more young individuals seeking to fund extravagant lifestyles (2). As pressure on bank balances grows after the traditional Christmas excesses, ACE warns the first quarter is a time of heightened risk for employee fraud, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Jane Bennett, UK Product Line Head, Financial Institutions and Crime, ACE European Group (Photo: Business Wire)
Jane Bennett, UK Product Line Head, Financial Institutions and Crime, ACE European Group said: "In small and medium-sized businesses we can find that financial processes and controls may be less rigorous than in larger organisations. Based on our experience of working with these businesses, we know that the implementation of some relatively simple internal controls can drastically reduce the likelihood of fraud or at the least ensure that incidents are detected early."
To help employers mitigate the risk of fraud, ACE Group has identified a number of simple measures that SMEs can implement in order to safeguard their business during this period of heightened risk.
ACE Group's 10 tips for fraud prevention:
1. Regularly review or rotate the responsibility roster for payment authorisation, BACS payments, procurement and internal fund transfers
2. Check there is segregation of duties, for example between purchase requisitions and invoice payments
3. Test that financial controls are working adequately
4. Conduct thorough background screening on all finance hires before employment
5. Review bank access rights every six months
6. Ensure invoices can only be created by one central function
7. Introduce random external audits on a rotating basis in every country, even where audits are not mandatory
8. Ensure access passwords are changed every three months
9. Review your limits on transfers or payments regularly
10. Ensure that each location throughout the company carries out the same level of controls as expected at head office
Against a backdrop of rising fraud cases, ACE is seeing strong demand for its online fraud cover. Jane Bennett said: "A year ago we were the first insurer to offer a broad based crime cover online. Since then, we've seen a substantial increase in new enquiries, which goes to show how relevant the cover is, delivering tangible benefits to businesses of all shapes and size. This product provides real protection to their balance sheets safeguarding their day-to-day business activities".
ACE Group is one of the world's largest multiline property and casualty insurers. With operations in 54 countries, ACE provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. ACE Limited, the parent company of the ACE Group, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: ACE) and is a component of the S&P 500 index.
ACE UK Ireland's five regions are:
Ireland (Dublin and Belfast) Scotland (Glasgow, Aberdeen) The North (Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle) Midlands (Birmingham) London and South East (London, Maidstone, Reading, Watford)
Additional information can be found at: www.acegroup.com/uk
1 Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC's) Global Economic Crime Survey 2014
2 KPMG Fraud Barometer 2014
For further information, please contact:
Marketing Manager (PR Events)
020 7173 7489