Fraud Survey 2015
Fraud and corruption – the easy option for growth?
EY’s 14th EMEIA Fraud Survey has found that 50% of Irish participants believe bribery and corruption is widespread in Ireland. Whilst only 1% of Irish respondents stated they would deliberately misstate their financial position, when asked, one third of Irish businesses considered entering some form of arrangement with suppliers to present a better financial position, justifiable.
Our report also shows that 60% of respondents said that they do not feel that they can report negative financial performance to head office management, in an open and transparent manner.
Our report, which polled 3.800 employees of large companies in 38 countries, highlights that 35% of Irish respondents, whose businesses have experienced growth in the last two years rate their company’s ethical standards when doing business as very good, indicating that compliance and growth can work together. However 26% of respondents consider some form of financial misstatement had occured in their company in the last 12 months.
The picture painted by these statistics could lead to the conclusion that in Ireland, whilst no one would actively misstate their financial results, where there is flexibility to present a better financial position through, say, delaying invoicing, they would take this option. This coupled with the pressure of feeling that bad news cannot be reported can lead to an environment where non compliance is seen as an option.
Another interesting point that can be drawn from our survey from the last 3 years is a review of the percentage of Irish respondents who believed that offering cash payments was acceptable in order to help business survive – 17% in 2015, 2% in 2014 and 20% in 2013. The respondents were drawn from the C-Suite in 2014 versus a broader business audience in 2013 and 2015 which indicates that anti-compliance messages might not be flowing through to all levels within organisations.
Compared to other sectors and previous surveys, the results show that organisations have responded over the years and are doing more to focus on compliance and staff behaviours but there is still a huge gap. Growth can be achieved while appropriately managing risk of fraud and corruption so it is critical that senior management sustain a high level of engagement with the key issues facing them. Effective compliance is not a barrier to growth – it is a requirement for continued and sustained success.