I would like to bring to members’ attention, the invaluable work undertaken by the Fraud Advisory Panel, as it marks its 20th anniversary.
The Panel’s overriding mission is to enable as many people as possible to protect themselves against fraud. It does this by uniting counter fraud professionals of all kinds to provide expert advice, education and independent research to identify solutions to fraud problems.
ICAEW is a proud founder member of the Panel, which was formed as a result of a consultation by our Audit Faculty in 1997, when it identified the need for an independent and multidisciplinary fraud forum.
A Crucial Role
In a world increasingly interconnected and reliant on technology, particularly in finance, the work of the Panel is undoubtedly more important than ever.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales reports that in 2017, there were 3.2 million fraud offences, half of which were cyber-related. Other studies have reported similarly disturbing results – PwC found that 50% of businesses have experienced economic crime in the last two years, and BDO estimate the value of fraud in the UK last year to have hit a 15-year high of £2.11bn.
More companies are uncovering and reporting fraud, but a significant amount still goes undetected and undisclosed, and an immense amount of work already goes into staying one step ahead of the criminals.
A core part of the Panel’s remit is to connect those communities who can and do help to combat fraud, and who have an interest in doing so. The Panel partners with government, the police, charities, academics, and a range of professional bodies, to ensure a robust approach. I’m pleased to say that many of the largest accountancy firms are also corporate members of the Panel.
Today, the Panel has published a new report, Fraud Futures: understanding the old to prepare for the new. The report warns of the ongoing failures to properly prepare for the next generation of cybercriminals, and the subsequent potential for a new epidemic of economic crime.
It makes for compelling reading, and calls for security to become a fundamental and obligatory part of the development and certification of new technologies.
The Role of our Profession
As chartered accountants, we’re on the front line in overseeing and protecting the financial wellbeing of businesses, and wider economies. The qualities at the core of our profession – ethics, education and oversight – are key components in tackling fraud and corruption, and correlations have been identified between greater numbers of chartered accountants and lower levels of corruption.
I highly recommend members visit the Fraud Advisory Panel’s website at www.fraudadvisorypanel.org, for free resources on fraud prevention, detection, deterrence and response, and to consider becoming a member if you are not already.