Fraud Risk Management And Corporate Governance Accounting Essay

The writers experience as an comptroller, caput of internal audit and fraud tester is that company direction are surely concerned about the fraud hazard but are frequently ill-defined about the allotment of duties, peculiarly for monitoring and probe. The absence of fraud policies and eventuality programs is still common and in his yearss in the insurance industry the writer realised the demand to make full this peculiar spread and, really shortly thenceforth, the demand to develop expertness and to happen beginnings of counsel. Based on this experience and holding done many things incorrectly, out of ignorance, when he foremost confronted existent fraud, the writer has developed his ain thoughts. He has shared these through speech production at conferences and lending stuff to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, whose aid and influence on his thoughts and patterns he appreciatively acknowledges, and besides by extended networking both informally and officially. Until earlier this twelvemonth, the writer was president of the IIA ‘s Banking and Financial Services Group and he has long been a commission member for the London Investment Banking Association ‘s Internal Audit Committee and the ACCA ‘s Internal Audit Members ‘ Network Panel, and besides a member of the London Fraud Group.

The writer has late reviewed his patterns following the recognition crisis and reflecting on the United Kingdom ‘s ensuing corporate administration reappraisal and accent on board degree hazard inadvertence. This is relevant to put on the line direction by and large but no less to fraud hazard direction specifically.

Sir David Walker ‘s interim study, “ A reappraisal of corporate administration in UK Bankss and other fiscal industry entities ” , envisages a demand for a greater committedness of clip by non-executive managers ( peculiarly for the president ) , more fiscal industry experience and incontrovertible independency of head. Oversight of wage will necessitate non-executive managers to concentrate on hazard affairs and boards to be much more involved in high degree hazard direction.

The interim study does non knock the Combined Code ‘s “ comply or explain ” attack.

The study ‘s cardinal recommendations include the followers:

1. Establish a board hazard commission individually from the audit commission with duty for inadvertence and advice to the board on the current hazard exposures of the entity and hereafter hazard scheme.

2. The board hazard commission ( or board ) hazard study should be included as a separate study within the one-year study and histories, including information on the cardinal exposures built-in in the scheme and the associated hazard tolerance. Its cardinal rules should be:

aˆ? strategic focal point ;

aˆ? frontward looking ;

aˆ? hazard direction patterns.

3. For any proposed strategic dealing the board hazard commission should supervise a due diligence assessment of the proposition.

4. The board should be served by a CRO who should take part in the hazard direction and inadvertence procedure at the highest degree.

5. The remit of the wage commission should be extended where necessary to cover all facets of wage policy on a firm-wide footing with peculiar accent on the hazard dimension.

6. Deferral of incentive payments should supply the primary hazard accommodation mechanism. 7. For at least one-half of the variable wage, half of the award should enthrone after non less than three old ages and the balance after five old ages. Claw back should be used in limited fortunes of misstatement and misconduct.

8. The wage commission should seek advice from the board hazard commission on an arm’s-length footing on specific hazard accommodations to be applied to public presentation aims set.

9. Thematic concern consciousness Sessionss for non-executive managers.

10. The board treatment and decision-taking on hazard affairs is based on accurate and suitably comprehensive information.

Hazard theoretical account

It is best pattern to hold a hazard theoretical account covering all hazards including fraud hazards. These fraud hazards would so be mitigated by internal fiscal controls. The hazard theoretical account should be prepared by direction, typically facilitated by the hazard directors.

It is of import to strike the right balance between finding a hazard theoretical account which, on the one manus, is either generic or merely tailored to the industry sector and, on the other manus, is excessively cluttered so that the nature of the hazard is lost. Possibly a greater concern is that each portion of the company or group inconsistently interprets things and the cut-off between major and minor hazards is wildly different.

Where possible, pecuniary values should be attributed in order to reflect the gross ( built-in ) hazards and the benefits of extenuation in order to get at the net ( residuary ) hazard as follows:

aˆ? Inherent hazard: gross “ impact ” and “ chance ” scores giving “ hazard ” ( chance x impact ) ;

aˆ? Mitigation/control: factors to cut down “ impact ” and “ chance ” tonss ;

aˆ? Residual hazard: net tonss.

Risk appetency should hold already been determined ( by the board or one of its Committees ) for the assorted hazard classs, including fraud hazards.

Because there is no risk-reward equation for operational hazards including fraud hazards, the hazard appetency may be defined as “ zero tolerance ” . This can show a practical quandary to the hazard direction map ; e.g. what is the stance with staff who take pencils place on a “ swings and traffic circles ” footing?

The hazard theoretical account ought to be presented to the board, or one of its commissions ( such as the audit commission ) , for reappraisal and to see the demand for control betterments ; *Comp. Law. 99 typically where the degree of residuary hazard is considered to be excessively high.


Management and staff, at all degrees, now become responsible for:

aˆ? commanding activities and operations in line with this hazard theoretical account ;

aˆ? updating the hazard theoretical account ;

aˆ? seeking appropriate chances to cut down hazard in conformity with the hazard appetency ;

aˆ? keeping audit trails ;

aˆ? watchfulness in instance controls are circumvented or targeted ;

aˆ? reexamining detective controls such as logs, exclusion studies and rapprochements which might bespeak, shortly after fraud is committed, what has happened.

Hazard directors are responsible for such things as:

aˆ? disputing the hazard theoretical account ;

aˆ? monitoring controls and their effectivity ; aˆ? reexamining audit trails ;

aˆ? coverage concerns to direction for remedial action.

Fraud probe would usually be performed by specialist security staff or, in their absence by internal hearers with an ACFE or tantamount making. The probe procedures are non covered in this article ; nevertheless, the undermentioned demands should be met:

aˆ? be punctilious non merely in following the trail but in documenting the probe and the grounds ;

aˆ? objectiveness leads to fairness ;

aˆ? merely those who know how to interview should make it and they may be different people from those who know how to follow the paper trail ;

aˆ? it is imperative to larn and action the control lessons.

The function of internal audit

Where there is an independent internal audit map, it excessively ought to reexamine the hazard theoretical account and besides the mode in which the duties set out above are discharged. In carry oning this independent assessment of the group ‘s hazard direction procedures, internal audit should dispute all controls, fiscal and otherwise.

Once internal audit is content with the truth and unity of the hazard theoretical account it is appropriate to map the internal audit existence against it. The integrated audit hazard theoretical account therefore derived may be presented so that audit planning is now based on the extent of hazard extenuation, as asserted by direction and relied upon by the board.

As an illustration the planned audit frequence of each hazard may be as follows:

aˆ? Red: high hazards, which have combined mitigating hazard factors ( impact and chance ) exceeding, say, ?150 million. These are to be audited every twelvemonth. In add-on certain hazards that have combined mitigating hazard factors of less than ?150 million may be included as red, where there is a separate demand for an one-year audit.

aˆ? Amber: medium hazards, which have combined mitigating hazard factors ( impact and chance ) between, say, ?25 million and ?150 million. These are to be audited every two old ages.

aˆ? Green: Low hazards, which have combined mitigating hazard factors ( impact and chance ) of less than ?25 million. These are to be audited every three old ages.

Hazard analysis ( appraisal ) is used to put each of the countries or activities into a precedence class and as a consequence the coveted frequence and degree of audit screen is assessed for each country. The audit resource for each audit is estimated and as a consequence the entire audit resource demand for the extroverted periods can be calculated. It is indispensable to modulate the work load so as to flush out extremums and troughs in audit resource demands. The resource demand is so matched to prognosiss of available audit staff to place any enlisting demands, taking into history the assorted accomplishment and experience degrees required. Allowance must ever be made for unplanned work and particular undertakings.

The internal audit section is required to prove and thereby either to give confidence on cardinal controls to direction and the audit commission or to describe on failings and high residuary exposures. It besides assists direction by measuring and describing to them on the adequateness and effectivity of the controls for which they are responsible.

However, it remains the responsibility of direction, non internal audit, to run an adequate and effectual system of internal control. It is for direction to find whether or non to accept audit recommendations and to recognize and accept the hazard of non taking action ; the board defined hazard appetency will be its usher.

When go arounding the bill of exchange audit study it is good pattern to add on the relevant part of the hazard theoretical account and to cross-reference both positive confidence findings and the reported failings. Subsequently these challenges to the hazard theoretical account can be advised to the hazard directors. The hazard directors should besides be apprised of any operational mistakes that should hold been on their incident log. Furthermore, for fiscal services companies, the internal audit section should hold regular meetings with the regulative conformity and hazard direction maps ; nevertheless, these three maps are separate in footings of their duties. In the Financial Service Authority ‘s “ three lines of defense mechanism ” , conformity aids direction in the first line ; hazard direction provides a 2nd line ; and internal audit the 3rd line.

The expected internal audit accomplishment set will include:

1. comprehensiveness of cognition over group operations ;

2. independency and objectiveness ;

3. ruddy flag grasp ( though with fraud hazard this varies from one hearer to another and, in the writer ‘s experience, most have less awareness than ACFEs ) ;

4. hazard theoretical account cognition of all hazards including fraud ;

5. confidence through proving and facilitation ;

6. recommendations for betterments through high profile internal audit studies.

An incorporate attack to fraud hazard direction

Fiscal offense

Fiscal offense is defined by the Financial Services Authority as covering fraud and money laundering. The demand is that:

“ A house must take sensible attention to set up and keep effectual systems and controls for conformity with applicable demands and criterions under the regulative system and for countering the hazard that the house might be used to further fiscal offense. ”

In most industries this can be supplemented by the demand to guard against counterfeiting and the larceny of rational belongings.

*Comp. Law. 100 Risk appetency

This should be determined by the board and so interpreted by direction.

Fraud policy

The company ‘s policy needs to be specific and to cite illustrations of fraud strategies that it faces within its industry sector and countries of operation, including geographical countries.


Those internal controls which seek to forestall fraud demand to be targeted at the particular frauds that the company faces. Equally good as obvious controls, such as reappraisal and mandate, it is critical to hold effectual segregation of responsibilities. A consideration of the hazard of collusion is of import excessively.


This involves those internal controls that check after the event whether fraud, an unauthorized dealing or an mistake has occurred, so that prompt disciplinary action can be taken. Reconciliation controls and log reappraisals are illustrations. It is the effectivity of this sort of monitoring that becomes critical if hapless segregation of responsibilities or collusion are go oning.

Red flags may go evident through pattern observation and behavioral consciousness.

Fraud consciousness

Staff consciousness is built up over clip based on experience but needs to be guided by understanding the fraud policy and by direction and staff preparation. Debriefing on existent frauds which the company has prosecuted, if any, is helpful in doing the whole procedure seem less academic. Repeating the message as staff advancement through the direction preparation programme is desirable.

The Financial Services Authority requires the execution of a whistle-blowing procedure for suspected frauds which could be via a dedicated hotline.

Fraud scrutinizing

It is deserving retrieving that historically internal hearers received hazards and controls developing but small existent fraud preparation. Clearly some internal hearers have built on this but others have non and eschew the function of “ corporate police officer ” .

As will be discussed subsequently, the fraud related function of internal audit will differ significantly from its function in scrutinizing other hazards. In add-on to executing regular proving via the one-year audit program, a dedicated quarterly or one-year reappraisal may be desirable depending upon the nature and graduated table of the hazard.

The usage of computing machine assisted audit techniques ( CAATS ) based upon file and database questions, informations matching and excavation utilizing specializer package and re-performance of exclusion studies are to be encouraged.

Eventuality planning

As portion of concern continuity planning, it is necessary to do containment and recovery commissariats specific to fraud, including the embarrassment factor. If stuff, an immediate response is likely with a strong human resource angle as the consequence on people within and outside the concern can be ruinous.

Specialist accomplishments may necessitate to be available or out-sourced including plus tracing.

Lessons must be learnt based upon unpleasant experiences and the function of internal audit in this should be included.

An extra fraud hazard reappraisal

In add-on to dispatching the traditional map of internal audit, as set out above, there is an chance to take part further in the corporate administration procedure in visible radiation of the fraud hazard challenge.

In the United States, A§404 ( a ) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 topographic points specific demands on the direction of companies and on their external hearers:

aˆ? Company direction is required to measure the effectivity of the company ‘s internal control over fiscal coverage, as of the terminal of the company ‘s most recent fiscal twelvemonth, and to unwrap in the one-year study the decisions of this appraisal.

aˆ? A company ‘s external hearers are so required to certify to the adequateness of direction ‘s assessment effectivity of the company ‘s internal control over fiscal coverage.

In the United Kingdom, the Combined Code ( C2 and & A ; C2.1 ) supplements LSE listing demands:

aˆ? C.2: “ The board should keep a sound system of internal control to safeguard stockholders ‘ investings and the company ‘s assets. ”

aˆ? C.2.1: “ The board should, at least yearly, conduct a reappraisal of the effectivity of the group ‘s system of internal control and should describe to stockholders that they have done so. The reappraisal should cover all stuff controls, including fiscal, operational and conformity controls and hazard direction systems. ”

Implementation advice is followed via the Turnbull Committee: Internal Control Guidance for Directors, which clarified to boards of managers what is expected of them. Mention can be made to the undermentioned Guidance Points:

The Board ‘s one-year reappraisal of control effectivity

“ 26: Effective monitoring on a uninterrupted footing is an indispensable constituent of a sound system of internal control. The board can non, nevertheless, rely entirely on the embedded monitoring procedures within the company to dispatch its duties. It should on a regular basis have and reexamine studies on internal control. In add-on, the board should set about an one-year appraisal for the intents of doing its public statement on internal control to guarantee that it has considered all important facets of internal control for the company for the twelvemonth under reappraisal and up to the day of the month of blessing of the one-year study and histories. ”

Embedded control systems and describing

“ 21: The system of internal control should:

aˆ? be embedded in the operations of the company and form portion of its civilization ;

aˆ? be capable of reacting rapidly to germinating hazards to the concern originating from factors within the company and to alterations in the concern environment ; and

aˆ? include processs for describing instantly to appropriate degrees of direction any important control weaknesss or failings that are identified *Comp. Law. 101 together with inside informations of disciplinary action being undertaken.

22: A sound system of internal control reduces, but can non extinguish, the possibility of hapless opinion in decision-making ; human mistake ; control processes being intentionally circumvented by employees and others ; direction overriding controls ; and the happening of unforeseeable fortunes.

26: Effective monitoring on a uninterrupted footing is an indispensable constituent of a sound system of internal control. The board can non, nevertheless, rely entirely on the embedded monitoring procedures within the company to dispatch its duties. It should on a regular basis have and reexamine studies on internal control. In add-on, the board should set about an one-year appraisal for the intents of doing its public statement on internal control to guarantee that it has considered all important facets of internal control for the company for the twelvemonth under reappraisal and up to the day of the month of blessing of the one-year study and histories.

31: The board ‘s one-year appraisal should, in peculiar, see:

aˆ? the alterations since the last one-year appraisal in the nature and extent of important hazards and the company ‘s ability to react to alterations in its concern and the external environment ;

aˆ? the range and quality of direction ‘s ongoing monitoring of hazards and of the system of internal control, and, where applicable, the work of its internal audit map and other suppliers of confidence ;

aˆ? the extent and frequence of the communicating of the consequences of the monitoring to the board ( or board commission ( s ) ) which enables it to construct up a cumulative appraisal of the province of control in the company and the effectivity with which hazard is being managed ;

aˆ? the incidence of important control weaknesss or failings that have been identified at any clip during the period and the extent to which they have resulted in unanticipated results or eventualities that have had, could hold had, or may in the hereafter have, a material impact on the company ‘s fiscal public presentation or status ; and

aˆ? the effectivity of the company ‘s public coverage procedures. ”

Fiscal hazards, sensing of fraud and policies on internal control

“ 3: Effective fiscal controls, including the care of proper accounting records, are an of import component of internal control. They help guarantee that the company is non unnecessarily exposed to evitable fiscal hazards and that fiscal information used within the concern and for publication is dependable. They besides contribute to the safeguarding of assets, including the bar and sensing of fraud.

“ 15: The Board of Directors is responsible for the company ‘s system of internal control. It should put appropriate policies on internal control and seek regular confidence aˆ¦ [ it must guarantee that ] the system of internal control is effectual in pull offing hazards aˆ¦ . ”

The inquiry arises as to how best to follow each twelvemonth with these demands and outlooks. If the managers set control policy, and direction is responsible for commanding activities and operations in line with this hazard theoretical account, and hazard direction staff are responsible for supervising twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours, where is the regular confidence to come from?

Typically the board, via its audit commission, will look to direction to agenda and nowadays to them, each twelvemonth, its cardinal hazard exposures and controls. Internal audit is expected to non merely orientate its risk-based audit program around this but besides to supply confidence. There is a peculiarly high outlook on the audit commission to concentrate on internal fiscal hazards and controls, including fraud.

If hazard direction processs are resilient to fraud they are resilient to most operational hazard and this helps direction and managers discharge their responsibilities. Fraud differs from other hazards in its obliqueness. It targets failings, and the systematic and deliberate devastation or amendment of audit trails is often a factor.

The function of internal audit in relation to fraud hazards therefore differs from its scrutinizing in relation to other hazards.

For “ bar ” controls we need to trust less on proving their design ( adequateness ) and everyday effectivity and more on sing such things as the likeliness of direction over-ride or command circumvention. To make this it is normal to believe through ways of crushing the control systems over vulnerable countries, peculiarly where inward hard currency flows can be diverted off or outward hard currency flows can, either at the same time or shortly afterwards, be arranged to the benefit of a criminal.

In believing through the assorted fraud strategies, across the scope of operations, it is of import to include the possible engagement of company insiders every bit good as external felons. Where fraud is perpetrated by foreigners, they often use or compromise employees for information and/or active aid. For this intent, organised offense may present its ain staff into your ain administration or its service providers.

For “ sensing ” controls we need to convey an consciousness of ruddy flags to bear on such things as reappraisals of history rapprochements and exclusion studies. We besides need to see whether staff have some consciousness of these ruddy flags or a simple inclination to rectify “ mistakes ” and disregard the deductions instead than to acquire to the underside of why they occurred.

When concentrating on fraud hazards and mis-statements we can utilize the original Cadbury Committee definition of internal fiscal controls:

“ The internal controls established in order to supply sensible confidence of the:

( a ) safeguarding of assets against unauthorized usage or temperament ; and

( B ) care of proper accounting records and the dependability of fiscal information used within the concern or for publication. ”

A fiscal control matrix can be used to schedule the group ‘s major fiscal hazards and controls together with a column which dynamically adds independent confidence by cross-referencing internal audit proving performed or planned. The headers are as follows:

aˆ? Nature of fiscal mis-statement or fraud hazard.

aˆ? Hazard exposure and appetency.

aˆ? Control and extenuation.

aˆ? Evidence of control/monitoring agreements.

aˆ? Log/MIS studies of breaches of controls/significant loss or harm.

aˆ? Internal audit study or program ( if non late audited ) .

*Comp. Law. 102 The latter column besides contains notes of really important outstanding recommendations, capable to regular follow up.

In dwelling or disputing this matrix, inquiries will be asked to cover the undermentioned types of concerns:

aˆ? Nature of fiscal misstatement or fraud hazard ( chief ways of perpetrating fraud or pull stringsing histories ) .

aˆ? Are equal fiscal controls runing to understate the hazard of fraud and fiscal misstatements? aˆ? Loss experience.

aˆ? Adequacy of internal audit coverage?

A fiscal controls review programme can be derived from the fiscal control matrix, in order to prove the unity of the controls and to cross-refer either exclusions found or confidence. The headers are as follows:

aˆ? Hazard.

aˆ? Audit Steps.

aˆ? Audit Reference.

aˆ? Results.

aˆ? Contacts.

The “ Results ” column has two intents:

1. To explicate the manner that direction operates the control/process ( i.e. descriptive and non-judgmental ) . If monitoring was lacking or over-ride or command circumvention a danger, this would be indicated.

2. An confidence decision on “ adequateness ” and “ effectivity ” judged by whether it is fit for intent. Failings would besides be shown.

In its one-year study to the audit commission, internal audit can rede that the cardinal internal fiscal hazards in the matrix are reviewed by internal audit yearly, albeit that the accent of control testing will alter from twelvemonth to twelvemonth, depending upon which other audits are scheduled for the twelvemonth in inquiry. During the twelvemonth late ended, it may reason that these cardinal fiscal controls were mostly evidenced ; and where grounds was non available, extenuating controls were sometimes relied upon. Reports to direction should cover any exclusions found in order that the direction action programs could be formulated for execution. The exclusions can so be classified, e.g. :

3. Conformity 19.

4. Accounting Records and Management Information 7.

5. Safeguarding Assets 30.

It is deserving noticing that major control lacks are followed up until execution.

The inter-relationship of hazard direction and stockholder value

Shareholder value is the amount of discounted hard currency flows during the life of the administration. This is non a new construct the market has to measure them, as in the yesteryear.

Risk direction impacts the bottom line and additions stockholder value, in two ways. Costss are reduced and confidence of hazard direction improves the sensed quality of the higher net incomes:

Table 1: Hazard direction value added illustration

? million

? million





( 10 )

( 9 )


( 73 )

( 71 )

Net income



PE ratio



Shareholder value



aˆ? Management reduces the incidence of hazard ( through better control ) .

aˆ? It besides reduces the impact of hazard ( through better and faster responses ) .

It lowers the cost base over clip, thereby increasing net net income.

If direction can non merely manage hazard better, but besides can guarantee that and show it, so it can cut down the cost of capital ( involvement ) because the market will necessitate less compensation for hazard. Bear in head the followers:

aˆ? market hazard assumed is rewarded by higher return on capital ;

aˆ? recognition hazard can be rewarded by higher return on capital.

However, runing hazard has no wages ; its impact lowers net incomes and there are no benefits. Consider fraud, in peculiar where is the wages for accepting fraud hazard? Risk direction procedures are needed to cut down the residuary fraud hazard.

This besides lowers the cost base and increases net income.

Then there is the multiplier consequence: by working through the risk/reward equation and take downing the hazards associated with projected net incomes, stockholder value can be dramatically increased because of the benefits of pitching. The internal rate of return is lowered, more undertakings will traverse the credence threshold and NPV is greater on all undertakings accepted. Lowering the hazard increases the P/E ratio applied by the market ( if hazard direction is assured ) , as shown in Table 1.

This assumes that, based on the benefits of good hazard direction, the followers can be achieved:

1. Cost nest eggs of ?2 million per annum via efficiencies and decrease in mistake, waste and fraud.

2. Improved quality of net incomes ensuing in involvement charges being lower.

3. Improved quality of net incomes ensuing in higher PE ratio. 2 and 3 arise from 1. Highly geared additions in net income and stockholder value arise from the cost nest eggs.

John Webb MA, FCCA, CFE, Independent Internal Audit Consultant and Certified Fraud Examiner ( electronic mail: johnwebb 77 @ ) . This article is based on his paper delivered at the 27th International Symposium on Economic Crime at Jesus College, Cambridge in September 2009