A recent report out from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) confirms a growing and alarming trend – occupational fraud continues to rise, and with it businesses are ravaged by massive costs. The multi-layered impact of occupational fraud affects nearly every industry in every region worldwide – from the US and Canada, throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and into Africa.
It is estimated that approximately 5% of a business’ annual revenues are lost when occupational fraud hits, with many cases never even detected – so the true cost is ultimately unknown. The 2016 ACFE report cites more than $6.3 billion in damages from the occupational fraud cases studied worldwide, from a survey set of 2,410 businesses. Global losses in total are projected at more than $3.7 trillion.
The Sting of a Scheme
Occupational fraud typically covers three categories: asset misappropriations like theft, skimming, or fraudulent disbursements; corruption: including bribery, conflicts of interest, extortion; and financial statement fraud: misreporting as overstatement or understatement. While asset misappropriations are the most common, representing over 80% of cases, the median loss is reported at around $125,000. Comparatively, when financial statement fraud is involved (less than 10% of all cases) the impact can destroy a company, with a median loss of nearly $1M.