The evidence is that organizational fraud occurs at a startling rate and at great cost. Fraudsters can occupy positions at any level and in any kind of organization, finding creative ways to enrich themselves at the expense of the organization. Owners, managers, and employees who dismiss or minimize the chances of fraud occurring in their workplace do so at their financial peril.
The hard truth about organizational fraud is that new fraudsters emerge every minute. They are not born that way—need, self-serving justifications, and opportunity can turn a trustworthy employee into a thief without warning. Situations such as addictions, family troubles or financial pressures can help to create the circumstances that might trigger fraudulent behavior in someone who wouldn’t normally commit fraud.
In other words, the most salient fact about fraud is that it is a highly probable event given enough time for a would-be fraudster to find opportunities somewhere in the organizational environment. Fraud is as constant as human nature.
You Cannot Eliminate Fraud, But You Can Manage It
Given the continuous emergence of new fraudsters, it’s easy to understand when some organizational managers throw up their hands in defeat. But the risk of fraud can be managed just like any other risk. In a column on this topic, the Economist summed it up:
Fraud by wayward employees, be they high or low, can never be eliminated. Directors and executives can, however, treat it like any other unavoidable risk, and manage it professionally. … Continue reading