Fraud in the workplace is a serious issue that can have significant consequences for both individuals and organisations. Fraud can occur in many forms, from embezzlement and financial manipulation to falsifying expense reports and theft of company assets. It can result in significant financial losses, damage to a company’s reputation, and even legal and criminal proceedings.
Fraud prevention in the workplace is essential to maintaining the integrity of a business. In fast-growing businesses and SMEs, it can be easy to ignore due diligence, security controls, and risk management in favour of innovation, growth, and survival.
Falling foul to fraudsters can have lasting consequences – and in serious instances, can be business-ending entirely. Such consequences can include:
Financial loss: Fraudulent activities can result in significant financial losses for a company. This can include the theft of cash or other company assets, fraudulent expense reports, or embezzlement. These losses can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line and can even lead to bankruptcy.
Reputational damage: Fraud and financial crime can seriously damage a company’s reputation. If news of fraudulent activity becomes public, it can lead to a loss of trust and have a detrimental impact on sales. In addition, investors, business partners and potential employees may be hesitant to work with a company that has a history of fraud.
Legal and criminal repercussions: Fraudulent activities can result in legal and criminal repercussions for both individuals and organisations. This can include fines, lawsuits, and even criminal charges. Depending on the severity of the fraud, individuals can face significant jail time.
Employee morale: Fraud can have a negative impact on employee morale. When employees feel that fraud is occurring within their organisation, it can lead to a lack of trust and a decrease in job satisfaction. This can lead to increased employee turnover and difficulty in recruiting new talent.
Go for Green is the UK’s largest stockist of eco-friendly products, appliances, catering supplies, catering equipment, compostable cups and printed takeaway packaging.
We caught up with their Managing Director, Wayne Whoriskey, to find out how the team at Go for Green approaches fraud awareness, prevention, and employee training.
NorthRow: Wayne, tell us about how you approach fraud prevention in your organisation, and the measures you take to ensure that your employees are aware of the risks of fraud?
“Go for Green specialise in custom branded paper cups and takeaway packaging. We receive a lot of emails from outside the organisation with attachments which we expect to be artwork files or high-res logos.
“We train regularly on the types of files we expect to see as attachments and what not to open. We have a number of software packages to auto-detect and block malicious files.”
Do you have any formal training or induction in place for employees to help them identify and prevent fraud, and how do you ensure that this training is effective?
“Yes, our company has a formal training and induction program in place to help employees identify and prevent fraud. The training covers topics such as detecting potential fraudulent activities, reporting suspected fraud to appropriate authorities, and following company policies and procedures related to fraud prevention.
“To ensure that the training is effective, we use various methods such as assessments or quizzes to test employees’ understanding of the material covered in the training, and we also conduct regular follow-up training sessions to reinforce key concepts.
“Additionally, we regularly review our fraud-related policies and procedures to ensure that they are up-to-date and effective. We praise team members who have averted a serious problem, and even where it does not exist. Better to be safe than sorry.
How do you promote a culture of integrity and ethics within your organisation to prevent fraud?
“We promote an active culture within our office of talking about the phishing emails we receive too, so staff are always mindful that disingenuous approaches happen every day and can come at any time. It is a negative way to be, but it is naïve to be oblivious to the risks.”
How do you monitor your organisation for signs of fraud, and what processes do you have in place to investigate any potential incidents?
“We have routine password changes, two-factor authentication (2FA) for all mailboxes, payment gateways and CRM systems. We actively monitor access reports, have password protected screensavers installed, and a robust cyber insurance policy that sets out regular steps to be followed for best practice.
“We have an internal response process should any suspicious activity be noticed. In short, we are alert and have plans in place to minimise our risk, as cyber crime is a very real threat for all businesses nowadays.”
Preventing fraud in the workplace is essential to maintaining the integrity of a business. By establishing clear fraud prevention policies and procedures, conducting regular audits, and creating a culture of transparency and accountability, companies can significantly reduce the risk of fraudulent activity. Doing so not only protects the company’s bottom line but also ensures that employees feel safe and secure in their jobs.