Fraud hurts one in five.

Nearly one in five businesses have been hit by fraudsters in the last twelve months, according to this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Personnel Big Question.

George Sutherland, FD of the University of Edinburgh, said: ‘In a business the size of ours, we expect to have a few minor frauds, but we have seen a growth in organised crime in recent times. We have lost almost £1m worth of possessions in the last five months alone.’

Another one of the 18% of finance directors who said their businesses had been hit by fraud said that ‘a week doesn’t go by without someone in some part of our business being a victim of fraud’.

But 77% declared they had not suffered. Colin Gibson, FD of Hanover Housing Association, is similarly confident. ‘New internal controls mean that it would be very difficult for anyone to slip through the net.’

Auditing and systems controls designed to prevent fraud appear to be an effective anti-fraud measure for most businesses, but one respondent noted: ‘Nobody is immune from it. I am sure a lot of it goes on that nobody is aware of.’ Vigilance is seemingly the best deterrent, with small to medium-sized companies keeping, according to one FD, ‘an eye on things like a hawk’.

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