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More than half of accountants think Bribery Act has failed

THE BRIBERY ACT has failed to increase confidence according to more than half of accountants, according to an ACCA poll.

About 51% agreed with this statement which ACCA attributes to a lack of awareness.

A fifth of accountants also think businesses have been more willing to mis-state their financial reports to cover-up corruption and fraudulent activity, since the onset of the financial crisis.

Nearly half (48%) think SME’s are definitely likely to face risk of bribery and corruption in their business dealings, with just 27% believing SMEs are unlikely to face any risk. Just 43% of respondents said they considered anti-bribery when looking at international opportunities.

“It is a concern that only 43% of respondents believe bribery risk is routinely considered by SMEs when thinking of doing business internationally, despite almost half of respondents believing bribery and corruption is most likely to manifest in the negotiation of contracts involving cross-border trade,” said ACCA head of SME policy, Rosana Mirkovic.

Just 17% of UK accountants believe the Act has given confidence to SMEs to tackle corrupt practices with nearly half (49%) claiming there is insufficient guidance about bribery and corruption available for SMEs.  

ACCA’s forms part of a global report which looks at the attitudes of bribery and corruption in a number of countries and regions, including Sub-Saharan Africa, Singapore and Central and Eastern Europe.

Compared to the rest of the world, the UK is most sceptical about SMEs’ understanding of the legal frameworks for bribery and corruption, with only 24% considering that SMEs understand the legalities, compared to 68% of those in Central and Eastern Europe, which is the least sceptical region surveyed globally.

ACCA had 915 responses to the survey of which 205 were from the UK.

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