On the money with Gavin Hinks

gavin hinks, accountancy age editor

The firm said 163 cases found their way into court accounting for £630m in

Those are big scary numbers. It’s a lot of money. But there are some big buts
that come with those statistics.

The first is that the number represents the tip of the iceberg. If that’s
what’s coming to court, there are plenty more that never do. And that’s not
necessarily because it goes undetected – though there’s plenty of fraud that

A lot of fraud is found but is never reported to the police. Many corporates
simply want the fraud stopped, as much money as possible recovered and the
offenders dealt with.

If you are in the business of private sector fraud investigation, I’m not
telling you anything you don’t already know. If you’re in business you’re
probably not hearing anything that surprises you.

What is interesting is that the Serious Fraud Office wants to hear to more
about these unreported cases than it has done before.

New chief, Richard Alderman, wants to work more closely with accountants.
It’s already clear that he is taking information from the private sector but he
seems to be on a personal crusade to learn even more.

The fact is that Alderman is putting himself about, increasing the SFO’s
profile and trying to get the organisation through more cases than before by
clever targeting. He has turned the SFO into a very different kind of animal –
much more focused on its results and on better relationships with professionals.

The time may be over when accountants can simply fill in fraud surveys. From
now on they will be under huge pressure to help the authorities.

Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age

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