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Latest News


By David Carson and Barry Robinson There are specific requirements all organisations should note in their formulation of a sound foundation for managing fraud and corruption risks. Such a foundation requires augmentation in respect of organisation-specific environments. As a minimum, organisations should have all of the below measures in place. This list is not exhaustive and serves simply as a foundation for managing fraud and corruption risks. However, it should be helpful in putting you - and your organisation - on the right track.   Embed an effective fraud prevention strategy: ensure that there is an approved fraud prevention strategy, protected disclosures policy, conflict of interest policy, anti-bribery and corruption policy and fraud response plan (including cyber-incident response), which are clearly articulated, implemented and communicated throughout  the  organisation. Implement a tiered approach: implement a three-tier approach to reducing fraud and corruption, which should include essential elements of prevention, response and detection. Effective fraud risk assessments: initiate ongoing fraud risk assessments (including the assessment of cyber-related risks), which are a non-negotiable element of mitigating the risks of fraud. These should be conducted at an enterprise and business unit level. Optimise the use of technology in detecting fraud: leverage technology in order to implement continuous control monitoring measures through forensic data analytics aimed at the early detection of fraud and corruption risk indicators. Assess employee awareness: conduct an annual online fraud health check survey among employees, which should ideally be anonymous in nature. Eliminate conflicts of interests: manage the risk of conflicts of interest through the implementation of an auditable declaration process where all declarations are assessed and verified. Manage relationships with external stakeholders: discourage/prohibit the receipt of gifts from suppliers as this alleviates the risk of potential irregularities and furthermore reduces the administration of any gift register. Know your business partners: supplier vetting should entail stringent verification and approval measures, including a conflict of interest declaration. Create awareness: fraud awareness and anti-fraud education should be consistently applied throughout the organisation on a continuous basis. Inform employees how to raise concerns: organisations should ensure that all employees know the policy for making protected disclosures under the Protected Disclosure Act 2014. David Carson is a Partner in Forensics and Barry Robinson is a Director in Corporate Finance in Deloitte.

Jan 05, 2018

Imagine your company managed its finances like it manages its employees; ignoring red flags, not following up with debtors and sitting down once a year to have a retrospective conversation about what went well and what didn’t. You wouldn’t be in business very long! Yet this is how managers often treat their most valuable resource: people. There is a very real cost associated with failing to give appropriate feedback, including confused priorities, missed opportunities and disengaged employees. Giving feedback is a key management responsibility (and a good life skill for anyone), but it’s the one managers avoid the most – particularly when the feedback is likely to cause discomfort. Consider these five pointers when engaging in feedback conversations: Set the scene. Regular dialogue forms part of your relationship with your team, extend this to include feedback. When a new member joins have a ‘positioning conversation’. Explain that as manager your role is to provide candid feedback on an ongoing basis. Clarify that the purpose of this feedback is to support the person’s development. The objective is to embed regular feedback as a team norm and create a culture of continuous improvement.  Check yourself. Challenge your motivation in offering the feedback – is it positive or negative? Make sure it's not your need for control, judgements based on your values or bias that is driving you to comment on an aspect of someone's performance. Consider whether or not you communicated your expectations clearly and give the other person the benefit of the doubt by believing that they didn't intentionally fail to deliver. That doesn’t mean that you can’t give the feedback, but it will make the feedback more balanced. Absolute honesty is critical as it demonstrates:  Respect for the other person How would you feel if your manager was unhappy with an aspect of your performance, but didn’t tell you? Perhaps causing you to miss out on promotion or a pay increase. Is that fair? Yet as managers we often put our team members in this position. Our own unease can cause us to dilute feedback or try to rescue the other person from a difficult message. What kind of a manager is prepared to set someone up for a lifetime of failure rather than experience a few minutes discomfort?  Respect for yourself   Difficult issues don’t go away just because you ignore them; they will only escalate. At some point, as the person’s manager, you will be called to account. Whether it’s your line manager, HR or a legal representative, somebody will ask you to demonstrate how you made the person aware that their performance wasn’t at the required standard.  Respectful language. The best feedback leaves the other party feeling respected and safe while understanding the challenge. This is achieved through the careful use of language. Where possible, avoid judgemental words like ‘why’ ‘never’ ‘always’ and ‘should’ and don’t overuse the words ‘you’ and ‘your’. Absolute clarity. Discomfort with difficult messages can lead managers to talk in general terms, be vague or even cryptic. In addition, we all process information through our own filters. A key component of giving feedback is to establish a shared understanding of the issue. Show  or tell the person what they could have done differently in a non-judgemental way.  Have them reflect back their understanding of what has been discussed.  Clarity allows the person to self-regulate and reduces the mangers need to micro-manage the situation.  Remember, feedback is a two-way conversation and it takes the engagement of both parties to find effective resolution to any difficulties.  Dawn Leane is Principal at LeaneLeaders, Leadership and Management Consultancy and Training.

Jan 13, 2018

Institute Head of Ethics and Governance Níall Fitzgerald this week addressed a gathering of professionals including HR and legal experts, fraud investigators and regulators at the Fraud Business Solutions Speak up investigations Seminar in Dublin.   Topics discussed included what a mature speak up policy looks like and process for dealing with speak up issues (Gillian Harford, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at AIB), a whistle-blowers experience (Dr Tom Clonan, lecturer, journalist and former whistleblower, DCU), pitfalls and hurdles when conducting a speak up investigation (Michael Fitzgerald, Director, Fraud Business Solutions),  and embedding an ethical organisational culture and the importance of a safe and sound speak up process for achieving this (Níall Fitzgerald, Chartered Accountants Ireland). The speaking opportunity is one of several planned for 2018, and reflects the Institute's objective to raise awareness of best ethical practice in business and lead the debate in this important area.

Jan 12, 2018

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