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As part of the annual fraud awareness week we would like to give you a short summary of the principles of risk management for fraud. These principles were derived from an extensive review entitled Management of the Business Risk Of Fraud A practical guide.

The Practical Guide emphasizes, "An organization should strive to implement a well-organized approach as opposed to a haphazard method of operation." The guide is a good source to begin developing fraud prevention and identification program as part of the overall risk management strategies (or structuring the review of your existing program). However, as with all things, delving into the specifics of planning and implementing a program such as this requires significant effort. Often, gaps and weaknesses are caused by skipping steps or making assumptions about risk mitigation techniques without conducting a thorough assessment. Clicking here: telecommunication fraud for furthermore information.

Let's take a look at the five fundamentals:

1. Fraud Danger Governance
The management of risk and fraud must be embedded in an organization's DNA in the form of policies written in writing, defined duties, and regular processes that are effective in implementing a program. The Board and top management be able to clearly define their roles in setting these policies. They are also responsible for reporting to the Board in order to provide details about the program's effectiveness and communicate this information to them. The direction from the top will be evident in the perception of fraud prevention and deterrence throughout the organization.

People who are responsible and have the proper sources and access to top management should be responsible for overseeing the program. This person is responsible in determining and reviewing the program as well as communicating it to everyone in the company as needed. Because organizations differ greatly in complexity in terms of inherent risk, complexity, and size, there's no universally-applicable program. However, all programs will address issues such as:

Responsibilities and roles
Fraud awareness
Conflict disclosure
Fraud risk assessment
Reporting procedures
Protection for whistleblowers
Investigation process
Corrective action
Quality assurance
Monitoring ongoing

2. Fraud Risk Assessment
The base for the prevention and detection of fraud lies in a well-structured risk assessment that focuses on the risks that are actually faced by the organization as determined by its mission, industry (products or services) and complexity, size and vulnerability to risks in the network. The purpose of the risk assessment is to determine the type, likelihood, and potential cost of risks in a traditional expected value framework. This data allows companies to modify their programs to achieve an effective and cost-effective mitigation. It could also indicate an upper or lower threshold for a particular risk.

Assessing fraud risks necessarily involves studying how employees -- including top management interact with the resources of the company. Their motivations and opportunities form one of the legs of the Fraud Triangle that is mostly determined by the organization itself. The risk assessment should be clear and specific about the interplay between controls, policies, procedures, and their roles. It is important to note that the sources of these risks may be external and internal, especially in highly networked and data dependent operations.

3. Fraud Avoidance
It is better to prevent fraud than to detect it later. The same systems and controls that were established to detect fraud can be used to identify it in the real world. For instance, segregating duties for a particular procedure might increase the likelihood that someone will report fraud.

Prevention is built upon an environment that encourages awareness of fraud, is familiar with common policies and procedures as well as provides a safe place for whistleblowers as well as continuous communication about fraud prevention from the top. When everyone knows that fraud is possible and a serious problem for which the organization has implemented detection strategies, it is more likely to be avoided.

4. Fraud Detection
Controls, monitoring and reporting help speed up detection of fraud. A whistleblower policy as well as reports that highlight the most common indicators of irregular results over time are crucial detection tools. These indicators will not be effective when they're not monitored.

5. Monitoring and Reporting
It is futile to create information that does not get to the right person in order to be able to take action. Setting up responsibilities and procedures is crucial to ensure that timely information gets to the appropriate person in order to address the problem is an essential part of fraud. These systems can trigger strong legal actions. Thus, it is important to review the legal rights of each party involved and ensure compliance with any applicable laws.

Even if fraud cannot be totally eliminated, it could be reduced by one notch. A structured program that follows these five principles is a good place to start.

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