Energy News – 17/03/2017
Want to know what stories are making waves in the energy industry this week? Here are the big stories from the...Read More
UK SMEs are losing £18 billion every year to fraud, says a recent study, with 35% falling victim in the past year. How can the fraud threat be stopped?
The most obvious cost of fraud is immediate: research from Sage Pay found that UK small to medium sized businesses lose an average of £3,450.
But the financial loss can pale into insignificance when compared with the reputational damage. Bad publicity associated with a fraud can negatively influence suppliers, customers and potential employees, discourage investors and affect relations with regulators.
Despite these serious consequences, too many SMEs are unwittingly exposing themselves to the risk of fraud. Almost a third of SMEs (32%) do not spend money on fraud prevention and the average investment in fraud prevention, £1,881 annually, is just half the average cost of fraud.
Perhaps most striking is the failure to use simple existing systems to tackle fraud. Many don’t even use some of the tools and checks that come as standard with payment gateways, with only 22% using CV2.
But the most common cause of fraud can come as a surprise to many small to medium sized businesses.
Contrary to popular belief, most workplace crime is carried out by employees. Common types of ‘insider fraud’ include: asset theft, payroll fraud, corruption, theft of intellectual property and selling sensitive company information.
Companies that are underperforming or failing to motivate staff are more likely to suffer fraud. However, there is usually a personal factor such as uncertainty about employment, money worries such as debt, illness or gambling problems. Indeed, one well-worn phrase has it that “fast women and slow horses” lead employees to commit fraud. Secrecy and stress should be investigated, not just for fear of fraud, but also to ensure employee welfare.
Jokes aside, behaviour that is not exactly suspicious but still unusual, such as refusing to take a holiday, can be a sign that something is wrong. This reticence to take a break is a red flag to official fraud investigators as it may mean the employee is concerned that their crimes may be uncovered.
Close relationships with suppliers are usually to be lauded. But being too cosy could suggest corrupt activities such as inflated invoices and kickbacks to the employee.
How can owners and managers get to grips with such subtleties and protect their business. As a minimum, SME owners need to have a stated anti-fraud policy that:
A few simple tips can help build this plan and cut the risk of employee fraud:
Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!
"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017
Quick & Easy
"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017
"I am very happy with Aaron's service. He has helped me save over £1000 a year on my businesses energy costs."This review was posted by R Thomas on the 21st of March 2017
So helpful and quick
"Prompt advice and help from Ashley. I hadn't realised changing energy suppliers could be so easy and quick. Thanks so much. Will definitely recommend!"This review was posted by charlotte on the 21st of March 2017
Easy and stress free
"I hate this time but f year when it's time to renew my electricity. I decided to use a comparison site this time round and never looked back. My advisor (Aaron Gallagher) was polite and knowledgable and efficiently changed my business."This review was posted by Kevin on the 21st of March 2017