The past five years has seen an incredible rise in awareness around bribery and corruption in both the public and private sectors. While bribery and corruption detection has typically been the purview of whistle-blowers in the finance and audit areas of organisations – the era of whistle-blowers as the only ones exposing these issues is ending. Advanced analytics and other technology processes are lending support to the complicated challenge of following payments and other indicators of corruption.
Since the passage of the UKBA and other updated legislation in nearly 60-plus countries, the world has seen FIFA, Petrobras, Samsung, Shell, Rolls Royce, Unaoil, Embraer, Pfizer, and other organizations exposed for “back room” and other deals to secure multi-million and even billion dollar contracts. In 2017 alone, two companies, Odebrecht and JBS SA have both been fined over $3B a piece for bribes. What does this history of corporate malfeasance mean for the audit function at an organization?
The Audit function, both internal and external, has often been the unsung hero in the identification, investigation and subsequent alerting for many anti-bribery and corruption cases. The primary challenge that audit faces is the complex task of finding these schemes manually. This is where analytics and specialised technology can help significantly.
So how can analytics help the auditor work faster and more accurately? There are three main areas that provide benefits to the audit process:
- Integrating Automation: Auditors primarily rely on their experiences to identify potential ABC issues. With the use of analytics, an organization can depend on sophisticated algorithms to detect potential problem areas by continually looking for schemes within a company’s books.
- Staying Up-to-date: Criminals are always looking for new ways to push their money through the system. Analytics can learn to look for shifting patterns of unusual behaviour by a company’s vendors, customers and even employees and raise an alert to auditors before a problem may have even started.
- Gathering Evidence: Auditors spend significant amounts of time gathering evidence to support a case. Analytics can significantly reduce this effort by providing continuous monitoring of transactions and quickly bringing back linked transactions related to the case.
Analytics is now viewed as a complimentary tool to an auditor’s function by reducing the time spent identifying problems, and by providing better quality alerts and cases back.
Global head of anti-bribery and corruption solutions