With everyday headlines about a cost-of-living crisis and employers pay rise intentions or activities running at well below inflation, employers are potentially more vulnerable to staff deciding to take matters in their own hands. I remember doing training alongside some senior ex-Police Officers who advised me that for corporate theft or fraud to take place, there only needs to be an opportunity and motive. As staff are beginning to feel the pinch then the motive may be there so it then comes down to whether or not within the structure of that person’s job, the opportunity exists.

Opportunity might come in the form of handling cash, payroll, dealing with corporate credit cards or even recording sales on your system. During the last couple of years, I have seen fraud cases involving each of these activities as well as the well-worn example of an employee having private work done for personal gain on the employer’s own resources.

Because we trust our colleagues, we don’t like to think about the fact that somebody might do something that we wouldn’t do ourselves or think negative thoughts about others. However, I come across this scenario often enough to know how heart-breaking it is for colleagues who feel betrayed when it happens and is discovered in practice.

For that reason, it might be worth thinking about whether there are any weak points in your structures: look at them with a stance of ‘If I was going to try and take advantage here, what could I do and how could I do it?’ For example, if I process payroll, do I also process my own salary or does someone else have to see it? If I am setting up suppliers on the system what is to stop someone creating a fictitious entry or setting up one of their friends and then paying ‘fake’ invoices?

Refreshing Law Limited
25th April 2022