More than a third of organisations have experienced economic crime in the past 24 months, as reported by over 6,000 respondents to PwC’s Global Economic Crime Survey 2016. This year’s results show that the incidence of economic crime has come down, for the first time since the global financial crisis of 2008-9 (albeit marginally by 1%).
At first glance, this could be evidence of a return on the investments in the preventative measures which organisations have been making over the past few years. But as we look at the data more closely, it is possible that this small decrease is actually masking a worrying trend: that economic crime is changing significantly, but that detection and controls programmes are not keeping up with the pace of change. What’s more, the financial cost of each fraud is on the rise.
This year’s report illustrates how economic crime has evolved over the last two years, morphing into different forms depending on industrial sector and region.
Despite this evolving threat, we have seen a decrease in the detection of criminal activity by methods within management’s control, with detection through corporate controls down by 7%. What’s more, one in five organisations (22%) have not carried out a single fraud risk assessment in the last 24 months. When looked at in the context of the findings in PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey – where two-thirds of chief executives agreed that there are more threats to the growth of their company than ever before (a sharp increase, compared to 59% in 2015) – this points to a potentially worrying trend: that too much is being left to chance. In fact, our findings indicate that one in ten economic crimes are discovered by accident.
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