Suspicions of fraud that arise in the workplace almost always triggers the need for a fraud investigation. Allegations such as fraud, theft, bribery and corruption are just some of the situations that may arise in an organisation which require investigating.
Often, employers try to investigate matters internally through formal interviews with the employees involved, which are usually carried out by Human Resources personnel. When the allegations are more serious, employers may rely upon senior managers to conduct full investigations.
However, in many situations, having an employer deal directly with a fraud allegation is not always the best approach.
The appointment of an in-house investigator can be detriment to an investigation particularly as it may result in an investigator with a vested interest in the outcome of an investigation.
It is important to ensure that any in-house investigator has relevant experience, skills or qualifications otherwise basic investigative steps may be overlooked by inexperienced managers not skilled in how to gather evidence and conduct effective fraud investigations.
One option for any employer is having a formal investigation undertaken by an experienced and qualified external fraud investigator.
Experienced and qualified Fraud Investigators have proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence. Qualified Fraud investigators exercise due professional care in the performance of their fraud investigations. Their objective shall be to obtain evidence and information that is complete and reliable.
Using an external Fraud Investigator provides evidence that a business takes concerns of fraud seriously. The external investigator reports all findings back to the business after concluding their investigation. With no preconceived impression of the parties or subject, they are able to remain independent and neutral throughout an investigation.
This independence also provides witnesses with a sense of comfort, encouraging them to speak more freely and confidently than they would when faced with an internal manager turned investigator with whom they, or their team members, have a working relationship, which may make it difficult for the internal investigator to remain impartial.
Allegations of serious fraud that require high levels of specialist investigation expertise will naturally have potential for legal action. In such scenarios, businesses are encouraged to act in favour of an external investigator. For example, if an investigation has been carried out into a serious allegation of fraud then there is a possibility of a complaint to a works tribunal.
The tribunal will want evidence to prove that the business took the complaint seriously and conducted a fair investigation from start to finish. The business can demonstrate this by engaging with reputable qualified investigators who comply with the law and who will testify truthfully without bias or prejudice therefore reflecting a fair investigation throughout the investigation process.
Should your business require any specialised help or assistance relating to suspicions of fraud in the workplace please contact Sean McAuley, Certified Fraud Examiner (firstname.lastname@example.org) +44 1224 625111