Conducting Remote working frauds and misconduct investigation

The disruption brought about by the COVID19 pandemic has forced us torethink our business processes and relook at how we perform certainactivities. As days go by, it is becoming clear that things will not resumenormalcy in one go. While the lockdown may slowly be removed,precautions will continue and remote working in some form may remain‘the new normal'.

In the current environment, internal investigation teams are facing morepressure due to realigned business priorities, changes in businessoperations, and cost considerations. It is not uncommon for past incidentsof fraud and misconduct to surface during a downturn and new fraudinstances to emerge (as a result of performance pressure on businessesand individuals). Thus, the workload of internal investigation teams islikely to increase.

How prepared are internal investigation teams to tackle fraud in this newenvironment? While assessing new fraud risks and putting in place addedcontrols is one aspect, preparing appropriate response protocols andprocedures to deal with an incident/allegation is also important. Thisdocument explores some key challenges that investigation professionalsmay encounter in the current scenario and suggests some considerationsto deal with these circumstances.

Conclusive Remarks

Corporate fraud investigations do not have to be stalleddue to the COVID 19 crisis. Delays in the investigationprocess can significantly alter outcomes and providefavourable conditions for fraudsters and involvedparties to tamper evidence and get off scot free. Whenorganisations are struggling to survive, undetectedfraud can further dent their ability to performeffectively in a tough environment. While manyorganisations are discussing the need for stronginternal controls, equipping internal investigationteams to continue their work is equally important.

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