Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused management to rightly focus on their organisation’s core operations, however 77 percent of Australian companies that contributed to KPMG’s COVID-19 Fraud Survey reported that the resulting lack of focus on controls exposed their companies to exploitation.
We consider how organisations can quickly regain focus and reduce risk by effectively deploying data analytics.
As traditional frameworks designed to preserve operational integrity are compromised in the COVID-19 environment, there is a need to find solutions that effectively monitor risks and deliver insights, using less resources.
The use of data presents an opportunity to get ahead of the curve by proactively understanding, investigating and managing these risks.
Leveraging data and equipping your people with analytical skills will help reduce manual effort and deliver deeper insights, faster. By deploying analytics tools, within tried and tested frameworks, data can be extracted, interrogated and reported on, remotely and in real-time.
Data allows an organisation to see how it’s performing and its vulnerabilities. Data can also provide early insight to opportunities to tighten controls, grow and improve. Forensic data analytics provides a means for tracing through investigations, emerging issues, remediation challenges and recovery pathways – to provide more weight and credibility to findings.
The key to deploying analytics effectively is understanding how a fraud or corrupt event would appear in the data. Consideration also needs to be given to how fraudsters are currently exploiting organisations or how corrupt payments are typically paid.
Fraudsters are opportunistic and quick to exploit opportunities – data analytics needs to move just as fast. Deploying a series of standard tests resulting in many pages of data exceptions will not only result in missed detection opportunities, it may in fact increase the fraud and corruption risk by distracting the organisation.
Data integrity is critical building block for effective analytics. It is critical to first properly assess the underlying integrity of data and test assumptions, ensuring that testing is effectively risk-based and tailored to the underlying control environment. Failure to ensure the integrity of the data further increases the risk of a poor outcome and a business distracted from the real threats.
Consider how your organisation currently relies on insights from data analytics to inform decisions. Complete, accurate and appropriate data and trusted analytics is crucial, and access to high quality data analytics to overcome resource intensive work will become the new norm.
As with any technology, there are challenges in using analytics effectively. Primarily, these challenges revolve around the quality and availability of data.
When planning a data driven fraud and corruption program there are a number of things that can be done to maximise the benefits and minimise the roadblocks.
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