Category

Journey

#15 Just do it … but be prepared!

By Journey

Let’s face it – all of us are afraid of technology to some degree, from minor hesitation to upgrade an app to major panic when our Teams or Zoom presentation in a live webinar fails. Yes, technology has taken over, but we need to ensure it serves us the way we want.

Choosing data wisely

Resolving fraud is simple when you use the RIGHT data. As of now, it is not possible to physically visit remote locations far away in order to understand indications of fraud. It also means that you have to use data to a much larger extent than we have done in the past, with the intention that resolution will improve your company’s financial performance. With this in mind set-up is also about getting the practicalities of data right, so you can ensure that you have enough data.

We have developed three basic steps to help you choose wisely:

  1. Undertake some ‘casting’ and only involve people who you really need
  2. Arrange the data in a manner that ensures you really can gain something from what you uncover
  3. Prep yourself and open up your mind to interpret, but moreover, believe the results.

You may ask how we deal with the data streams at B4 Investigate. We work with three sets of ‘right’ data:

  • Data streams that come out of B4 Aim or B4 Lightning Aim
    … to understand the context for the organisation
  • Data streams that come out of our Fraud Detective Challenge
    … to discover what kind of fraud detective you are.
  • Key money flows from B4 PreCrime
    … with data streams from ERP and similar systems

The end result is money from wasteful costs is recovered (or better still not spent in the first place), your company culture is improved, and your leadership truly reflects an organisation that leads and stand up to the UN Sustainable Development Goal.

The Fraud Detective School is coming to you!

We are now refining our learning approach with Fraud Detective School Masterclasses, a series of virtual-led online courses to suit all levels with our mission to “Change the world with us TODAY!” In the first wave we will provide two tracks; “Becoming a Fraud Detective” and “Becoming a Fraud Data Scientist”.

More information is published on: https://b4investigate.com/fds/

#14 Resolve fast

By Journey

We welcome the wave of increasing whistleblower protection that is sweeping across Europe.  People who speak up about fraud should always be able to do it without fear. At the same time, we should focus on more effective ways to discover and resolve fraud early ourselves.

Recognise and resolve fraud…and keep calm!

When we are told we have been defrauded, we tend to react in one of two ways. Either we stay in denial as long as we can, and maybe beat up the messenger a bit, or when we are convinced that we have been cheated, our blood pressure goes up…we get angry, feel abused or even betrayed.  Very rarely do we sit back calmly and say to ourselves “well…after all there is so much fraud around in the world, and we have not taken it seriously enough until now…so something like this was bound to happen…. but it’s a good lesson and we can learn from it, once we have resolved the current situation at hand”.  Instead, even though we know deep down what a mature approach is, our most common knee-jerk reaction is a sledgehammer one flavoured with zero tolerance: Find and punish the culprits, find them NOW…and show no mercy whatsoever!

But lets us do a quick reality check. Six percent of world GDP in 2019 tells us that the cost of fraud in organisations is rather common.  So, unless we take specific steps to nip it in the bud early, then it´s part of life, similar to the litter we don´t want on our doorstep or the unnecessary mess in our kitchens.  We can have as many rules against it as we like, but if we too don´t do anything about it ourselves too, then it’s going to happen.

When it comes to fraud in organisations, “resolving it fast” is about each and every one of us having our ears to the ground, helping to recognise it, and containing the damage before it spreads.  In this way every organisation will recognise, react to, and resolve fraud before it leads to lots of non-essential costs or even collapse.

Are you a fraud detective who wants to help in cleaning up fraud too?

We firmly believe that everyone is a competent fraud detective, just like everyone can pick up litter and put it in the bin or keep the office-kitchen clean!  From years of experience, we have noticed that there are different Fraud Detective types.  So why don´t you take the Fraud Detective Challenge and find out how holistic, technocratic, transactional, or intuitive a Fraud Detective you could be?  You can take the 5-minute test by going to:  https://b4investigate.com/fd-challenge/

#13 Don’t let fraud add to the infrastructure costs

By Journey

Be it home-extensions or renovation, advanced communications, or public interest projects such safer modes of transport, sanitation, and buildings…we know that typically these “infrastructure” projects usually cost more than the original budget.  What me might not realise is that it has been estimated that around 10% of project overruns is due to some kind of fraud.  Whether it’s our own money, or we are indirectly footing the bill, fraud is a cost nobody needs.

Achieving fraud-free infrastructures through empowerment…

“Infrastructure” is in all our lives.  This could be “traditional” infrastructure such as essential facilities and systems which enable our community to function, or the electricity which powers our home or the highways on which we travel.  Or it could be the fast-evolving post COVID infrastructure such as the “new” IT systems on which we increasingly rely, the information highways we constantly cruise, virtual environments, and buildings, where we work…and pretty soon holographic infrastructure which powers our meetings

So why does the infrastructure industry have a poor track record when it comes to fraud, estimated to be around 10% of a project’s cost or a company’s revenue?  Here are three reasons why projects attract fraud, from B4’s infrastructure expert:

  1. Infrastructure projects have very long supply chains with many mark-ups.
  2. Infrastructure projects are complex, involving many disciplines.
  3. Whether we are leaders, politicians, or just regular members of the public, we tend to love “vanity projects”. But the desire to achieve leaves blind spots and whether it’s home improvements or great leaps forward, fixed price infrastructure projects are uncommon.

Fraudsters today are becoming more desperate and sophisticated but at the same time the infrastructure industry brings out the best in us.  The industry embraces the UN sustainable development goals faster than other.  Take progress in health, safety, and environment over recent decades for example. It makes sense to empower everyone, including project managers and engineers with the requisite “fraud detective skills” to help reduce and remove a wholly unnecessary cost.

Forthcoming B4 Fraud Community events

Watch this space for upcoming community events including “Tall Mountains – Emperor Far Away” …how to keep good control of those areas of your organisation to which you cannot travel to, plus a special event for community members on latest developments and B4 Precrimee

#12 Beat the fraud blues!

By Journey

This week, the BBC called out fraud as “an epidemic”, “national security threat” and “no-one’s priority”.  Maybe its justifiable strong language with recent global surveys estimating the cost of fraud on companies and organisations at 6% of world GDP… and rising.  But why use language that spreads additional panic and fear when behind every problem is a big bright opportunity?  Also talk about “red flags” is depressing, not to say disrespectful to some countries.  It’s time to perceive every potential fraud as a blue spot of opportunity to be seized before it spreads.  So, don’t be idle! In the words of “Eric Idle”:…always look on the bright side of life…

Turn the bright blue spots to your advantage…

Zooming in on the blue spots of fraud early, understanding them and then transforming “waste into value” is neither myth nor hocus pocus.  But it does feel a little bit magical when our clients use our tools and data to home in, and transform the blue spots of fraud, without having to travel to far-off places. Here are five tips that always beat the fraud blues in this new age

  1. Empower every hand-on-deck in your organisation to see fraud and stamp it out.
  2. The best way for anyone to open their eyes to the threat of fraud is to see it as an opportunity from the point of view of a criminal…without becoming one of course!
  3. Be curious, take an interest and follow where the money goes and comes from…be it a bill, a bank statement, or a budget, because if you are curious you will always recognise the fraudulent blue notes.
  4. Leverage technology, algorithms, and data as much as you can but always stay in-charge and be humane (with a focus on “u”).
  5. Develop your robust PreCrime mentality aimed at defeating fraud itself, rather than focussing on people who might commit crimes in the future.

Algorithms + Data = Insight

The COVID pandemic has pushed the human race to work together to find new vaccines, as well as better solutions to almost everything…such as going digital in a month.  Data oils the new machinery.  The last 12 months have been the most rewarding ever, as we pushed to develop sharper algorithms and tools for both Fraud PreCrime and more efficient, remote investigations. “I guess that´s why they call it the blues…”, and most people can agree Sir Elton John did bring light to the hearts of millions of people.  We humbly welcome you to be part of our blue spot journey transforming problems to opportunities and a shared dream of a fraud free world!

#11 Inspirational stories from this year

By Journey

Pandemics which trigger financial downturns (banks like Lehman Bros in 2008 and COVID-19 this year) will pass but at a lingering financial cost.  We can cushion any ensuing financial hardships by removing the unnecessary cost of fraud in society.  And there is no better time than now to do it.  A recent global study put the cost of fraud committed by outsiders and insiders together at a staggering 6% of GDP in 2019 alone, and this cost seems to be rising.

How to vaccinate against the costs of fraud in 2021!

Everyone’s cost of fraud can be almost eradicated, but the crucial ingredient is you!  For us, 2020 was one of the most inspiring years ever, because this year so many of our friends and clients turned words into action.  Here’s a selection of experiences we are grateful for and wish to share:

At least 3 global organisations with which we worked, a UN body, one of the world’s oldest banks and a professional body used the mantra “everyone’s a fraud detective” and empowered employees and members with practical tools to root out and deal with fraud early

Days after COVID-19 hit his organisation, the enigmatic CEO of a major NGO led the charge to ensure that every penny went to those who needed it in some of the poorest countries, blocking fraud and doing it in a way which to gain trust and teamwork and develop shared insights.

Deploying precrime tools and techniques, many diligent and passionate clients across the world have taken up the challenge to root out excessive costs and waste in their organisations and prevent future fraud. Sometimes it was just about taking that little bit of extra care to spot an extra line on an invoice from a supplier or a number out of place on a payslip.In the wake of alarming letters, top management, did not panic but calmly gained much needed insights, pinpointed the root causes and aimed to protect the innocent and whistleblowers alike!

Turning bad news to good news…from Red Flags to “Blue Spots”

For years we have called indicators of fraud “red flags”.  But the term red flag is laden with negative and sometimes frightening connotations…and is even a little disrespectful to certain countries.

The above demonstrate that finding the indicators of fraud early, stops any spread, will save costs, and help every organisation become more resilient to fraud than ever!  We think it’s worth repeating that well-worn phrase – it’s not a problem – it’s an opportunity!  Next month:  How to find and turn theblue spotsto your advantage!

#10 STAY ON TARGET

By Journey

As we move into the Christmas season and 2021 approaches and we learn to turn the corner against the pandemic, we can take advantage of the disruption to also remove the rising cost of fraud. It needs a bit of a reset, a fresh mindset, with all hands-on deck!

Stay on Target:  Beat the 2021 Covid Credit Crunch and remove the cost of fraud

A fresh study this month from the University of Portsmouth puts the cost of fraud in 2019 at 6.05% of world GDP.  Academic studies aside, all the indications in 2020 are that cost on society is rising as the criminals get more desperate.  There is nothing like a crisis to galvanise us into action!

Also, we are delighted to read an article from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners this month, which educates specialist fraud professionals, hinting at what we believe is a U-Turn, saying “Empowering employees with the knowledge and awareness of fraud in the workplace is key…”.

The failure over the past few decades to curtail fraud, gives us a chance to learn from mistakes, rethink everything, and not lick our wounds!  In our view the fresh 2021 mindset should include:

  • A collective effort in organisations and society to embody the precrime mentality to “see, say and sort out” fraud, saving costs and avoiding trouble down the line
  • Taking charge of technology and data to get better insights without the need to travel all the time, and without letting technology take over
  • Focussing on removing waste now and those essential costs which will navigate us out of the crisis and build a better, safer, and stronger world for everyone.

Our mantra “everyone is a fraud detective” is finally gathering momentum to shape the financially resilient and robust organisations for the future.

7th December Live-Online 09.00–09.50 and 17.00-17.50 (Managing money in the Crisis)

Take the first step, have your say, and hear the experiences of 3 leading experts in their fields:  Steven Swientozielskyj (Finance and Business Partnering Thought-Leader and Centenary Year President of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), John Wallhoff (Leading Fraud Data Scientist) and Nigel Iyer (International Fraud Detective for 30 years).

You can register here for this 50 minute Live-Online event.

#9 Don’t Panic over fraud!

By Journey

“One of the smartest ways to save money is to stop losing it resonates more than ever today.  As we all navigate a pandemic which we will overcome, focussing on those costs which are essential to growth and survival is more important than ever.  And there is no better time to calmly remove the wasteful costs of fraud.

Eliminate the wasteful costs of fraud now (panicking is not productive)

All over the world we are hearing that Financial Crime is greater than ever…no surprise given that criminals and cyber-fraudsters, and also many suppliers, middlemen, customer etc, are desperate for cash.  But nobody needs to feel lost or caught off guard.

Three smart things which every organisation can do (to remove panic about fraud!)

  1. Step up internal efforts to identify early warning signs where your organisation is losing money to fraudsters as well as greedy suppliers, middlemen, customers…
  2. Motivate and educate everybody around you in your organisation to help to guard against and spot attempted fraud before it spreads…and save money now
  3. Revolutionise the way fraud is investigated by taking charge internally, look for effective and fast resolutions and avoid investigations which spin out of control

Whether you are a board member, manager or “one of the people”, everyone has a valuable part to play in defending our own organisations against the outside threat of fraud. Our own hands-on experiences over the last few months proves that this more mindful approach to dealing with unethical behaviour really works, is more sustainable- and brings significant value back to the organisation.

Join the Aspiring Fraud Detectives community!

Participate in an Aspiring Fraud Detectives workshop on 7th December 2020, have your say and hear the experiences of leading experts in their field including Steve Swientozielskyj, Centenary Year President of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. You can register here for this 50 minute Live-Online event.

Join an event where B4 is contributing to International Fraud Week 2020 such as the Oxford Fraud Conference (12th November), and “Fraud Detection in the Age of AI” (13th November) and “How Everyone Can be a Successful Fraud Detective” (18th November).

#8 We’re all Fraud Data Scientists & Detectives!

By Journey

It’s everyone´s job to staying alert and curious, to spot and stop fraud before it spreads.  The digital traces of people trying to defraud us and our organisations often stare us in the face, and so spotting fraud can be easier than you realise.

So why wait for a whistleblower when we can “deal with the devil in the data”?

When we disregard fraudulent mails which want us do something foolish, when we home in on strange entries on a bank or credit card statement, or just spot something which gives us “a bad feeling” in the money flows of an organisation, we are essentially engaging in fraud data-science.  Add some PreCrime algorithms, a bit of augmented realty and a pinch of machine intelligence and we enter a new age of Fraud Detection. At last we can move on from just waiting for a whistleblower to turn up, or worse still, looking for someone to blame for not finding fraud before it found us.

Why believe us? Because after 25 years of using analytics and algorithms to find fraud, our success rate started to dramatically increase when we realised three truths1. Everyone can be a Fraud Detective 2. Sharing the golden algorithms was key to our clients eradicating the cost and risk of fraud 3. Small data is beautiful to follow the money in finding fraud quickly!

So what sort of Fraud Detective and Data Scientist are you?

Watch this 5 minute taste of PreCrime set to Franz Schubert. How many frauds can you see lurking in the data?

Tell one of us!

 

 

 

#7 Fraud PreCrime – Insights from Anywhere

By Journey

It is not pleasant to be cheated or have an organisation you care about defrauded – especially at a time we need to act to use our resources wisely. Tighter budgets and restrictions on travel are compelling us to be smarter and more innovative than ever…doing more with less. Prior to COVID we had taken great strides to merge human intelligence with smart technology to solve everyday problems. Now is the time to combine smart thinking with technology to eradicate the unnecessary waste caused by fraud and corruption before it is too late.

Instant Insights with Fraud PreCrime.

If you are taking care of the money, being cheated by a supplier, customer, a business partner or even an employee is irritating, to say the least, and often hideously costly.  We pray that it does not happen to us, that someone will detect it, or that if someone is cheating us without us knowing, it will not be too painful.  And when it is discovered (which in our experience is all too rare) it is usually too late to stop it before it spreads.

In deploying our own “B4” PreCrime algorithms and solution with our customers to help detect and deal with hundreds of “early frauds”, we have learnt some interesting truths which have crystallised into guiding principles for “PreCrime for Fraud”:

1. If you don´t believe fraud happens you will never find it.
2. Stay focussed – don´t get lost in the fog of too much data and information.
3. Stick to following where the money comes from and where it goes (as far as you can).
4. We can find out what is happening in much of the world without having to travel.
5. Everybody can find fraud early and resolve it if they want to. Fraud Detective is not a protected title. So, do it yourself rather than thinking someone will do it for you.

PreCrime for fraud is here, and those who take advantage of it, manage to save vast amounts of un-essential costs, and avoid a lot of pain, blame and aggravation….immediate insight without jumping on a plane

PreCrime Training (the Fraud Detective Collection) goes live

We mean what we say.  Everyone can be a Fraud Detective.  We have now launched B4’s Fraud Detective Collection, where Fraud Detective 101 is the first course in a series of 7.  Here´s a one-minute video to get a feel for the virtual course.

Use this link or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHvCtClodDw&feature=youtu.be

#6 Ready, Steady, AIM…at Fraud and Corruption

By Journey

When resources are stretched, it’s not productive to argue about whose fault it was that frauds were missed and not picked up sooner. A healthier aim would be to work together to stop fraud at the door…and not focus on blame.

Aiming to always keep the cost of fraud in our sights.

Immunisation against fraud and early detection is the transformational change we need now to preserve cash, and focus on those essential costs which contribute to healthier and more vibrant organisations in the future. We could ask ourselves:

  • Does our organisation sit back and wait for the eventual whistleblower, or is everyone trained to spot suppliers, customers, management, partners and employees who are misbehaving and reel them in before things spread?
  • Do we and our management feel that if the external auditors did not discover any fraud this year, then the future is rosy and fraud-free?
  • If serious fraud is discovered which internal positions should get the blame? (note: this could be a trick question!)

Getting to grips with these kinds of questions will give us a feeling for the mood inside our organisations, and if you wish, how to transform from an everyday compliant organisation to motivated teams which really keep fraud out!  Keep it simple: Practical awareness training, a recognition that fraud happens all the time, and a mindset to detect fraud early will save organisations huge amounts of money. The next stage could be to use pre-crime tools to follow the money combined with augmented reality and accessible artificial intelligence.

Alongside our B4 Pre-Crime solution we have developed and tested our “AIM 42 tool” which consists of 42 key questions to help organisations identify where and how to get the maximum payback from their essential cost/ “remove fraud” initiatives.

ICAEW Event July 3rd – Insights of a Fraud Detective

“How to Find Fraud Early” is a 1-hour webinar aimed at passionate accountants and auditors who want to make a difference.  Nigel Iyer has wanted to hold this course for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (the ICAEW) ever since he joined three decades ago.  Now he has finally been given the chance.  This interactive webinar is open to non-members too:

Register at ICAEW using this link or
https://latest.icaew.com/47WY-UWKL-2566E5HEBA/cr.aspx?v=1