13 Mar

Article at CFO.com: Taking on Fraud Probes Without Interfering

 How CFOs can assist independent investigators and not mess up the integrity of the results.

By Tracy Coenen, Contributing Editor at CFO.com

With the government’s increased focus on ferreting out corporate fraud, companies face a higher risk of gigantic defense costs, negative media reports, and substantial civil or criminal penalties. Cases involving bribery and corruption under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for example, are costing companies their reputations and their profits.

It takes only one credible whistleblower with access to enough documentation to make a compelling case to a government agency to get the ball rolling. The saving grace, however, can be an aggressive compliance program, complete with thorough internal investigations of tips and red flags, plus swift and certain remediation. Read More

13 May

From i-Sight Investigation Software: Stop Fraud at the Door Before it Enters your Organization

Earlier this week,i-Sight Investigation Software posted an article based on an interview with me, Stop Fraud at the Door Before it Enters your Organization.

Making a bad hiring decision is sometimes only a minor inconvenience and a waste of time, but in many cases, it can leave you vulnerable to workplace fraud. One bad apple can wreak havoc in your organization and open you up to theft, legal trouble and even bankruptcy. In today’s litigious environment, it’s more important than ever to stop fraud at the door by conducting background checks on potential employees before making a job offer.

We interviewed Tracy Coenen, forensic accountant and fraud investigator, on the strategies for hiring people with high ethical standards as part of a company’s fraud prevention program. Read More

29 Sep

Internal Investigations and the Use of Auditors and Accountants

When whistleblowers report potential ethics violations within companies, the first step the company must take is an internal investigation. The best internal investigations are independent and led by outside counsel, for a variety of reasons.

But what about the part of the investigation that involves analyzing accounting records, financial statements, and SEC filings? Management often wants to use internal finance professionals or their outside auditors for this task. It seems to make sense to utilize the expertise of people who are already familiar with the company’s finances. Read More

29 May

Four Key Pieces to an Effective Corporate Fraud Investigation

There are four critical pieces to a corporate investigative puzzle. With the proliferation of stories of corporate fraud, managers and executives would be wise to familiarize themselves with the workings of a corporate fraud investigation.

A corporate investigative policy is necessary because it is important to have guidelines in place for the start of an investigation. What should management do when fraud is suspected? How are fraud allegations to be evaluated? When and why does the company initiate a full-blown investigation? Read More