Yesterday i-Sight Investigation Software posted an article based on an interview with me, Walk the Walk: Preventing Workplace Fraud Starts at the Top.
When it comes to workplace fraud prevention, actions sometimes speak louder than words. This is one of the key messages that forensic accountant and fraud investigator Tracy Coenen wants people to get when they are looking at ways to reduce fraud in their organizations.
When we interviewed Coenen on the subject of preventing workplace fraud, she stressed the importance of developing a culture of integrity in which employees know what’s acceptable and what isn’t, and ensuring that the actions of management reflect this culture.
She cites an example of an organization in which everyone knows the sales manager cheats on his expense report. “That tells people it’s ok to cheat as long as you don’t cross some imaginary line,” she says. “So it’s not only leading by example but also having that very well designed line between what’s ok and not ok, that we never even want to get close to because we don’t want our employees substituting their judgment for ours.”
It all boils down to getting management to lead by example. It’s easy to say, but more difficult in practice.
Start at the top
“The overused phrase is ‘tone at the top’ but it’s really true. What we want to do is have an organization that has very transparent rules that everyone follows transparently,” says Coenen.