Struggle against fraud

IF THE string of business scandals in recent years has demonstrated one thing it is that fraud is not an isolated incident. It is a constant fact of life.

In recognition of this, the audit faculty of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has produced a video-based training package aimed at raising auditors' awareness of the risks posed by corporate fraud.

Although you might have thought that the many dramatic collapses since the end of the 1980s would have raised awareness of the problem, Gerry Acher, chairman of the institute's audit faculty, said it had been struck by the lack of training to combat fraud in the professional and business sectors.

Part of the problem, he said, was that companies did not like to disclose they had been the victims of fraud. And in Britain there was no culture of whistleblowing.

The institute is believed to be the only professional body offering training in this area, so the package, which cost pounds 100,000 to develop, should fill a gap. It is a realistic case study of how an audit can go wrong when a fraudster is involved.

Mr Acher pointed out that the increasing complexity of business and the constant pressure to perform make fraud more, rather than less, likely.

The Auditor at Risk package is available until 30 April at a discount of pounds 195 for faculty members; pounds 275 non-members.