No one is immune from fraud and, all too often, the smaller the company the greater the risk.
This is the unequivocal message from Peter Graham, newly appointed partner in Scotland with BTG Forensic, a division of Begbies Traynor Group plc. The Group has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.
“A company can have the best systems in the world but insider knowledge and greed can be a powerful motivator in breaking into those very systems and committing fraud,” he warns.
“When fraud takes place in even the smallest of companies it comes as more of s shock as everyone knows each other,” he adds. “In that working environment there is a greater element of trust but suddenly an employee ‘borrows’ money, has every intention to repay but can’t. It may start by putting one hand in the till but as the problem escalates both hands go into the till. Fraud is an insatiable parasite; it doesn’t know when to stop.”
He goes on: “My role is to discover and detail the full extent of the fraud and preserve the evidence so all options, be it civil recovery or criminal prosecution, or perhaps both, are possible.”
Ken Pattullo, who heads the Group in Scotland, believes the overriding message for all companies is to take advice, and take it early, once there is a hint of any financial problems within a business.
“An increasing number of directors are aware if the importance of doing just that but there are still those who remain in a state of denial as to whether there is a problem and just how serious it is,” he comments.
“The need for forensic accounting is never more important than when in an economic downturn and regular health checks can detect early signs of fraud and pinpoint where it’s being perpetrated.”
David joined Begbies Traynor in 2004 originally working in one of their regional offices. In 2006 he moved to the London office to help set up a specialist team focusing on creditor side assignments in the guise of Independent Business Reviews and Independent Solvency Reviews. David has 18 years’ experience in the accounting profession and prior to joining Begbies Traynor has worked in a number of Top 50 London based partnerships.
As well as business reviews and independent solvency reviews, hands on turnaround assignments have also been one of David’s main focuses. This has generally been in support of high street clearing banks.