A new fraud academy has been set up in the West Midlands to help safeguard businesses from economic crime.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has launched a new forum to allow company directors to share information on how best to prevent, detect and investigate crimes like fraud and bribery.
The academy will be based at the firm’s offices in Birmingham and provide technical updates on fraud prevention and detection issues, and meet with forensics experts.
John Tracey, partner in Forensic Services at PwC Birmingham, said: “We wanted to provide a forum for the business community to share knowledge at a time of unprecedented change in how fraud and other economic crime is perpetrated and combated.
“The ebbing economic tide is exposing frauds that lay submerged and were sustainable when times were good. For some people the pressure to cross the line, or to turn a blind eye while others do so, is growing. Midlands businesses urgently need to look to at the measures they have in place to resist this trend.”
The launch of the new academy comes at a time of significant change in the world of regulation and enforcement.
A new Bribery Bill has been discussed in Parliament which seeks to replace out-of-date legislation with a purpose built system appropriate for dealing with companies operating in a global market place.
Under these new rules, Midlands companies and directors will be firmly in the firing line for not just what happens in their own organisations but will also be held accountable for conduct in their sales channels and supply chains.
Mr Tracey added: “The rapid increase in the prevalence and mobility of digital technology by businesses has changed the game. Over the last two decades certain types of fraud have evolved from the use of Tippex and fax machines to hi-tech digital operations. Companies that have not considered data loss as a fraud threat should start taking some basic steps now to protect themselves.”