Our daily newspapers are filled with stories of fraud and financial shenanigans. It has become daily occurrence that frauds of high profile cases break out and become headlines. Case after case has become routine. The shocking publicized financial scandals have shaken the underpinnings of our economic system. In the recent years there is enormous increase in occupational fraud. We have witnessed that our national enterprises have disclosed millions of rupees in financial fraud. Millions of rupees of public money have plundered, wasted and lost annually.
Association of Certified Fraud Examiner (ACFE) based at Austin, USA is a global organization committed to fight against fraud and economic crimes worldwide. Together with nearly 65,000 members, the ACFE is reducing business fraud worldwide and inspiring public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession in 120 countries around the world. In the crusade against the epidemic of fraud, ACFE has commemorated a week entitled, “International Fraud Awareness Week” from 11th to 17th Nov, 2012 in a bid to highlight this global issue to the forefront and bringing awareness against this huge global problem to combat with a commitment. Irrespective of the nature, extent and scope of the individuals and organizations, whether it is a rich or poor, small or medium sized entities, whether it is sole-proprietorship, partnership, privately-held company, charitable institution, NGOs or public-limited company. All individuals or entities are prone to fraud. The effects are devastating, pernicious and over-reaching; undoubtedly this menace has crossed the national frontiers.
The ACFE’s 2012 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse is based on data compiled from a study of 1,388 cases of occupational fraud that occurred worldwide between January 2010 and December 2011. This vital information was provided by the Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) who investigated those cases. The fraud cases in this study came from 94 nations — providing a truly global view into the plague of occupational fraud. This study estimated that the typical organization loses 5% of its revenues to fraud each year. Applied to the estimated 2011 Gross World Product, this figure translates to a potential projected global fraud loss of more than $3.5 trillion. The high-profile financial scandals, occupational frauds have created heightened concerns over transparency, fair play and accountability. Public expectations have heightened the necessity to investigate these cases and recover public proceeds from the criminals. There is a need to develop a framework that can detect fraud within organizations. Successful fraud or forensic accounting analyses and findings reported by practicing professionals may be the difference between whether perpetrators avoid detection of their illegal activities or they are brought to justice.
Association of Certified Fraud Examiner (ACFE) is the leading international organization engaged in the anti-fraud fight that provides higher-quality educational opportunities directed to prevent, detect and investigate fraud. The key role is to realize the world on its crusade against fraud and fraudulent activity that have mired global economic landscape. The real challenge ahead how to contain and control this alarming proposition the world over.
ACFE has long before taken initiatives to enhance education in fraud and forensic accounting. This is an appropriate time to recognize, realize and make conscious efforts in fraud and forensic accounting education by corporate and industry stakeholders, professional services providers, law enforcement, the legal community, government and regulatory stakeholders, professional organizations, and academicians who have actively participated in the anti-fraud campaign and confronted this global menace.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has actively encouraged universities to offer Fraud Examination course by offering sample syllabi, videos and other materials. This course is offered in more than 300 universities, many universities have reported that students have enrolled in large numbers and have shown great interest in such classes. Admittedly, not all fraud and forensic accounting courses are taught in the same manner. There are different approaches to teaching this relatively new course, some of which are as follows:
• A general course on all types of fraud perpetrated in all walks of life, including identity theft, telemarketing fraud, investment scams etc. • A course specifically looking at fraud against organizations perpetrated by employees, vendors and customers • A course specifically targeted at discovering financial statement fraud • A fraud auditing and investigation course, looking at internal and external audit procedures • A course dealing with gathering evidence of fraud, including testimonial, documentary, and surveillance evidence • A course specifically targeted toward presenting evidence in court.
We will have to recognize that our students need skills and require hands-on experience. While ACFE has provided the choice of course material (textbooks, case studies, videos, software, hands-on materials, general discussion cases etc.) all are valuable sources that can benefit students. These skills can be improved and sharpened by digesting the material more effectively when they get hands-on experience. Fraud and forensic accounting internship are almost non-existent and it needs to create opportunities for the students. Other hands-on activities that can build skills include moot court exercises, data mining extraction and analysis, simulated cases and investigations, and fraud reporting exercises based on case details and fact patterns.
Fraud and forensic accounting are comprehensive fields that provide an opportunity for colleges and universities to integrate and assess skills developed throughout undergraduate and graduate programs. The study of fraud and forensic accounting engages most accounting skill sets and provides the opportunity to integrate with other non-business programs throughout the university community.
In 2003, West Virginia University (WVU) with an award from the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, embarked on a mission to develop a model curriculum covering the requisite foundational skills in the emerging discipline of fraud examination and forensic accounting. WVU assembled a network of 46 subject-matter experts from across the United States represented broad spectrum of corporate and security fields. Working with this network, WVU produced its model curriculum report “Education and Training in Fraud and Forensic Accounting: A Guide for Educational Institutions, Stakeholder Organizations, Faculty and Students” can be obtained from University website.
ACFE convenes regularly workshops, training programs and conferences, invite fraud examination experts around the world to hear presentations on the latest developments and learn about the ways the ACFE can assist them in educating the next generation of professional fraud examiners. Past Educators meetings covered topics such as improvements in the ACFE Higher Education initiative, support for ACFE Student Chapters at participating colleges and universities, ideas for research in the area of fraud, and academic journal publishing fraud examination featured articles.