Lawyer Monthly - March 2022

EXPERT INSIGHT 54 WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM | MAR 2022 Managing Fraud and Integrity Risks on a Global Scale T Fraud and economic crime rates have boomed amid the COVID-19 pandemic as organisations have been forced to rapidly adjust their long-established processes. Uncertainty has led to vulnerability, and the surge has impacted companies both in the UK and internationally. This month we hear from Fran Marwood, head of PwC UK’s Digital and Forensic Investigations team, who shares his perspective on the current landscape of international fraud and integrity risks. o give a general summary, what does your role as a forensic accountant at PwC entail? The expertise we have in the team helps our clients to regain stability and trust, and to emerge stronger when the unexpected happens. That can be fraud, accounting misstatement, or some other matter where the extent and financial consequences are unknown. I have been fortunate to advise on a lot of the most prominent fraud and accounting misstatement investigations in recent years. The role involves bringing together the different experts and technology we have to establish exactly what has happened, often within tight timescales. We have seen many of these cases before, but our clients are often experiencing these for the first time in their careers. Often a huge amount rests on the clients’ shoulders to get the response right and one of the most rewarding parts of the job is helping them to navigate the challenges that arise. These often involve interactions with regulatory and law enforcement bodies, the company’s auditors and other stakeholders, and helping the client to avoid common pitfalls. Can you give us a layman’s explanation of the fraud and integrity space? The fraud and integrity space includes a surprisingly broad range of wrongdoing, which is increasingly perpetrated in a coordinated manner by organised crime. Most businesses have experienced losses as the result of this wrongdoing, and the cost to the wider UK economy is huge, often estimated to be in excess of £200 billion. Fraud and economic crime rates are currently at record highs, impacting more companies in more diverse ways than ever before. There are daily references to it in the press, and for businesses who get it wrong, the consequences are significant. Not only do they face disruption and often reputational damage, but fines of several billions are not unusual. These sorts of issues often stem from problems with related control environments. A key lesson is to make

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