With an aim of making India a global talent hub, companies across the board are making unswerving efforts to attract and retain talent. One of the most prolific methods that most organizations adopt is the concept of employee referrals. Besides being a more cost-effective recruitment tool, it also motivates and encourages current employees to contribute to the growth of the organization’s success and vision, and derive tangible returns. Accordingly, companies depend heavily upon employee referrals as a key source of manpower (e.g. some human resource teams have specific performance indicators to minimise the use of external consultants).
We are thrilled to collaborate with global anti-fraud community – Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Western Region Chapter, and launch the first Forensic Trailblazer Award. This award will be presented to an individual who showcases superior talent in this niche yet diverse domain of forensic investigations. The platform is designed to assess participants on a variety of skillsets and capabilities required to field challenges in this domain.
Nominations are open for individuals from business functions such as risk, compliance, finance, accounts, risk, legal, compliance, HR, law, audit, security, operations, technology, law enforcement, vigilance and ethics. They may be in private corporations, public sector units and Government entities.
Watch our video to know more and register now at http://www.ey.com/IN/FTA
On account of a firm’s rather average financial performance, Alex*, a manager there was supposed to sensitize his team about the probability of increments for the year being lower than the expected ratio. Considering that the top performer from his team, Alan* would not take well to the proposition, Alex advised him, in confidence, that he was going to compensate him through another route instead. This was to make up for the potential salary hike deficit. He then handed him an applicant resume and asked him to claim a ‘referral bonus’ for the candidate, from the human resources (HR) team.
In the recent past, India has witnessed a scenario where several oil and gas contracts were involved in litigation or arbitration matters, primarily because of issues around interpretation of contractual terms or cost sharing. In many cases it has been seen that the resolution of such disputes requires significant involvement of experts such as drilling engineers, scientists, statisticians and accountants.
Any brand that has gone through the peril of having counterfeit products circulated understands that addressing this issue is no mean feat. With the company’s reputation at stake, the task to identify and address this spurious supply can be exhaustive, time-consuming and complex. Counterfeiting can be considered a nightmare for any company, as it has the potential to cause havoc on several fronts – reputational, financial and organizational; however, many companies are yet to grasp the entirety of the impact it presents.
In our earlier blogpost, we discussed how trade-based money laundering (TBML) is emerging as the new hurdle on the anti-money laundering front, although financial institutions have striven to improve their overall anti-money laundering (AML) governance framework. Today, this issue is more than a local concern – it is a key global financial issue, which Governments, regulatory bodies and most organizations are struggling with. Continue reading
The evolution of ‘money’ has progressed from exchanging cattle, to coins, cash and most recently crypto currency. But the question to be considered in this digital era is – can you completely discard traditional forms to work with just an all-electronic currency? Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision was that it is possible, and in 2008, he proposed the idea of ‘Bitcoin’ – a system which is a form of digital currency available for users on the internet. Using Bitcoins and other crypto currencies such as Litecoins or Dogecoins, all monetary transactions could be completely anonymous, just like a cash transaction. A new wave of digital evolution is born this way, catapulting the use of currency to a whole new level.
The auto industry relies heavily upon its dealership community to amplify reach within the market. More often than not, it is the car dealer who is the face of the brand for the customer. These dealerships comprise third parties which operate as ‘middlemen’ and cater to the retail consumer base, based on a dealership contract with automakers.
The dealer earns a certain amount of money as commission from the automaker, which is mainly on the basis of the number of cars sold. Given the nature of business, the propensity for auto dealer fraud can be high. Such issues tend to have a wide ambit of risk factors that can impact customers as well as automakers. The latter are, however at risk not only on the monetary but on the reputational front as well.
Today, the global business environment is clamouring for enhanced transparency at a time of increased geopolitical tensions and heightened volatility in financial markets. The escalating threats of cybercrime, terrorist financing and, more recently, the revelations regarding widespread possible misuse of offshore jurisdictions, have increased pressure on Governments to act and companies to identify and mitigate fraud, bribery and corruption issues. Regulators recognize the threat that bribery and corruption pose to a financial system already under stress and are increasingly cooperating across borders to hold individuals accountable for illegal acts.
Trade-based transactions have gained considerable flak over the years due to the complexities involved. Traditionally, trade finance has always been viewed as a high risk area, particularly related to fraud. This perception has transformed recently, and regulators and international bodies have increasingly started viewing trade finance as a ‘high risk’ area of business for money laundering, terrorist financing and, more recently, for transactions related to the potential breach of international and national sanctions. In fact, trade-based money laundering (‘TBML’) has been a regular feature in recent news.
Bangladesh’s economic scorecard showcases significant growth as compared with other developing countries. The current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country stands 6.9 percent and has been consistently above six percent over the last three years. This progress is backed by strong private investments, substantial export figures and large remittances in infrastructure and services sectors. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), Bangladesh is expected to rank second in the top 10 countries, with a growth rate of seven percent GDP in 2019.
‘Discovery’ is a fact-finding process in litigation which occurs after a lawsuit is filed, to encourage exchange of information between both parties involved and help uncover the truth. Prior to the digital age, non-testimonial evidence primarily comprised paper documents, photographs and other physical evidence. With the prolific use of computers across industries, accepting digital evidence became inevitable in the judicial process, as communication and records on such channels could no longer be dismissed. This impetus drove change within Indian law to enable courts to accept digital evidence.
Amendments made to the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000, Indian Evidence Act 1872, Indian Penal Code 1860, Banker’s Book Evidence Act 1891 and The Companies Act, 2013, provide legislative framework for transactions, reporting, and recording in electronic format. This new admissible digital format now includes electronically stored information (ESI), and is therefore termed ‘eDiscovery’. These amendments are not only progressive and in sync with India’s go-green initiatives; they also provide a boost on improving India’s global perception on ease of doing business in the country.
Our last infographic on the transpiring corruption atmosphere within BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) highlighted how each of these regions stack up on Transparency International’s – Corruption Perception Index. It also highlighted the risk areas and regulatory measures that their standing could possibly be attributed to. In this post, we will take a more in-depth look at the reality of the matter, through insights from EY’s Global fraud survey 2014 accompanied by a SWOT analysis.
Gender parity is a subject of much discussion in these times, with the World Economic Forum estimating that it will take about 117 years to achieve this feat globally, according to its Global Gender Gap Report 2015. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we thought it ideal to evaluate the transition of the industry in India with respect to a game-changing Act incorporated in India – the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Act’). The rationale behind it being enacted was to ensure safe working spaces for women and to build enabling work environments that respect women’s right to equality of status and opportunity.
Countries everywhere are facing a grueling task of fighting corruption. BRICS nations, which are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are no different. As emerging economies, their approach to achieve high growth can be marred by endemic risks such as fraud, bribery, corruption and cybercrime. However, they need to leverage their strengths, seize opportunities as they focus on building ethical businesses, boosting investor confidence and formulating structural reforms. Continue reading
*Gaurav, a finance manager in a multinational company, rose to attention one Monday morning as he received an email from *Shephali, the company’s chief financial officer (CFO). The email directed him to urgently make a payment of $10,476 toward an attached invoice to a Cyprus-based vendor. Gaurav instantly initiated the process, bypassing some of the usual vendor checks as it was urgent and approved by his CFO. Later that week, only when he met Shephali for a monthly meeting, did he realise that the email was not sent by her and that they had been defrauded.
Privacy, a term that we seldom take enough cognizance of, is gradually changing form. In this technologically infused age, where virtual identities have now taken precedence in our personal and professional lives, the concept of data privacy has become inevitably important.
The celebration of Data Privacy Day on 28 January each year that was initiated in Europe, is now observed by approximately 50 countries in the world. This day, brought into effect to increase awareness around the subject, recognises the need for change in the collective mind-set towards privacy in the digital era.
In today’s digital world, there are rapidly expanding opportunities for innovation and growth. Unfortunately, these new opportunities have also brought new fraud risks in the forms of cybercrime and internal threat.
Our Global Forensic Data Analytics Survey 2016, Shifting into high gear: mitigating risks and demonstrating returns, revealed that risks such as such as internal fraud, cybercrime, corruption, money laundering etc. are leading to increased investment in forensic data analytics (FDA). Companies are seeing FDA as a critical component that can have a significant impact on these growing threats and understand the need to proactively link FDA within their anti-fraud programs.
In this day and age, everyone is troubled by the menace of computer malware — unwanted and malicious software code that hacks computer systems, causing malfunction, data theft and loss of business. Typically, malware tends to rapidly spread to targeted and non-targeted individuals and businesses, making it one of the major threats in today’s digital world.
Many organizations have stepped up their cybersecurity efforts to safeguard against both traditional and new threats. It has been observed that many traditional threats tend to morph themselves into new age threats with added complexity. This makes it difficult to detect and prevent them from causing destruction or trouble.
The latest addition to such threats is ‘Ransomware’. It is turning out to be a nightmare for companies that have, in many cases, previously encountered the repercussions of a simple virus attack.
Economic growth, regulatory reforms and enhanced investor confidence took the Indian business environment by storm in 2015. Companies steadily turned toward a more effective and ethical way to do business and attempted to tighten the noose on unethical practices. While there has been a gradual shift in mind-set as well as execution, companies need to continue increasing their awareness around fraud, bribery and corruption related risks.
In 2016, organizations need to continue being conscious of rising threats which could have an impact on them. In line with this thought, we have outlined key trends to enable CXOs to comprehend these issues and build an inclusive path for organizational success.
Mitigating cybercrime risks – 2015 saw perpetrators attack and compromise large corporations, leaving them struggling to protect their IP and sensitive data. With this in mind, companies will attempt to be better prepared in their cyber security measures. At the same time, there will be a spike in solutions and services such as proactive assessments, network security monitoring and deception technologies such as honeypots.
Addressing concerns in the banking and financial services sector – Being the backbone of the economy, the sector will go through significant changes in order for the country to effectively tread a growth path. 2015 saw the sector come under the pressure of rising non-performing assets (NPAs) in the corporate loans space. While the Government and regulators are trying to resolve this, financial institutions themselves will have to take stricter action toward errant borrowers and focus on the impact on recovery.
Crusading against bribery and corruption – During the past year, there has been an intense global regulatory enforcement around flouting of bribery and corruption norms. From an India standpoint, there was an increased thrust toward attempting to amend regulations (Companies Act 2013, Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2013, Lokpal and Lokayuktas and other related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014, and the amendments to the Whistle-blowers Protection Act, 2011) to incorporate a more robust approach to tackle perpetrators on this front. Taking this into account, it is perceived that 2016 will bring in a new wave of change in terms of mechanisms available to deal with such issues.
Leveraging dispute resolution mechanisms – 2015 has seen a change around varied avenues to resolve commercial disputes with the emergence of alternate dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation, conciliation and arbitrations. These platforms are gaining prominence. Going forward, companies will need to embrace evolving dispute resolution mechanisms that will help to businesses manage the commercial disputes effectively.
Rising support through eDiscovery and Managed Document Review – Today, General Counsels (GCs) and in-house legal professionals have a tough task ahead of them when it comes to managing the company’s legal affairs. These could be compliance with relevant laws and regulations, disputes, litigation or arbitration proceedings. With such challenges, GCs will increasingly turn to managed services such as eDiscovery and Managed Document Review for efficiency as well as cost savings.
Growth and profitability have been at the crux of the corporate agenda and defined the way businesses function. Companies have nevertheless encountered challenges while trying to achieve these goals, which have inevitably required them to sometimes ‘work around the way of the land’.
For instance, it is a common concern that in certain regions or sectors or business dealings, it is impossible to carry out tasks without greasing palms. This is because of archaic perceptions and practices that consider these practices indispensable to running day-to-day operations as well as ensuring sustainability in the long run. Earlier, this mind-set often overlooked unethical behaviour as long as the business was running smoothly and was in the companies’ favour. But today, such moral outlook is changing.
Would you randomly hand out the key to your home? Or maybe the user ID to your personal laptop or bank account? The answer is a definitive no. Then why do individuals not pay heed to maintaining the confidentiality of access credentials at their workplace?
It is a well-known fact in this digital era that information technology is vastly relied upon by most companies. But, it seldom occurs to an average user to realize the innumerable fraud risks that could potentially arise on account of sharing the access credentials. One of the continuous challenges organizations face is evaluating whether the confidentiality of passwords and user credentials is being safeguarded by their employees.
India has seen a spurt of corporate scams and cases of corporate espionage. This has resulted in an urgent need for a strong corporate compliance function. Bribery and corruption continue to pose significant challenges in India. The 2014 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions and Bribe Payers Indices (2011) rank India 85th (out of 174) and 19th (out of 28), respectively, indicating the severity of the issue.
Corporate India is now slowly taking steps in the right direction in principle but still not investing enough in practice. An effective compliance plan would ideally include more than just an increase in budget allocated. It would involve the establishment of leading global practices, policies and procedures. It would also focus on providing appropriate training sessions to sensitise employees across the board about the importance of complying with relevant laws.
Sustainable profitability is vital in today’s highly competitive business environment. This factor has therefore prompted companies to devise strategies that are in sync with this aim. While profitability has essentially always been a focus, ensuring its existence for the long term is a goal which requires a heightened level of efficiency. This can only be brought about through a thorough evaluation of processes and mechanisms, to rule out any possible fractions of wastage.
This may seem like an easy task, however consider the complexities when the team overlooks an avenue due lack of awareness. The scope of this process would severely be affected, as the possibilities of fraud were not incorporated at the onset. It is extremely critical for businesses to be aware of possible vulnerabilities prior to such tasks being undertaken. A failure to do so, results in inevitable risk.
The Indian pharmaceutical sector has seen immense flux in recent times in the form of stricter regulations, price control, contract manufacturing, mergers and acquisitions and foreign investments among others. Regulators around the globe, such as United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), the United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (UK MHRA), World Health Organisation (WHO) Indian Food and Drug Administration and others have started keeping a closer watch on this sector, given the developments. Particularly in terms of drug safety, quality and compliance, there has been an increase in enforcement action such as surprise inspections on manufacturing facilities and issuance of warning letters by foreign regulators such as US FDA, UK MHRA and others.
“Corruption affects the growth of a nation, reduces the Government’s income and creates inequalities in distribution of income and wealth. It is a major factor hindering development”, was the Indian Prime Minister’s stance on the ongoing ‘Vigilance Awareness Week’. He further went on to elaborate that corruption needs to be treated like a ‘disease’ and the focus should be on prevention. These may seem like strong words to use, however given India’s tryst with corruption, these statements are aptly framed.
In our last segment of EYPerspecTV with Mr. Vinod Rai, former Chairman of United Nations Panel of External Auditors and 11th Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, we talked about how private companies in India could improve their corporate governance structures and ensure compliance in more than just substance.
In the third and final segment of this series, Mr. Rai gives his views on bribery and corruption in India, including issues such as dealing with third party risks (or middlemen) and the gifting culture.
A brand is much more than an organisation. It is a perception that has thrived on ethics and earned the trust of the public. Building a successful and reputed brand requires much more than monetary investment. Companies have taken years to build brands and garnered the trust of customers through their untiring effort. Trust is the most integral part of a brand. How then, should custodians of this intangible perception ensure it is not lost?
The banking and financial services sector has weathered many storms since the global slowdown. But recent news around increasing stressed assets and instances of bribery and corruption has highlighted the risks faced by the sector in India.
To understand its impact, our team conducted a survey to decode the reasons and challenges around the rising Non Performing Assets (NPAs) in corporate loans. Watch the highlights of our survey, ‘Unmasking India’s NPA issues – can the banking sector overcome this phase?’ in this video as the FIDS leaders echo the views of the banking community as well as add insights from our experience in this sector.
Sparked by innovative ideas and led by entrepreneurial talent, the Indian start-up ecosystem has seen skyrocketing growth over the last few years. But every burgeoning business is faced with its own set of challenges. The Indian software products space has shown immense promise; but it has also become vulnerable to compliance related issues.
India has emerged as one of the most preferred destinations for investments and trade. Sectors such as infrastructure, real estate, e-commerce, and information technology have witnessed increased collaboration and entry of foreign investors. However, as per the World Bank report on Ease of doing business rankings, India is still ranked at just 142.
In August, 2014 the Law Commission of India (Law Commission) submitted its 246th Report to the Government of India. The Law Commission envisaged the country to emerge as a global arbitration hub, and hence seeks to bring more objectivity to arbitration law in India.
Our business and social lives have become closely intertwined. With new platforms, applications and technologies being discovered almost on a daily basis, social networks are being embraced rapidly by individuals and corporations. While some companies use internet for businesses (e-commerce), others use social media channels as part of their branding strategies to build a resolute connect with their stakeholders. These include clients, shareholders, employees and suppliers.
In our last segment of EYPerspecTV with Mr. Vinod Rai, former Chairman of United Nations Panel of External Auditors and 11th Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, we discussed the new Companies Act 2013 and debated on the role of whistle-blowing in India.
In the second segment of this three part series, Mr. Rai gives guidance to private companies in India to improve their governance structure, have the right tone at the top and ensure compliance in substance.
Being the Chief Executive Officer of a disruptive business venture sounds thrilling and exciting, more so when you are below 30 years of age. It is then not surprising to see young and dynamic individuals at the helm of businesses, raring to take the world by storm
In our first segment of EYPerspecTV, Mr. Vinod Rai, former Chairman of United Nations Panel of External Auditors and 11th Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India shares his thoughts on various topics impacting today’s business environment.
The first of the three part series of videos, Mr. Rai discusses his views on compliance and whistle-blowing with us.
One of the key aspects discussed in the earlier blogpost, ‘Fraud buster’ series – Dealing with employee frauds, was that organizations can address employee frauds through job rotation and mandatory vacation policies, along with other internal controls. Taking a cue from that, it may be practical to consider the tenure of an individual in a certain entity (company), division, department and area of work while evaluating the conditions and environment conducive to fraud risks.
In July 2001, Counterpane Internet Security, a new start-up firm released their free monthly newsletter covering various topics related to computer security and cryptography. The primary focus of that edition was “Monitoring First” and the articles laid emphasis on the need to monitor networks and systems before anything else.
It recommended that companies need to shift their focus toward timely detection of malicious activity or compromise instead of investing heavily on prevention capabilities. According to the author, the deployment of security controls such as firewalls and intrusion detection system (IDS) is not enough. Configuration and monitoring the output of these devices is immensely important to detect any compromise in time.
The author of this article was none other than ‘security guru’, Bruce Schneier.
Businesses are operating in a challenging environment today and management is under increased pressure to find new ways to grow ventures and augment revenues. It may not be uncommon to see that individuals take unnecessary risks and resort to fast track means in order to accelerate growth.
India has been at the centre of conversations across the globe, and the new Government seems to have brought in a noticeable change in terms of regulatory dynamics. In the quest to truly redefine India’s appeal factor and make it an attractive investment destination, the Government has been treading a path of reform. The objective is to induce transformation within the corporate sphere, with a special focus on tackling unethical business practices. This reckoning of sorts, has led them to undertake a three pronged agenda – ensure ethical business decorum, encourage the influx of foreign investments and ease of doing business in India.
The dependency on third parties to enable easy functioning of business is immense. Companies engage the services of various third parties for multiple reasons – it could vary from getting a factory license, securing permission to even obtaining contracts. But the risks associated with such sub-contracting are not given enough importance.
Our last post on ‘Fraud buster series – Dealing with employee frauds’ covered some of the reasons for employees to be involved in fraudulent activities. In continuation with the same theme, the focus will now be on how companies are increasingly getting exposed to such fraud risks.
If you think that an employee is a fraudster with a track record of scams behind them or joins a company with the sole intention of defrauding them; that may not really be true.
With fraud, waste and abuse becoming common issues in capital projects, organizations are now re-examining and sequencing their plans to mitigate these threats. They are contemplating various methodic approaches to address risk areas individually through various combinations of advanced technologies.
In today’s day and age, fraudsters’ methods have become sophisticated. They are able to influence other individuals into supporting, executing or ignoring these dubious activities or transactions.
There have been cases where fraudsters deposit a large amount of funds into different accounts in the names of their relatives, friends, employees, etc. This money is then invested into new business and real estate in the names of the same or different relatives and friends. Seasoned fraudsters or their accomplices always have “safe” options to conceal the proceeds of fraud and acquisitions made with that amount.
‘Make In India’ is the latest buzzword currently doing the rounds of many Government offices as well as corporate corridors in India. A major initiative, it refers to the new national program designed to facilitate investment, foster innovation, enhance skill development and protect intellectual property. But most of all, it is intended to build the best-in-class manufacturing infrastructure in India which would promote and encourage the growth of a global manufacturing hub.
A billion dollar infrastructure project was allocated to a leading company by a multilateral bank. Post the development stage, it was observed that the road constructed was 30% narrower than pre-decided specifications. However, the contract was paid in full to the allotted contractor company.
So, where did the money go? How did this happen?
The tremendous growth of specialist services from India is the most happening development in the field of legal services. This is referred as “Legal Process Outsourcing” (LPO) from onshore units to offshore centers such as India.
Today, LPO is one of the fastest growing sub-sectors in the Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) domain. A plethora of services such as Contract Review, Due Diligence, Document Review etc. are provided by the legal offshore service providers, out of which Document Review is the most crucial part.
Being a sensitive subject, most often instances of sexual harassment have been, metaphorically speaking, swept under the carpet. This stance needs to change. Recognising the general approach which has traditionally prevailed around this area, the Government introduced the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2013 to ensure the safety of women at their place of work. This proved to be a welcome move, compelling companies to take a deliberated stance and put preventive measures in place. Today, the importance of a robust sexual harassment prevention framework is especially necessary, given the rapid rise of women in the workforce.