Unlawful behaviour such as theft or fraud pertaining to organisations and corporations must be investigated as soon as it is identified and stopped to prevent further profit and reputational loss. It is estimated that US$2.44 billion was lost to Australian retailers in 2014-15 through shrinkage. Of this figure, over 75% was attributed either to shoplifting or employees. Company loyalty is not guaranteed and suspicion is not enough evidence for the judge. If you believe your company is experiencing loss in some way, an investigation should be launched to not only protect your profits but also gather crucial evidence.
A corporate investigation may discover wrongdoings by a variety of people. Whether this is management, employees or third parties, any behaviour which impacts the profitability and/or functionality of a corporation must be investigated and stopped. It can be difficult in some circumstances to entrust the task of investigating suspected activities to someone within the company as it may be unclear who is involved in the first place. It is best to hire a third party investigative consultancy who can enter in an impartial, experienced and professional capacity which enables them to uncover the truth as quickly as possible.
A company is often targeted by someone wanting to exploit valuable information. This may take the form of consumer, proprietary or company information. Most information is now stored electronically and therefore thefts usually occur over compromised networks. Companies may become suspicious and are alerted to the possibility of a security breach involving information when they notice changes in or removal of computer files, unusual outbound traffic or suddenly being locked out of accounts. Thorough investigations by security consultants alongside your IT team should be able to identify not only what has been taken but also which point of access was used to enter the system. Once discovered, this should be patched as soon as possible to prevent further loss.
Other breaches may be quite simply after cold, hard cash. From embezzling funds through company accounts to committing fraudulent acts, money is an incredibly popular motive. Financial investigations are able to trace money including its source, its end position and how it moved within the company. Forensic accounting can offer in-depth analysis of a company’s finances to identify signs of tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement and corruption in a way which will stand up in a criminal court if necessary. They can collect and analyse bank accounts, computer files, vehicle records, real estate files and other high value assets.
Don’t forget, however, that corporate investigations can be launched not only in a reactionary setting but as a proactive prevention against potential theft or fraudulent acts. A corporate investigation can identify weaknesses and problems with your existing company security protocols, providing you with the information necessary to strengthen your security pre-emptively. Proactive is always better than reactive when it comes to your company’s assets.