Whistleblowing in SMEs


IN their “Report To The Nations 2020 Global Study on Occupational Fraud and Abuse”, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) noted that 43% of the “schemes” from over 2,000 cases surveyed were reportedly detected through a “tip”.

This shows that having a whistleblowing (WB) channel is useful for any organisation in the investigation of fraud, corruption, bribery and misconduct.

I have spent almost 10 years in a public accounting firm investigating fraud, corruption, bribery and misconduct in the private sphere, and I agree that WB channels are quite powerful.

So why aren’t small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) actively setting it up?

The brutal truth is the cost of implementing an end-to-end whistleblowing solution, which can run into six figures.

But here’s a cheat sheet based on my own experience and research for SMEs to consider.

1. Come up with a simple one or two-page whistleblowing policy. State your commitment to look into complaints received, define what can be reported through the WB channel, the good faith requirements and protection against retaliation.

2. Create the channel. The easiest/cheapest option would be a dedicated email account and a WhatsApp number. I have also found European WB channels that are available for free online. These web-based platforms allow two-way communication with the complainant and some basic case management features.

3. Launch the channel. Work with your corporate communications team or get your sales and marketing team involved for ideas. This can be a simple email blast to all your employees (can also be extended to suppliers/contractors) or run a simple quiz offering a couple of free gifts. Print out simple cards and/or include information on the ways to access the channel during your regular training sessions. The objective is to get the word out.

4. Think about what happens once a report is received. Agree on who will perform the triage (deciding to chuck the report or doing something about it) and who will investigate and present the findings. Get some senior people involved.

5. Reinforce the channel. Every couple of months, tell your users (employees and suppliers) how many complaints were received and what action was taken (just the number, not the intimate details). This will show users or potential users that you take the channel seriously. Do a full review every two years or so.

JEEVA RAJOO

Chartered accountant and certified fraud examiner

Shah Alam

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

letters , opinion ,

   

Next In Letters

Maintain status quo for continuity
Foreign equity fix for Malaysia’s corporate lapses
Of dress codes and moral values
Building bridges across the South China Sea
Rail for inclusive mobility Premium
Don’t rush to join new framework Premium
It pays to be a senior citizen sometimes Premium
Paving the way for anti-hopping law Premium
Congratulations, Khalifa Affnan, for winning the Cambridge Dedicated Teacher award Premium
Swift action by Transport Minister addresses public concerns over rising e-hailing fares, public rail connectivity and safety

Others Also Read