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1 in 5 SMEs targeted with fraudulent invoices

New research has found the prevalence of invoice fraud in Australia continues to rise, with small business and sole traders experiencing an average loss of $15,500 this year.

Business Emma Ryan 08 November 2021
— 1 minute read

As part of this week’s Scams Awareness Week (8-12 November), Xero has released data from a new survey, showing the impact fraudulent invoices have on Australia’s SME community.

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According to the findings, which captured data from 1,000 small businesses, one in five respondents have been targeted with fraudulent invoices.

Eighteen per cent of small businesses and sole traders have fallen victim to invoice fraud and experienced an average loss of $15,467.

“This new data paints a concerning picture of the levels of invoice fraud in Australia, with small businesses of all sizes being targeted,” said Joseph Lyons, managing director, Xero Australia and Asia.

“For anyone falling victim, these scams are having a big financial impact.” 

The research also shed light on small-business vigilance online.

The findings revealed while 87 per cent of SMEs think cyber security is important, 28 per cent of businesses don’t spend any money on protection and education for their business.

When asked if they could identify a fraudulent invoice, only two in five small-business respondents were confident in spotting one, according to the report, while three in 10 respondents didn’t know how to spot a fraudulent invoice or were unsure if they would know how.

Mr Lyons said the research reinforces the need for e-invoicing to be capitalised on within the Australian market.

“As we continue on a path to economic recovery, it’s important businesses have the right measures in place to protect and enhance their financial wellbeing. Emerging tools like e-invoicing have the potential to create a safer and more effective way to manage invoices and bills, now and into the future,” Mr Lyons said.

1 in 5 SMEs targeted with fraudulent invoices
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Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media and editor of the company's legal publication, Lawyers Weekly.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015 and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. In addition, she has produced exclusive multimedia and event content related to the company's respective brands and audiences.

A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with key industry stakeholders across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).

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