EY’s 14th Global Fraud Survey revealed a sharp rise in Australian executives who believe bribery and corrupt practices are widespread; from just eight per cent in 2014 to 26 per cent in 2016.
The dramatic increase among Australian executives is a direct contrast to global results, which remained relatively stagnant (38 per cent in 2014 and 39 per cent in 2016).
Alarmingly, 25 per cent of Australian respondents admitted that they could justify unethical behaviour in order to meet financial targets, with 16 per cent of finance team members also indicating their willingness to make a cash payment to win or retain business.
“Those executives responsible for ethics and compliance appear to be facing a significant challenge if they are to keep their organisations clear from the scrutiny of prosecutors,” the firm said.
“Increased levels of global cooperation between law enforcement agencies are making it harder for fraudsters and bribe payers to evade prosecution,” said Rob Locke, EY fraud investigation and dispute services managing partner for Oceania.
“However, with respondents indicating that such misconduct is showing no sign of abating, companies continue to be exposed to major risks driven by the illegal actions of a small minority of employees.”
“On a more positive note though,” Mr Locke concluded, “the survey found Australian companies were the most likely to identify third parties, such as vendors, agents, distributors and joint venture partners, as part of their anti-corruption due diligence. In fact, only three per cent of Australian respondents said they didn’t do this, much lower than the global average of 19 per cent.”