Businesses worry about financial statement fraud, "double dip" in economy

Financial statement fraud was the most commonly expressed type of fraud risk that respondents said their company would be most concerned about in the next 12 months (23 percent), according to a survey of business professionals during a recent Deloitte Webcast.

Stimulus fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, and money laundering were each noted by six percent of respondents.

"Although less than 10 percent of respondents pointed to stimulus fraud as the type of risk their company will be the most concerned about over the next year, the opportunities the stimulus program provides are likely to be accompanied by unprecedented scrutiny of how funds are being disbursed, spent, and accounted for," said Greg Swinehart, partner and national leader of forensic & dispute services for Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte FAS).

"Companies participating in the program will do well to take the government's accountability pronouncements to heart and make a serious commitment to transparency and fraud prevention," Swinehart said.

A vast majority of business professionals (84 percent) are concerned that there may be a "double dip" in the economy. More than one-quarter (27 percent) of those polled are very concerned that there may be a "double dip" and more than half (58 percent) are somewhat concerned.
 
"Many of our clients are optimistic about the economic recovery but have lingering concerns. They are worried about job growth as well as continued uncertainty within the financial and governmental sectors," said David Williams, chief executive officer of Deloitte FAS.

"The economic growth we experienced at the end of 2009 and the momentum that continues today has resulted in increased optimism; however, until the job picture stabilizes and the credit markets firm up, concerns will remain," Williams said.
 
Nearly one-third (31 percent) of respondents believe that their company will not fully recover from the recession until after 2011. Only 14 percent of respondents thought their company would fully recover by the end of 2010.
 
Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents think that some cost-cutting measures their company implemented to weather the recession will be enforced during the upturn. Additionally, 19 percent of those polled responded that all cost cutting measures implemented during the recession would continue to be enforced during the upturn.
 
More than 1,280 business professionals from the banking and securities, consumer and industrial products, consumer business, energy and resources, financial services, health care providers, health sciences and government, insurance, investment management, life sciences and health care, manufacturing, retail, wholesale, and distribution, technology, media & telecommunications industries responded to the online polling questions during the Deloitte Webcast, titled "Recession and Recovery: Great Challenges, Greater Opportunity."

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