Few Firms Have a Regulatory Response Team Despite Anti-fraud Programs

In the heightened regulatory environment of the post-Enron business world, a majority of companies have instituted formal anti-fraud programs and controls, according to an online poll released earlier this month by Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte FAS). Yet while approximately 75 percent of respondents indicated their companies have anti-fraud programs and controls designed to deter, detect and prevent fraud, only 13 percent indicated their companies have a regulatory response team in place to handle regulatory investigations.

Other key results include:

  • Almost 60 percent of respondents indicated that, over the next two years, they believe the number of internal and external investigations related to financial accounting issues will increase.

  • 46 percent of participants note their companies had responded to an inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Department of Justice (DOJ).

  • Almost 36 percent of respondents indicated that, to the extent their companies had conducted an internal investigation on financial statement issues, such investigation did not result in any findings of accounting irregularities.

“The responses to our polling questions were not surprising,” Howard Scheck, a partner in Deloitte FAS’ Forensic & Dispute Services practice, said in a prepared statement announcing the results of the poll. “Increasingly, companies are recognizing and beginning to tackle this very important issue. That’s the good news.”

“The challenge for most companies, however, becomes one of execution,” David Bloch, a principal in Deloitte FAS’ Forensic & Dispute Services practice, continued. “While positive steps are being taken within corporations, we believe it will be some time before formal response plans become universal.”

Deloitte FAS surveyed approximately 500 participants online, including senior-level financial executives such as chief financial officers and controllers. The executives primarily represented the energy and resources, financial services and manufacturing services.

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