Fraud and Corruption in Accounting Put Under the Microscope

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The 2016 Global Fraud Study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) makes clear that fraud is a persistent global threat. More occupational fraud began in the accounting department than in any other business unit, the study reveals.

Of the frauds analyzed for the study, the majority were committed by people in accounting, operations, sales, executive/upper management, customer service, purchasing, and finance.

“We now live in a world where virtually all business and government organizations understand that fraud is a threat they must deal with,” James Ratley, CFE, co-founder and president of the ACFE, says in the study.

Ratley, who headed fraud investigations at a forensic accounting firm before establishing the ACFE, provided AccountingWEB with his perspective on fraud trends.

AW: The 2016 Global Fraud Study indicates that corruption plays a key role in fraud schemes. Why do you think that is, and what’s the most prevalent form of corruption?

James Ratley: Corruption was the scheme that was most common among the reported cases in the banking and financial services sector; 37.5 percent of the cases reported to us that were perpetrated at banks and financial services organizations involved some form of corruption. However, banking and financial services was not the sector with the highest percentage of corruption cases; several industries had a greater percentage of reported cases that involved corruption.

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About Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.


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