CFOs would act unethically to win business

30 May 2012

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30 May 2012 | Kamalpreet Badasha

More than half (54 per cent) of senior executives in the UK would participate in unethical activities such as misstating financial statements to win business.

Using cash payments to win business was considered acceptable by 15 per cent of CFOs surveyed globally for Ernst & Young’s annual fraud survey. A further 4 per cent would misstate financial performance.

“CFOs’ influence within companies means they have a key role in preventing fraud, bribery or corruption and they need to redouble their efforts to set the right tone,” said John Smart, partner at Ernst & Young fraud investigation and dispute services practice.

Just under a quarter (24 per cent) of UK companies have had to take action to deal with bribery and corruption in the past 12 months. But despite the introduction of the Bribery Act in the UK in July last year, just 26 per cent of executives believe prosecution and conviction in fraud cases is a reality. In addition, 72 per cent of UK executives considered there would be potential corruption risks presented by entering new markets to create growth via exports.

The survey, Growing Beyond: a place for integrity, conducted 1,758 interviews with CFOs, chief compliance officers and heads of internal audit and legal departments between November 2011 and February 2012.

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