3 Data-Driven Strategies for Better Fraud Detection

If your organization is like most, your employees are spending more money across more spend categories and using more payment methods than ever before. While this increase in employee flexibility is great for productivity, it often comes with a lack of visibility and an increase risk in fraud.  

Organizations that are not equipped to capture all of this spend are leaving themselves vulnerable to compliance risks, not to mention schemes from both intentional and unintentional fraudsters. However, some organizations have embraced this change in employee spending by  leveraging newly accessible data to get a better handle on spend and reduce their fraud risks.

In a recent Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) webinar, New Ways to Prevent and Detect Fraud Risks Across Employee Spend Areas, Ford Motor Company and CenterPoint Energy shared how their organizations integrate their employee spend data to help their teams prevent and detect fraudulent spend.

At the top of their to-do list for tackling fraud: putting a spotlight on the right data. 

  1. Empower your expense data with your p-card program. Your organization may issue credit cards to your employees, but what story is this spend data telling you? Bill Verial of CenterPoint Energy combines p-card data with expense reports to analyze trends, search key words or Merchant Category Codes, and uncover any red flags. He recommends using SAP Concur to pull corporate card reports that dive deeper into company card spend versus personal card use, find duplicate expenses, and spotlight spend for specific employees. Leveraging actual data to drive your examinations makes searching for fraudsters feel less like a never-ending pursuit.  
  2. Look at employee spend in all individual investigations. When it comes to fraud schemes, a wrongful act committed in one part of the business usually means additional fraud in another. Because of this, Kellie Lintner of Ford Motor Company suggests always conducting an expense report review for each and every investigation. In investigating an individual for time-card fraud, Kellie pulled two years’ worth of expense report line items to dive deeper into the individual’s spending patterns. As a result, she uncovered fraudulent cash items and false receipts resulting in $3,000 in fraudulent spend in just one area.
  3. Let your system do the work for you. Having all your spend data in one place makes it easier to catch fraud right away, providing fewer opportunities for patterns of fraud to develop down the road. Glenn Phillips of Ford uses SAP Concur’s Consultative Intelligence tool to analyze 100% of their expense transactions, flag items based on the company’s risk parameters, and pull these flagged items into a single dashboard. Immediately, a report is sent to department managers and investigative teams to address problematic spend. Proactively examining the spend data your employees give you puts less of a strain on resources, freeing them up to focus on uncovering more complex fraud schemes.

While today’s shift in employee spending may mean some are left sifting through more data, it doesn’t have to make fraud detection more difficult. Organizations that pull together and analyze spend from channels both new and old are better equipped to reduce their fraud risks and prevent future schemes from occurring. Is yours one of them?


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