More than three-quarters of respondents to a recent global benchmark report said they have conducted an internal investigation into fraud or corruption within the past three years and that the cost of such probes is on the rise.
The second part of the 2021/22 Global Fraud and Risk Report, released Monday by Kroll, surveyed 1,336 senior decision-makers for risk strategy—including chief compliance officers and general counsel—across 17 countries. Of the respondents, 78 percent said their firms conducted an internal investigation in the last three years, and 79 percent said investigations were more expensive.
The survey asked respondents to focus on what is driving those costs. Nearly one in three (29 percent) believed document review and eDiscovery services were the most expensive relative to their value—“the highest of all services listed in our research,” the report said.
Other investigatory services respondents believed were overpriced compared to their value included computer forensics (24 percent), forensic accounting (19 percent), open-source research (16 percent), and witness interviews (11 percent).
The report said “increasingly global operations, complex supply chains, huge data sets, data governance considerations, and a variety of internal and external stakeholders to coordinate” contribute to an investigations process that “can be laborious, inefficient, and costly.”
The types of firms most hired to conduct or provide assistance to internal corporate investigations, according to the survey, were computer forensics/eDiscovery firms (55 percent), investigations firms (47 percent), accountancy firms (45 percent), and law firms (42 percent).
Kroll released the first part of its Global Fraud and Risk Report in September 2021, which found risk leaders at companies in China and the United States expressed the highest level of confidence in their approach to mitigating bribery and corruption risk.
The first report also discussed measures organizations are taking to prevent and detect issues such as bribery and corruption, including proactive data analytics and enterprise-wide risk assessments, Kroll said. But 82 percent of respondents reporting their firms were still feeling significant impacts of fraud or other misconduct “suggests organizations are not harnessing the true potential of proactive data analytics to mitigate risk,” the report said.
“Data analytics is a broadly used term, with many firms only scratching the surface of its true potential,” the report said. “Given the range of data, tools, and techniques available, a key component of leveraging data analytics effectively is to take a holistic approach to data governance. Organizations that plan ahead and get their arms around where their critical data resides are in a far stronger position when faced with an investigation.”
The report said firms that have good data governance—that is, the way a company collects and reviews data—enables a company to “hit the ground running when planning an internal investigation” and also “reduces costs associated with compliance, investigation, and downstream litigation.”