Sunday, October 10, 2010

How Up to Date Are Your Policies?

One problem I see on a regular basis when I am conducting fraud investigations is the lack of policies or that policies are out of date. Let me give you an example. I regularly see employees using credit cards issued for organisation use for personal use.

When conducting these types of investigations, employees make comments such as “I didn’t know I couldn’t use it like that” or “Everyone else uses the card to buy personal things, why can’t I?”. If there is an up-to-date policy that employees are required to be aware of, these types of issues should not arise.

So what should an organisation do? Here are some suggestions:
  • Make sure policies are reviewed on a regular basis. What is a regular basis? That is dependent on individual organisations – yearly is common.
  • Do policies clearly set out what is and is not acceptable behaviour of your employees and volunteers?
  • Have policies that are in plain language and are straight to the point. There is no need to have “long winded” policies that are difficult to read.
  • Make sure employees and volunteers are aware of and understand policies. This can be done by having policies available on the organisation’s intranet, having employees sign off each year to say they have read and understand the policies (this can be done at the induction when they are first employed and at their yearly performance appraisal).
  • If an event triggers a potential issue with a policy, update it when the issue arises – don’t leave it until another problem arises.

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