If the “Reduce Government Fraud with a Dynamic Survey” taught us anything, it’s that resource constraints pose significant challenges in combating fraud for government entities. In fact, the survey found that 70% of entities polled cited resource constraints as a concern, and follow-up qualitative interviews told the bigger story in that practitioners face constraints in both budget and human capital resources.
Here we discuss how agencies can enrich and train existing resources to bolster fraud prevention efforts, with three ways to maximize current resources.
Leverage free and publicly available resources and training material.
Agencies and organizations can leverage free (and reputable) resources such as the Association of Government Accountants Fraud Prevention Toolkit and resources from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. Fraud team members can leverage these resources to further develop their skillsets, research new approaches, and identify tools and templates that can be incorporated into their fraud program. Additionally, more experienced team members can serve as a significant resource for the overall fraud program if they can find ways to memorialize and share their experience. Experienced team members can help to leverage these free resources and translate them into training opportunities for the whole team.
Create informal (or formal) relationships with other entities that combat fraud to share resources, discuss fraud trends, and identify opportunities for collaboration.
Another key opportunity to maximize resources is to collaborate with other entities that are also fighting fraud. This collaboration can facilitate resource sharing, including training, tools, and templates, while also providing additional benefits that can aid in the fight against fraud. For example, one way to stay ahead of fraud, in terms of both prevention and detection, is to keep abreast of the ever-changing fraud landscape and fraud schemes. By establishing these interagency connection points, organizations can share what they are seeing in their efforts to help other agencies stay ahead of fraudsters. Lastly, an additional and key benefit to collaboration is the ability to identify data-sharing opportunities across entities to improve the governmentwide fight against fraud.
While it may seem counterintuitive in an environment with constrained resources, implementing the right technology, combined with the necessary training, can allow agencies to do more with less. Astoundingly, the survey found that 32% of respondents were not using any advanced technology in their anti-fraud efforts. Technology options such as robotic process automation, rules-based scenarios, and predictive analytics may require a limited investment in terms of time and money but can significantly increase the productivity of the fraud program, which ultimately helps to address resource constraints. As noted above, one of the keys to a successful technology implementation is ensuring that fraud team members are appropriately trained on using the technology. Additionally, rules-based scenarios should be revisited on a regular basis to confirm their effectiveness given current fraud schemes.
Operating a fraud program in this resource-constrained environment can be daunting, but there are opportunities for agencies to do “more with less.” During the qualitative interviews we conducted as part of the survey research, we were continually impressed with the innovative approaches that agencies are taking to improve their fraud programs while addressing continuing resource constraints. The opportunities noted above can be tackled in incremental steps, enabling agencies to make the most of a resource-constrained situation.