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CIPFA helps Sri Lankan auditors step up the fight against fraud

No one will deny the corrosive and malignant effect fraud and corruption has on the lives of citizens. No country is immune or an exception. Corruption threats are constantly adapting and changing and we need to maintain vigilance. Accountants and auditors should increase their awareness of these ever-changing risks and better training and education across the profession is key to achieving this.

Sri Lanka was ranked 89th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2018, with a score of 38 out of 100 against indicators. Progress has been slow in tackling these issues, with institutional and political obstacles creating difficulty for regulators. But recently greater focus is being given to the problem, with the launch of a five year Anti-Corruption Plan aimed at creating a corruption-free nation by 2023. And regulators are rallying to enhance their ability to ensure they can make this happen.

CIPFA now supports many countries around the world in stepping up their response to corruption, as it is an international phenomenon and requires global solutions. Recently we have been working with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and National Audit Office Sri Lanka (NAO SL) to provide forensic investigation training to Sri Lankan auditors. This included both a three-day foundation-level training course in forensic investigations at the NAO’s headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with seven delegates then going on to join us to complete CIPFA’s International Certificate in Financial Crime investigation back in our London headquarters.

Having such practical training in tackling corruption for auditors is important, as they are key members of the regulatory community. However the skills we covered are useful across the accounting profession. During the training we use detailed case scenarios involving the investigation of a complex procurement fraud at a fictitious public body. We covered investigative techniques, different methods of evidence gathering, searching for material and evidence, investigative interviewing, recovering the proceeds of financial crime hidden overseas and concluding with investigative report writing.

One issue commonly faced in the battle against fraud and corruption is a lack of consistent standards and skills. Vulnerabilities are created by the way different jurisdictions approach the problem, which is why sharing best practice with the counter fraud community around the world is essential. CIPFA is determined to continue to extend these learnings to others around the world, which is why we now have the financial crime investigation as a stand-alone course, open to all.

The next International Certificate in Financial Crime Investigation programme is being hosted on an open-course basis at CIPFA’s HQ in London in May 2019, and we strongly encourage anyone interested to contact CIPFA Customer Services for further details.    

By Les Dobie, head of Counter Fraud Training, CIPFA.

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