Leveraging data analytics to prevent bribery and corruption

Kroll has released its Global Fraud and Risk Report, an in-depth study into the state of fraud in 17 countries worldwide. Cem Ozturk and Gary Gill, ANZ leaders at the global consultancy, reflect on the key results for Australia and outline how leveraging data analytics can help in curbing bribery and corruption. 

America’s first post-modern novelist William Gladdis, who grew up during the Great Depression and the subsequent Wall Street boom, once wrote, “Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.” Once the cultural seeds of bribery and corruption have been sown in an organisation, they’re near impossible to weed out.

While it’s tempting to scapegoat external parties, players and environmental factors, businesses need to first turn their attention inward if they are to stop these seeds from germinating. Poor record-keeping or the inability to adequately monitor frontline teams and regional offices are typical vulnerabilities that are often overlooked. 

Where blanket compliance policies fall short in preventing corruption, cultural shifts built on actionable “on-the-ground” intelligence from the fringes of an organisation can succeed. It’s a question of balance. Just because a compliance policy is in place, does not automatically mean it’s working. A company’s compliance goals may be crystal clear in their idealism but in practice the route there is far from simple to navigate. 

Considering the importance of having these organisation-wide approaches led from the boardroom, results from Kroll’s Global Fraud and Risk Report indicate a somewhat concerning trend in Australia, with fewer than two-thirds (58%) of respondents saying their board was giving bribery and corruption risk adequate attention and investment. This is well below the global average (72%) and one of the lowest in the world. 

Australia also appears to have work to do when it comes to conducting enterprise-wide bribery and corruption risk assessments, with only 66% of respondents saying that such an assessment has taken place over the past five years. 

Yet despite comparatively low confidence in its ability to identify risk, Australia performs quite well when it comes to the adoption of technology to identify bribery and corruption risk, with 82% saying their organisation employed data analytics to proactively combat risk. 

While globally the tides appear to be turning when it comes to effectively monitoring and identifying risk, 82% of businesses still feel that corruption is having a marked and detrimental impact on their organisation. So, what more can be done about it? 

The human touch

An organisation can have the best possible analytics system in place but if the human elements of the chain aren’t well-managed, educated or equipped to act, things will undoubtedly fall through the cracks. Like any enterprise-wide system, the procedures employed to mitigate risk are only as strong as their weakest link, which, in most circumstances, is the human mind. 

When it comes to assessing their own organisations’ vulnerabilities, more than half (54%) of Australian respondents cited a lack of visibility over third parties as their biggest internal threat related to bribery and corruption, followed by employees’ actions at 22%. 

Compounding this, Covid-19 has almost uniquely isolated Australia, decreasing visibility and control over complex global supply chains and increasing third-party fraud, bribery, and corruption risks. 

At the same time, there is heightened public and board concern over environmental, social and governance issues – particularly modern slavery and environmental destruction issues – which are frequently correlated to issues of bribery and corruption.

Australia’s relatively low level of enforcement action coupled with an underinvestment in risk mitigation – especially in cross-border scenarios – could be further contributing to increased exposure and risk, signalling a clear need for stronger deployment of defence measures such as intelligence-led risk assessment and technology-enabled due diligence to help manage third-party risks. 

Humans are fallible and leaders can be a poor influence but what we’re seeing here is a gap between the human element of anti-fraud and risk management and the role of automation. Both elements are essential, but they must work together if a business is to move toward proactive prevention rather than reactive remedial action. 

Businesses must also strive to make fraud prevention an enterprise-wide responsibility rather than simply a siloed service. Managing this risk is not a one-person or even a one-department job; it’s a cultural value that must be regularly communicated, upheld and reinforced. 

Thankfully, companies appear to be shifting towards enterprise-wide risk assessments, and crucially, enterprise-wide responsibility. Some of these trends include educating staff on the latest risks and vulnerabilities around bribery and corruption and designing tailored control frameworks instead of having one blanket solution in place.

However, where businesses can really step up their anti-bribery and corruption efforts is with the technology that’s employed, and critically, how it’s employed.

Data-driven assessments

Data analytics is a broad area and is often misunderstood in terms of its specific applications and vast potential. It has almost become trite for a business to say that it’s “data-driven” but almost all businesses are. However, just because a business collects and uses data doesn’t automatically make that business untouchable.

Some will be effective in their data-driven approach by using everything that’s available to them, but some won’t have the internal technology, talent, or resources to properly combine complex queries and analysis with the intelligent setting of criteria.

But if a business is properly resourced – either by hiring internally or leaning on a partner – it can start relying more heavily on technology to solve the corruption conundrum rather than its innately fallible human workforce. Then it becomes less about human judgements and more about objective data. Data can be misinterpreted, but it cannot lie. 

Corporations that have mastered the mitigation of corruption risk understand this, and instead of blindly pouring resources solely into human-led anti-bribery measures, they’re tempering them with objectivity, live monitoring and 360-degree visibility in the form of data analytics. 

Like most things that elude humans, risk itself can be detected through the identification of anomalies and patterns, particularly over large data volumes. If a sophisticated data analytics platform is deployed within an organisation, it can monitor activity and mine information in even the most far-flung corners of the businesses, regardless of geography. 

A human intelligence team can then investigate, and red flags can be raised by the system to establish whether an investigation is warranted, or the risk is merely a false positive. Such technology would allow one person to do the work of 10 auditors, amplifying the ability of small risk management teams. 

While it’s encouraging that more businesses are leveraging these tools to their advantage, there are still doubts as to whether that advantage is being pressed hard enough. Live, data-driven monitoring that reaches every tendril of a company’s reach is what is needed, from field operatives to regional offices, and the technological potential is there. The question is, are businesses able to combine this technology with the human element of their business in a balanced and effective way?

About the authors: Cem Ozturk is Managing Director at Kroll and Oceania Head of the Forensic Investigations and Intelligence practice. Gary Gill leads the firm’s Investigations service line.


SCD Advisory grows team with Deren Bozdag and Elton Wang

Boutique M&A consultancy SCD Advisory has strengthened its team with two new professionals. 

Appointed an Associate, Deren Bozdag previously worked in the Deals Advisory teams at professional services firms PwC and RSM, specialising in the provision of financial and strategic advice to a range of clients. During these three years in dealmaking roles, Bozdag as gained experience across the M&A lifecycle in various private equity and cross-border transactions. 

Earlier in his career, he gained experience at big four Aussie bank Westpac, where he worked in the Global Transaction Services division.

Bozdag holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance and International Business) and a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) from the University of Sydney. He also studied overseas in exchanges in the US (Harvard University) and in the UK (London School of Economics). 

Appointed an Analyst, Elton Wang joins SCD Advisory fresh from university. He completed a Bachelor of Medical Science (Vision Science) at Flinders University and is near completion of his Bachelor of Commerce (Finance and Banking) at the University of Sydney. 

During his studies, Wang completed internships in investment banking at Jacanda Capital and real estate private equity at Labassa Capital. He also co-founded Telescope Ventures, Australia’s a venture studio that aims to bridge the gap between capital and innovation.

SCD Advisory was founded early 2019 by the Frenchman Pierre Briand, who previously served as leader of Equiteq’s local ANZ subsidiary. Notable deals the consultancy advised on since inception include the sales of Hypothesis to McKinsey, Insync and Adopt & Embrace to Rapid Circle, and Cubane Consulting to Nous Group.


Sefiani bolsters team with associate director Neeley Williams

Neeley Williams has joined communications consultancy Sefiani as an Associate Director.

“We are thrilled Neeley is bringing her talent and global experience to Sefiani. Her skills in managing complex projects requiring stakeholder engagement, public affairs, reputation management, integrated communications and crisis counsel will be much appreciated by our clients. And her wonderful, engaging style fits perfectly with Sefiani’s professional and friendly culture,” said Robyn Sefiani, the founder and chief executive of Sefiani. 

Williams brings fifteen years of international communications, public affairs and corporate reputation experience across business and political environments to the firm. Prior to joining Sefiani, she worked for Hill + Knowlton Strategies, where she was Group Account Director and led major client accounts like Salesforce, Twitter, Aon and Equinor. 

She also led H+K’s crisis management practice in Australia and was a member of the firm’s APAC Public Affairs team. Before moving to Australia five years ago, Neeley worked in Brussels for ten years. She was chief adviser to a senior parliamentarian in the heart of European policymaking, leading technical and political negotiations in the European Parliament on international trade agreements.

After seven years in the ief advise role, she moved to Samsung Electronics as Senior Manager External Affairs and Policy and was a principal member of Samsung’s global risk and reputation team. 

“Neeley will also help take Sefiani’s crisis management offering to new heights by leading crisis drills for clients seeking to be in the best possible position of preparedness for a crisis incident as well as leading media training for crisis scenarios,” ssaid Sefiani. 

Commenting on her new role, Neeley said, “I’m excited to be joining Sefiani, a firm I’ve long admired. When I was considering a career move, there was only one agency in my sights, and that was Sefiani. I’ve long admired Sefiani’s reputation, people, quality of work on challenging assignments and values demonstrated through purposeful work. I can’t wait to get started!”


Is Australia’s Election Under Threat? – Reset Australia

Facebook Versus Democracy: Is Australia’s Election Under Threat? – Reset Australia

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The root cause of online hate is the business model of Big Tech – Reset Australia

Social media can be a toxic place. Pinning anonymity as the problem, our Prime Minister went on the record saying social media was ‘filled with cowards who go anonymously onto social media and vilify people and harass them and bully them’.

Zooming out beyond the view of the individual, we can see that the business model of Big Tech i s at the root of this problem.

Put simply, social media companies promote, amplify and profit from hate. Algorithms are designed to amplify the most sensational and extreme content, because that is what keeps us glued to our phones and scrolling through platforms so that more value can be extracted from us.

As France Haugen will remind Australian law makers today, Facebook knows that content that elicits an extreme reaction is more likely to get a click, a comment or a reshare, and is therefore more profitable for the company.

Facebook and Instagram routinely promote content containing misogynistic and racist abuse. And yet, Facebook continues to use “engagement based ranking” algorithms that guide users towards this more extreme content, away from nuanced discussions, despite knowing how dangerous this is. Facebook’s decision to, in Haugen’s words, put “astronomical profits before people” has devastating consequences for our society.

Calls to end anonymity unwittingly expands the gaze of Big Tech into our lives, by requiring identification and verification on platforms. Due to voracious data harvesting practices, the gaze of Big Tech is already all pervasive.

Facebook already knows your phone’s unique ID number, the IP addresses most associated with your logins, and potentially your precise GPS location as well. And as Digital Rights Watch argue, identification systems disproportionately harm marginalised groups: real name policies can lead to real world harms.

Women, people of colour, and people with disability are all afforded valuable and legitimately needed protection when they can move online anonymously. Take Twitter, for example. Amnesty International found women routinely faced gendered violence and abuse on the platform.

We need to pursue policies that are evidence based. Research in fact suggests that people are actually more aggressive online when using their real names than when they are not.

We can see this from a simple scan of the verified Twitter accounts that have been suspended, or a glance at some of the best comments from Nextdoor (a hyper local app that verifies your address and connects you with your actual neighbours). People are prepared to be hateful online even if their identity is known.

If we want to go to regulate the root of the problem, we need to regulate Big Tech. Downstream interventions, such as ending anonymity, won’t fix the systemic problem. But there are a number of useful upstream interventions the government could make, to begin to bring Big Tech into line.

For starters, Australia urgently needs to update its 30-year-old data protection laws and to develop a strong data code to specifically protect children. We shouldn’t leave it up to tech companies to decide what they can and can’t do with our data – we need some ground rules so they’re compelled to prioritise privacy and children’s rights.

If we’re serious about tackling misinformation and disinformation then we should scrap the failing voluntary industry code with proper laws, and resource our regulators to adequately enforce it as well as the laws we already have.

Ultimately, we need to compel social media platforms to operate in line with public expectations. To do this we must hold them accountable for the harm they cause, not the anonymous users who take advantage of the unregulated space.

By Rys Farthing and Dhakshayini Sooriyakumaran


How to ensure supply chains don’t turn into a showstopper

As Australia’s economy starts to reopen, and with consumers set to “revenge spend” more than $11 billion on Christmas presents alone, businesses should be planning for another V-shaped recovery. For companies of all sizes, this means that they should give sufficient attention to their supply chain, writes Paul Moreton from Proactis.

However, the “Lucky Country” may not be as lucky a second time round. International trade and production continues to be disrupted as emerging variants of the virus crop up in export markets. In fact, the World Trade Organisation’s latest Goods Barometer suggests that world trade might start to lag again as a result of Covid-related delays and restrictions. 

Shipping is also suffering a major Covid-19 hangover. While it has always been seen as a commodity, those at the top of the food chain are now paying over the odds to secure shipping container space in a desperate bid to get ahead of the curve. In fact, container shipping prices reached an ‘exorbitant’ level last month, enough to warrant the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stepping in to investigate. 

A prepared supply chain

So how should businesses prepare for continued uncertainty, even as things at home start to look more positive? This question is particularly pertinent for those with international supply chains. Can international suppliers be relied upon to get the goods you require in the lead up to what is predicted to be one of the largest holiday seasons on record?

The first step is to take a detailed look at the companies already in your supply chain. Unfortunately, not all businesses have weathered the coronavirus storm, and some of these businesses may be located within your supply chain. If you need to replace a supplier, consider whether pre-coronavirus strategies are still fit for purpose.

When sourcing a new supplier, consider how to reduce risk and mitigate against potential future disruption. For example, could you work with a higher volume of suppliers to spread the demand across multiple companies? Or is it worth re-thinking supply chains: where the suppliers are located and building relationships with Australia-based ones instead? 

A second step for procurement teams is to look again at supplier contracts and consider whether now is the right opportunity to re-negotiate, especially if the arrival of goods is disrupted. Pre-pandemic contracts have often proved insufficient when tested by the challenges posed by Covid-19. It is important to remember that not only has your business changed in some way due to the pandemic, but your suppliers’ businesses have changed, too.

Depending on how fit for purpose the contract is, it might be necessary to re-negotiate a contract in its entirety. This will not only protect your business but lead to stronger commercial relationships that support companies in your supply chain. 

Leverage technology

Business managers will rightly be concerned about the amount of work this could require in the run up to a busy holiday season. Thankfully, technology exists to automate the evaluation and onboarding process for new suppliers, enabling companies to focus on getting their customer strategies in place instead.

Supplier qualification and selection tools should also be integrated into the central supplier directory. These processes increase the level of visibility a business has into the issues affecting individual suppliers, increasing transparency and making it easier to identify (and remedy) weaknesses before they cause an issue.

Further reading: Tech trends in procurement and the source-to-contract process.

After almost two years of lockdown uncertainty, trading restrictions and isolation from the rest of the world, optimism is in the air. But the opportunity for Australian businesses to capitalise on “revenge spending” and a post-lockdown bounce is not guaranteed for those reliant on weakened supply chains or international production. Taking steps to minimise risks in the supply chain now will help prepare businesses for what’s likely to be a bumper Christmas but an even rockier road ahead. 

About the author: Paul Moreton is Client Executive & Supplier Enablement Specialist at Proactis, a provider of supply chain and procurement software that integrates with all major ERP systems.


Deloitte Consulting welcomes three new partners to its partnership

Deloitte has recruited a trio of seniors over the past weeks, admitting Anatoly Tulchinsky, Daniel Houseman and Kirsten Watson into its Australian partnership.

Kirsten Watson joins as a partner in Deloitte’s human capital practice in Sydney; Anatoly Tulchinsky strengthens the firm’s Data & AI team out of Brisbane; and former KPMG partner and transformation practice leader Daniel Houseman has taken up a similar role in Melbourne.

Anatoly Tulchinsky joins after a two-year stint as a senior director for applied AI solutions at IT and consulting firm CGI out of Montreal, where he also served as head of its data, analytics & AI practice. Previously, he spent nine years at IBM, latterly as Head of Technology and Development, Watson Cognitive, Analytics and AI Solutions, and earlier nine years at business intelligence software company Cognos, prior to its acquisition by IBM in 2008.

“With his track record of delivering novel and innovative solutions (evidenced by the number of live patents he holds for algorithms and data solutions) I’m excited to see Anatoly bring his pioneering thinking to our vibrant AI community and to our clients, helping them achieve above and beyond their digital transformation goals,” commented Deloitte Consulting managing partner, Ellen Derrick, who took on the role at the end of last year.

Daniel Houseman joins the Deloitte partnership after close to 20 years at KPMG, the last seven as a partner. Graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of New South Wales, Houseman kicked off his career with a brief stint as an Analyst at Accenture, before finding his way to KPMG in 2003. From there, he worked his way up the senior ranks to serve as a director in KPMG’s Financial Services Advisory division.

In addition to leading the firm’s payments advisory practice, from 2017 Houseman was tasked with overseeing its transformation practice, which typically leads extensive transformations for KPMG’s largest clients. “I’ve been fortunate to work with great people on some truly historic projects at KPMG over the past 18 years, and been part of building some fantastic businesses,” he said on LinkedIn, adding that he was excited to be joining Deloitte.

Kirsten Watson has vacated her position as Transport NSW’s first-ever Chief People Officer to join the human capital consulting team at Deloitte. Prior to her four years with Transport NSW, Watson spent two and half as an executive at Ausgrid, and before that more than a decade with the NSW Department of Customer Service. Like Houseman, she kicked off her career with Accenture, spending seven years with the firm before a brief stint at BDO.

“Kirsten brings the perspective of an experienced transformational CHRO to the team to help our clients deliver their workforce agendas,” said Derrick. “She is an innovative thinker who has successfully led the delivery of outstanding end-to-end experiences for her teams and delivered results in the context of ambitious reform. I am looking forward to seeing her help our clients successfully implement transformational programs.”


James Nunn-Price and Natasha Doherty join Accenture’s leadership

Accenture has continued its raid on the partnership of Australia’s Big Four, appointing Deloitte senior leaders James Nunn-Price and Natasha Doherty as managing directors.

The latest recruitment coup comes as Accenture ANZ CEO and UK native Tara Brady departs the firm due to international travel restrictions, with Brady having strategically targeted headline talent from rival firms during his 14-month tenure. Deloitte in particular has been popular hunting ground for Accenture, with James Nunn-Price and Natasha Doherty the latest to cross.

James Nunn-Price

A two decade veteran at Deloitte and most recently the firm’s Asia Pacific Cyber & Strategic Risk leader, Nunn-Price will now serve as a senior managing director and head of Accenture’s cybersecurity Growth Markets practice (covering an expansive operational region excluding North America and Europe). A bachelor graduate in computer sciences with the University of Kent, Nunn-Price first joined Deloitte in the UK in 2000.

Prior to relocating with the firm to Sydney, Nunn-Price was responsible for Deloitte’s Cyber Security services within the UK and overall information security, resilience and cyber advisory services to the UK government, while in the Asia Pacific he led a cyber team in excess of 5,000 professionals. His new role with Accenture spans the firm’s cyber-defense, applied cybersecurity solutions and managed security services offerings.

Natasha Doherty

Joining Accenture as a managing director in the firm’s strategy and consulting practice, Doherty crosses after the past decade with Deloitte, where she served as a partner and director within the firm’s Health Advisory team under its Corporate Finance umbrella. Previously she was a senior data collections officer and health economist over five years with Queensland Health, before which she spent three years with the ABS as a Statistical Team Leader.

Doherty and Nunn-Price follow in the recent footsteps of former Deloitte trio Galia Jenshel, Mike Jones and Figen Mizrak in joining Accenture, along with numerous other senior leaders from the Big Four, including Strategy& partner Peter Burns – who has just been installed as Accenture’s new CEO for Australia and New Zealand.


Rennie Partners bolsters senior team with Greg Ruthven

Rennie Partners has appointed Greg Ruthven as an Associate Director, marking the firm’s expansion into Western Australia. 

Based in Brisbane, Rennie Partners is a boutique consulting firm specialised in the strategic, regulatory and commercial aspects of energy transition, with a focus on the energy and infrastructure sectors. Since its launch earlier this year – founded in May this year by award-winning consultants and husband and wife duo Matt and Simone Rennie – the consultancy has gone from strength to strength, with its team now 11-strong. 

The latest to join the firm is Greg Ruthven, who crosses over from the Australian Energy Market Operator, where he worked for the past six years, latterly as the most senior regulatory officer in the Western Australia team. In the role, his responsibilities included rule changes and reviews, and broader NEM rule change processes including DER, integrating energy storage systems and leading the development of AEMO’s ‘Wholesale Market Response’ guideline. 

Earlier in his career, Ruthven was at the WA Independent Market Operator for more than five years as a manager, and worked for more than a decade at oil & gas company Schlumberger. He holds a master’s degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Western Australia.

Based in Perth, Ruthven will advise clients across Australia and focus on expanding Rennie Partners’ footprint in Western Australia. “I’m excited for the opportunity to join a values-driven team, supporting clients through the energy transformation and the transition to a net-zero future,” he said.

Commenting on the hire, Simone Rennie said: “Welcoming Greg to our firm not only brings new senior regulatory capacity into Rennie Partners, it provides us with an increased ability to both focus on and invest in our clients based in Western Australia, part of the market which is experiencing significant change.”


Mark Williams leads government practice of Publicis Sapient

Digital transformation company Publicis Sapient has named Mark Williams the new leader of its Federal Government industry vertical in Australia. 

“We are delighted to welcome Mark on board. “We recognise the huge change of pace that the public sector is undergoing and its need to accelerate; we look forward to partnering with the government to see Australia leading the way in citizen-led digital experiences,” said Claire Rawlins, Managing Director Australia at Publicis Sapient.

Williams brings over 17 years of experience in the creative, consulting, and digital transformation space, with a focus on the public sector space. He joins Publicis Sapient from DXC Technology, where he most recently was Managing Partner and Public Sector Digital Consulting Lead.

Before that, Williams spent significant time working with Australian government departments and agencies, and worked with digital agencies and system integrators including Oakton, VML, DigitasLBi, and OgilvyOne Worldwide. 

In his new role, based out of the Canberra office, Williams is responsible for leading Publicis Sapient’s digital strategy and transformation advisory service offerings for federal government departments and agencies. “I am thrilled to join Publicis Sapient at this critical inflection point in the government’s digital transformation journey.” 

“I look forward to building and leading a world-class digital transformation practice in Canberra that is passionate and experienced in helping progress the Australian Government’s digital transformation strategy and roadmap.”