A great way to prevent and detect fraud is to send employees on a 2 week summer holiday, says a leading advisory firm.

Specialist investigators at Ernst & Young are advising firms to force workers to take long holidays as the best time to find fraud in firms is when employees are away from their work-place for an extended period.

The reason is that when those engaged in fraudulent activity are away for any length of time, those that deputise for them are more likely to come across the evidence.

Ernst and Young says that forcing employees to take a two week break could reduce fraud in Britain by millions of pound a year.

Partner at Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services practice, Jonathan Middup, says “We see a clear increase in fraud detection where companies enforce a compulsory two week break over summer.  Perpetrators are away and not able to cover their tracks easily. Frauds, such as accounts manipulation that are covered up in the course of the year are often spotted when colleagues take over and notice something is not quite right.”

"The profile of a typical fraudster is a long serving, trusted employee, who works long hours and is reluctant to take their annual leave. Without doubt, one of the most simple and cost-effective anti-fraud measures is to ensure employees take at least two consecutive weeks holiday.”

Ernst & Young also highlights the current situation in the workplace as more pressure is placed on staff and managers to meet targets during this economic downturn, which can lead to the cutting of corners.

On this Mr Middup said “The pressure is escalated this summer, given the level of concern about the economic situation and strong pressure to deliver on targets. Our findings show that many employees are finding work stresses unusually intense.”

Ernst & Young are recommending that firms encourage staff to take a sustained holiday break, investigate all issues however trivial, have clear anti-fraud policies, make sure all processes are right, give good policy training to employees and have a zero-tolerance attitude towards fraud.

Not only does a good holiday help beat the fraudsters it also helps beat the stress.

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