21 June 2012 | BlueBridge One

The prosecution of a former senior executive at Lloyds TSB Banking Group holds deep resonances for those in supply chain management. Jessica Harper, a former head of digital banking fraud and security at the group, is alleged to have abused her position for over three years to submit false invoices totalling £2.46 million.

The reasons for employee fraud and theft vary; such fraudsters may be personally motivated to cover debt or, as is alleged in Ms Harper’s case, to provide gains to her family with property purchases. Some do it out of habit, others because of a sense of entitlement; others still out of disgruntlement over pay and conditions.

The allegations which involved the submission of false business invoices to claim payments expose the vulnerability of organisations of all types to fraud originating inside the business at a senior level. This aside, another troubling aspect of the case is that the alleged fraud ran for over three years and was only identified after a tip off.

It would seem safe to assume that a multi-billion pound banking group should have embedded systems of the highest class and a belt-and-braces approach to all aspects of supply chain management including invoice sign-off and processing. Although we are on the outside looking in, logic dictates that poor reporting and analytics features prominently in the alleged fraud remaining undetected.

Fraud of such magnitude may only be possible in a large cash-rich organisation and few businesses are more awash with cash than a bank! However, if your mid-market wholesale distribution business was the victim of a more modest but similar fraud how confident are you that you could detect it?

NetSuite cloud-based ERP custom fitted to the needs of your business provides comprehensive reporting and analytics that enable help you to identify any areas for concern. These might be erosion of margin or incorrect landed cost pricing. It might also be a fictitious supplier of imaginary widgets hiding in the system, skimming off a modest amount regularly…

Without detailed reports from across the whole of the business that NetSuite provides, it can be difficult to stay on top in wholesale distribution. The rapid tempo of business and fast changing operating environment place a strong emphasis on the need for real time information to assist informed management decision making. Tough economic times may tempt highly trusted employees into dishonesty. Why not improve you ability to detect fraud? Click here to request BlueBridge One contact you about NetSuite.