Over three-quarters of senior IT professionals believe that cases of fraudulent activity on the scale of Enron could happen in the UK.
This was the conclusions of a survey carried out by document management software company, Version One, among senior IT professionals in a range of public and private sector organisations.
The figures reveal that 77 per cent of senior IT professionals believe an Enron-scale scandal could occur in the UK due to "greed, panic, lax systems and apathy".
Some 89 per cent stated that someone in their organisation would be able to tamper with or 'lose' a document to suit their ends whilst 30 per cent admitted that they had come across activity that could be considered fraudulent involving business documents. Two thirds of these stating that they'd witnessed document fraud "a number of times". Only a minority of respondents (6 per cent) feel that current UK financial regulations would prevent a similar Enron-scale case of misreporting.
Lynne Munns, general manager of Version One, said: "A false accounting scandal mirroring Arthur Andersen and Enron will always remain a possibility without effective preventative measures in place. The consequences if a member of your finance team decides to shred invoices, credit agreements and correspondence in an attempt to disguise their poor handling of a situation could be devastating."
Munns added: "Organisations need to carefully consider whether their current systems and processes allow unscrupulous employees to easily commit fraud by doctoring or 'losing' documents, creating a false audit trail. Organisations without solid processes and systems in place need to act before it's too late."
In total, 86 per cent of the survey's respondents said that electronic document management would help to prevent fraudulent activity involving business documents. These respondents believe that such a system would create a strong audit trail and reduce the opportunity to change data or create fictitious invoices. Greater control of documents, increased security access levels to restrict tampering and the inability to "lose" scanned documents are amongst the other reasons put forward by respondents.
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