Report to the Nations Survey the Foundation for Anti-Fraud Research


Andi McNeal, CFE
ACFE Research Director

I confess: I am a data nerd. I find studies and statistics fascinating. I can spend ridiculous amounts of time poring over infographics on almost any topic. I even flirted for a while with the idea of a career in academia. Ultimately, though, I found my niche in the Research Department of the ACFE, where I’m able to combine my passions for research, writing, and education without having to obtain a doctoral degree. And every two years, I get to satisfy my data obsession with our biggest recurring research undertaking: the ACFE Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse.

We just kicked off the seventh iteration of this project, with the launch of the 2011 Global Fraud Survey. This survey asks CFEs about certain aspects of a recent fraud case they’ve investigated, such as how it was perpetrated, how it was detected, and what its financial impact was. We also ask questions about general characteristics of both the perpetrator and the victim organization (the survey does not require you to identify any parties. We will not publish or distribute any information that could identify anyone involved in the case). The survey results will be compiled, analyzed, and used to identify trends in occupational fraud, which will be discussed in the forthcoming 2012 Report to the Nations.

Brainstorming the survey instrument is always an invigorating way to kick off the project. What new topics do we want to cover? What do people want to know? What will bring the most attention to the fight against fraud? And what will be helpful to anti-fraud professionals in educating others about fraud prevention and detection? For each survey, we try to fine-tune what we’ve asked before, as well as add a few new angles that we think are interesting and relevant. I can’t wait to see what we find out from our additions this time around.

This is my fourth time taking part in the project, and each time I am extremely impressed by how many CFEs take the time to share information about a case. Each and every contribution increases the value of the Report to the Nations and helps highlight the trends in fraud that are being observed worldwide. All CFEs are invited and encouraged to participate. (If you are a CFE and haven’t already completed the survey, you can access it here.

Of all the projects I get to work on at the ACFE, the Report to the Nations is by far my favorite. It’s pretty great to be part of such an influential project. And, of course, I’m happy get my data fix.