Andi McNeal, CFE, CPA
ACFE Research Director
In an ideal world, an organization’s management would not need convincing to invest in anti-fraud initiatives. Anti-fraud teams would also use their allocated resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. However, for many companies and agencies, one or both of these areas present challenges. Additionally, fraud investigation teams are often treated like any other department — they must justify their expenditures, prove their value to the organization, and vie with other departments for allocations of financial and human resources.
One of the best ways for any team to measure and report its effectiveness is to benchmark its structure and performance against industry norms. The ACFE has received numerous requests over the years for benchmarking information related to in-house fraud investigation teams. How many people are typically on the team? To whom does the team report? What is each investigator’s average caseload? How long does it take teams to turn around a case? What metrics are teams using to assess their effectiveness? Each time we received a request of this nature, we went digging and discovered that no information like this was publicly available. So we decided to tap into the collective knowledge of the ACFE membership and compile it ourselves.
The results of our research are available in our new report, Benchmarking Your In-House Fraud Investigation Team. Some of the key findings of the report include:
- Oversight of investigation teams is fairly diverse, but the greatest percentage of fraud investigation teams (28 percent) report to the head of internal audit.
- The majority of fraud investigators have an average caseload of fewer than five cases at a time.
- Nearly 40 percent of investigation teams do not use any formal metrics to assess their team’s performance.
- The most commonly used performance metric for investigation teams is percentage of cases closed year-over-year.
- Investigation teams that use percentage of cases resulting in legal action or amount of losses recovered as performance metrics tend to also have the greatest percentage of fraud losses recovered.
If you want to learn more about how other fraud investigation teams are structured and how your investigation team measures up, you can see the full benchmarking report at on ACFE.com. We hope this new report helps support your team’s effectiveness and highlight its success to your organization’s decision-makers. And if there are benchmarking metrics or questions you’d like to see covered in future ACFE benchmarking research, please send your ideas to Research@ACFE.com.