Fraud is costing UK businesses nearly £2bn a year and a new report reveals that employees are finding it 'staggeringly easy' to get away with it

The research by Protiviti UK and Professor Martin Gill of Perpetuity Group comprises a series of in-depth interviews with convicted fraudsters, and analyses their motives, methods and regrets.

Mike Adlem, managing director of Protiviti UK, commented, "It is common knowledge that most incidences of fraud go unreported, as most companies choose to deal with the problem internally. Add to this the phenomenal amount of fraud that goes unnoticed, and you soon realise that any figures we have on the cost of employee fraud are just the tip of the iceberg.

"Considering that the minimum amount stolen by our interviewees was £65000 and the maximum £25m, a conservative estimate of the cost of employee fraud to UK listed companies alone would be £2bn, and this constitutes less than 1% of UK businesses."

One of the risk factors in financial crime is the role of audit. However, when interviewees were asked how they perceived audit, few considered it a concern. Adlem continued: "There is little doubt in my own mind that putting in place more effective controls will prevent the majority of fraud from taking place."