Irish businesses increasingly threatened by economic crime

We're also more susceptible to cyber attacks than our global counterparts...

Irish businesses increasingly threatened by economic crime

Paul Faith / PA

The average cost of fraud to Irish businesses is up to €1.7 million, according to a new report by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopper (PwC).

PwC's 2016 Irish Economic Survey spoke to over 100 Irish firms and discovered the massive jump from the €498,000 figure in 2014.

Just over one in three Irish organisations experienced economic crime in the last two years, up from 26% in 2014.

The most common crime reported was asset misappropriation (53%), while cyber crimes was reported by 44% of businesses, almost double the 2012 figure. It is significantly more widespread in Ireland than other countries, with the global figure standing at 32%.

Accounting fraud was reported by 18%, with 15% of companies affected by money laundering.

Poor control environments were chiefly blamed for internal economic crime opportunities, while only 41% of Irish boards are requesting information on the cyber-readiness of their organisation within a given year.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Ciarán Kelly, PwC Advisory Leader, said:

"The survey findings confirm an increasingly complex economic crime environment driven by asset theft, cyber threats, accounting fraud and money laundering, while the cost of the crimes on Irish organisations is rising.

"Too few companies are adapting their risk assessments and control frameworks fast enough. Action on economic crime is not the responsibility of one person or a team, it must be embedded within an organisation’s culture".

Nóirín O’Sullivan, Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, said:

"The research highlights the need for vigilance on the part of companies and individuals in their commercial dealings. With cybercrime becoming so common, it is even more essential that they continue to access crime prevention advice to avoid becoming the victims of fraud.

"The involvement of law enforcement agencies at an early stage acts as a major deterrent. This study also provides insight into how organisations can protect themselves, their businesses and their property from fraud and cybercrime".