SMEs globally lack support to tackle bribery and corruption

Sunday, November 17, 2019

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A survey of 932 experts, commissioned by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), has revealed that 60 per cent believe there is insufficient guidance for small -and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to combat bribery and corruption.

In the professional accountancy body's report, Combating Bribery in the SME Sector, respondents outlined fears that procedures and policies and risk assessments are not always in place to help management and the employees.

The survey indicated that SMEs value practising accountants for their all-round business support services, but that there is still a pressing need for collaborative work with governments around the world, inter-governmental departments and other stakeholders.

Jason Piper, global policy lead for Business Law at ACCA, noted the challenges that SMEs face in understanding the legal requirements in connection with bribery and corruption.

“The findings from this survey are conclusive and show businesses are desperately searching for that much-needed support. Compared with our survey findings from six years ago, small businesses believe there is even less guidance on combating bribery and corruption. We found that employees negotiating on behalf of companies need awareness courses on what constitutes bribery — and more important how to deal with this,” Piper stated.

The research indicated that globally, 62 per cent of survey respondents believe SMEs that demonstrate strong anti-bribery credentials will be more likely to be able to trade with large businesses and public bodies. This reflects that fact that global enterprises are increasingly concerned about their supply chain exposure to a range of risks associated with corporate social responsibility, including bribery and corruption issues.

“Crucially, anti-bribery guidance for SMEs needs to be short and accessible. This is something most of our members who were questioned, do not believe to be the status quo. ACCA will continue to work with the stakeholders with the objective of more resources being made available. Governments need to ensure whistle-blowers remain protected — through developing additional guidance or improving awareness of what already exists in this area,” Piper concluded.


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