Employees driven by greed and the desire to live beyond their means are the primary culprits behind annual business losses of $345.5 million due to fraud.
According to KPMG's 2010 biennial Fraud and Misconduct Survey for Australia and New Zealand, not only are the incidences of fraud on the rise, but the amounts being stolen are significantly increasing.
This year, the average loss experienced by an organisation, citing at least one case of fraud, increased from $1.5 million in 2008 to $3 million. The average number of fraud cases also rose from 530 cases in 2008 to 813 in 2010.
Of the 214 respondents to the survey, 11 experienced fraud losses exceeding $1 million, and all respondents believe that only one-third of total losses are actually detected.
Of those frauds that were detected, it was revealed that employees earning less than $100,000 a year were responsible for 83 per cent of employee fraud, which in turn accounted for 65 per cent of all frauds committed against organisations.
The report commented that "fraud and misconduct remains a serious issue for Australian and New Zealand businesses" and that "all sectors are vulnerable to fraud and ... need to focus particular attention on fraud prevention and timely detection".
The report found that only 50 per cent of respondents were aware of Australia and New Zealand's anti-bribery legislation, with 51 per cent of businesses reporting unethical behaviour within an organisation.