Driven by market uncertainties and declining economic growth forecasts, many companies are struggling to maintain margins. With fewer remaining opportunities for cost-cutting, many businesses are now focused on opportunities in rapid-growth markets.
Even these markets, however, are feeling the effects of a weakened global economy.
In this environment, Ernst & Young's 12th Global Fraud Survey's findings are, unfortunately, a further cause for concern.
They suggest that bribery, corruption and fraud remain widespread. At the same time, many countries are strengthening their enforcement regimes, for example the UK, with the introduction of the Bribery Act, and India, with a range of proposed anti-bribery/anti-corruption (ABAC) legislation.
As regulatory activity intensifies, the risk of external scrutiny of corporate activity also increases. Senior management must do more to ensure that they and their companies are not found wanting should their activities come under the spotlight.