Chicago (Aug. 6, 2003) -- In the war against fraud, the focus needs to shift to prevention, the president and chief executive of the world's largest anti-fraud organization told members gathered at the group's annual conference here.

"Corporate scandals have raised the public awareness of fraud to unprecedented levels, and the government has gotten the message," Toby J.F. Bishop, CEO of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners said during opening remarks at the ACFE's 14th Annual Fraud Conference. However, Bishop noted, Sarbanes-Oxley may not correct the problem.

"We need to turn our attention toward preventing fraud," Bishop said, citing the need for global fraud prevention standards "that go beyond the accounting controls in Sarbanes-Oxley."

"Internal controls and fraud prevention are not one in the same," Bishop said. He noted that the public and the audit profession could be better served through a model organization for fraud deterrence program that would provide transparency of a company's fraud prevention measures.

"Accounting students don't receive sufficient anti-fraud education," Bishop noted, reiterating a concern that has become a focal point for the ACFE. Accordingly, he added, auditors shouldn't be held accountable for detecting fraud, because they simply aren't trained to find it. Bishop also called for auditors to use Certified Fraud Examiners on public audits "proactively, instead of reactively," by bringing in a CFE during the audit to help spot fraud, rather than after fraud is suspected.

The ACFE grew its membership by 3,000 last year, bringing it to 28,000 members.

- Melissa Klein

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