NICE Actimize has introduced anti-bribery and corruption software that monitors organizations’ financial systems looking for signs of criminal schemes.

NICE Actimize ABC analyzes transactions and behavior within an organization and its supply chain, providing a view via cloud technology of bribery and corruption risk, segmented by business, geographic, vendor and customer lines. NICE Actimize ABC also provides analytics in accordance with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for screening travel expenses to analyze gifts and entertainment expenditures. The system promises to help accountants and auditors spot signs of financial crime.

“We often see the accountancy and audit function has a key role,” said Micah Willbrand, global director of NICE Actimize’s new Anti-Bribery and Corruption business. “In most enforcement actions, roughly 50 percent come out of whistleblowing. But at least a third of the identification of these bribery and corruption schemes in corporations comes from audit and accountancy. As the owners of the books, the accountants are the first line of defense to identify anything that may look suspicious.”

That work can be challenging in multinational organizations with offices and operations in far-flung parts of the world. “There’s a lot of pressure coming from the business side saying we need to make this payment to make this sale happen, or something along those lines,” said Willbrand. “But there’s also a lot of pressure in the finance area to keep an eye on it. We see internal and external audit play a really massive role and it’s where we start to see a lot of the schemes being picked up. But the downfall around internal and external audit is it’s often 12, 18 or 24 months after the fact. Especially with an external audit, if you’re bringing in a Big Four or some other external firm, it can be years before these schemes are picked up."

NICE Actimize's new system helps automate the process of ferreting out corruption. "There is a really critical role within the finance and audit department, and that was one of the reasons we wanted to develop this service to help take a bit of that pressure off the finance department by having automated tools that will help identify suspicious transactions coming through that would be fed directly to the legal and ethics departments of companies. We’re supporting that audit function where today a lot of the identification of this is done manually," said Willbrand. "They’re looking through the general ledger and various reports, but they have to do it manually, from the experience that they have. If we can give them some analytical tools that will automatically pick up a lot of these cases, it will allow them to spend more time on in-depth research and investigation of the schemes rather than just the simple identification.”

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.