Presuming the dark clouds are lifting, here's a scary thought: Expect the uptick in fraud cases seen during the recession to continue through the recovery, says David Williams, CEO of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, based on the firm's research and client interviews. More corporate fraud--misappropriation of funds or improper representation on financial statements--occurs in a downturn when people are concerned about their futures and businesses need to show they are meeting their targets in operations, profits and cash flows, Williams says. When financial performance declines, senior executives scrutinize costs in excruciating detail. Now new pressures are in play to show that the company is emerging from the recession as a winner not a loser, or that it can now catch up to industry competitors that might be doing better. This leads to a greater willingness to rationalize behavior that could be deemed unethical. Effective financial leadership is essential for fraud detection and prevention, says Williams. That's one major concern, and executives responding to Treasury & Risk's financial leadership survey point to a host of others. Joining in, senior contributing editor Richard Gamble writes about how treasuries are coping with liquidity shortages hitting key links in their supply chains. Meanwhile, proposed rules for money market funds threaten many companies' ability to raise capital, reports senior contributing editor Russ Banham, who also writes about the improving outlook for mergers and acquisitions. Venturing farther on the bright side, T&R finds there's no shortage of talent in our annual 40 Under 40 list of rising stars who will set the tone at the top tomorrow... when the sun comes out.
From the October 2009 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine