Accountancy firm PKF Francis Clark has joined forces with charities and regulators to combat fraud targeted against charities, as part of National Charity Fraud Awareness Week (23 – 27 October).
Charity Fraud Awareness Week aims to help charities limit their fraud risks and ensure that charity trustees, staff and volunteers, as well as their donors and supporters, can recognise the warning signs.
Charities face the same fraud risks as any other sector and fraud can occur at any point in the financial flow, from when the donation is made right through to the money being used to deliver services, supplies or grants.
Charities are particularly vulnerable to frauds of diversion such as skimming, extraction (false invoicing) and back-handers (bribes for grants). Criminals are increasingly turning to the internet to steal information and commit fraud. Every charity with some form of online presence, their website or social media, Facebook or Twitter etc. is now at risk of cyber-attack.
Trustees have a legal duty and responsibility under charity law to protect the funds and other property of their charity so that it can be applied for its intended beneficiaries.
Chartered accountants and business advisers PKF Francis Clark are experts in helping them achieve this by understanding the enhanced risk of fraud and the need to spend in accordance with the charitable purpose and grant conditions.
The firm also employs specialist cyber security experts who can provide charities with the reassurance they need offering a comprehensive, customised service, providing certification to Cyber Essentials and IASME governance standards.
Duncan Leslie, Head of Not-for-Profit for the firm, said:
“The impact of fraud on charities can be devastating; it can jeopardise the essential services they provide, cause reputational damage, impact fundraising and reduce morale amongst staff and volunteers.
“It is tempting to assume that just because you are a charity, with a moral purpose, that you will not be targeted. The sad reality is that criminals rely on this attitude to prey on potentially easier targets.
“PKF Francis Clarks Charity Advisors act for over 250 charities throughout the South and South West. Many of our partners and employees are charity trustees themselves so we understand from a practical angle the enhanced risk of fraud and improper spending in the sector.
“We are local experts, here to help and advise, so if you have any worries or concerns please get in touch with us,” added Duncan.