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Almost half of finance and business leaders expect more frequent audit and punitive penalties in a post-COVID world

Almost half of finance and business leaders expect more frequent audit and punitive penalties in a post-COVID world

Banking & FinanceCovid-19 UpdatesMiddle EastResearch

Middle East companies have adjusted their operations to a digital-first world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many companies have sped up their adoption of digital tools to enable employees to work remotely and to file in expenses and invoices digitally.

Despite this, companies continue to struggle with compliance challenges as employees submit expenses and invoices that may not adhere to corporate policies. According to the ACFE’s 2020 Report to the Nations, the median loss to a company from expense report fraud is US$33,000 per year, and a lack of internal controls contribute to nearly one in three frauds.

With many Middle East businesses operating on tighter budgets, there’s more pressure to increase spend compliance and reduce errors, fraud and waste than ever. Timing is also of the essence as businesses expect the situation to become even more complex in the future. According to recent SAP Concur research, almost half of finance and business leaders expect more frequent audit and punitive penalties in a post-COVID world.

To tackle this challenge, Middle East businesses need solutions to easily manage employees’ expense and invoice submissions, as well as mitigate compliance risks early. To help companies big and small ensure they are ready to address this, SAP Concur – together with spend management and risk mitigation partner Oversight – launched Concur Detect by Oversight.

The solution powered by AI (Artificial Intelligence) is designed to simplify an organisation’s expense audit and compliance programme through embedded intelligence and automation. Concur Detect by Oversight uses AI to automate an enormous quantity of data, enabling it to identify errors early and using predictive analytics to empower finance and compliance teams to take proactive action. The solution provides a range of critical features, including:

  • Simplified processes: Integrated with the Concur Expense workflow, Concur Detect by Oversight’s AI automatically identifies potential mistakes, fraud and patterns of misuse both before and after reimbursement. 
  • Mitigated risks: The solution can reimburse employees faster with auto-approval of low-risk items while providing a focus for at-risk items.
  • Greater visibility and control: Concur Detect by Oversight uses intelligent technologies to detect fraud and anomalies humans can’t. Through its use of AI, it can leverage multiple data points for improved confidence, and validation on financial amounts, dates, vendors and more. 
  • Ability to improve employee behaviour: The solution helps identify accidental misuse vs. fraud to help auditors focus on developing and improving policies and best practices. Additionally, Concur Detect also tracks incidents against the employee base. This allows businesses to isolate repeat offenders from users who made innocent mistakes.

Mark Cullen, SAP Concur Managing Director for EMEA South, said: “In the Middle East, changing expense needs and unclear policies due to working from home scenarios have further complicated an often slow and error-prone audit process. Concur Detect by Oversight addresses our customers’ audit needs so they can improve compliance, identify fraud and focus more on what matters to their business. With this solution, businesses can do a solid data analysis and focus on making tailored policy adjustments that address the real causes of expense fraud – rather than making potentially unsuitable policy changes based on mere assumptions.”

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