A slow investigation of any type is risky, but with fraud cases, you open your organization up to more lost funds and further fraud incidents. To protect your company, you need to be able to spring into action right after detecting an issue, investigate efficiently, and close the case quickly.
Want to boost your team’s efficiency and achieve faster resolutions? Use these four tips to close fraud cases faster.
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1. Establish a Fraud Response Plan to Kickstart Your Response Time
“The best way to close fraud cases faster, in order to mitigate risks and damages, is to put in place a fraud response plan,” says David Clark, Lawyer, and Partner at The Clark Law office. “An existing fraud action plan that provides . . . protocols will help determine what specific policy or law has been violated.”
Having set policies in place for handling different types of fraud incidents (e.g. theft, fraud, data breach) lets you jump right into action when you detect an issue. Every employee should know their responsibilities, the sequence of response events, and the response timeline.
Here’s what your fraud response plan(s) should include:
- Purpose (Why are you writing this policy?)
- Scope (Does the policy include external fraud incidents or just those committed by employees?)
- Fraud definitions and examples
- Roles and responsibilities (What do employees, managers, and/or the fraud response team need to do when fraud is uncovered?)
- Fraud response stages and procedures (What specific tasks will you take when detecting and responding to a fraud incident?)
Not sure where to start when writing your fraud response plan? Download our handy (free) template here to make sure you include everything.
So, how does planning ahead help you close fraud cases faster? Simple: you won’t waste time deciding how to address the incident.
Instead, you can correct the issueimmediately and start investigating sooner. A fraud response plan “will fast-track fraud investigation, lead to speedy resolution, and closure of the case,” Clark says.
2. Make an Investigation Plan to Streamline Your Investigations
In addition to having set fraud response plans, it’s important to plan out each individual investigation before you begin.
“Hitting a case hard is important but only after you spend a little time discerning the scope of your investigation and what you hope to find,” says Joseph Gutheinz, CFE and attorney at Gutheinz Law Firm, LLP.
An investigation plan lays out what you’re investigating, what needs to be done and who will do it. It also keeps your team focused, on-time, and on the same page, helping you close fraud cases faster.
For best results, make sure your your investigation plan includes:
- The issue you’re investigating (type and summary)
- How you uncovered the issue
- Investigator(s) assigned to the case
- Potential risks
- Involved parties (e.g. accused person, complainant, witnesses)
- List of tasks to be performed and who will complete them
For complete, consistent investigation plans every case, download our free investigation plan template.
3. Automate Management Tasks to Cut Down on Administration Time
Is your team’s efficiency dragged down by paperwork? Do you waste precious time checking up on your team’s progress? These time sucks can slow down your resolution time significantly, leading to lost funds, non-compliance penalties, and further incidents.
To speed things along and free up your time for more important tasks, automate some of your management responsibilities.
For example, if you use case management software, team members (and the case manager) are reminded when they have a task coming due, keeping the investigation on schedule. That means no more forgotten tasks or wasting time manually sorting through your team’s to-do lists.
Writing the final investigation report is one of the most important but time-consuming tasks. You need to sum up the details of your findings and communicate your recommendations to decision-makers, but creating the report can be daunting, especially for a huge case.
With case management software, though, this task requires much less time and stress. The system pulls all of the data out of the case file into a template, creating a thorough, organized report in just a few clicks. You’ll cut down your case-closing process by hours, increasing your team’s efficiency.
You can also simply build automation into your processes. For example, whenever you assign a new case, schedule weekly meetings with that investigator to ensure they’re staying on track. To stay organized at the start of every case, create a new folder on a shared drive where the manager and assigned team members can upload information and evidence.
4. Use Case Management Software to Centralize Your Information and Keep Your Team Organized
Managing fraud investigations using spreadsheets or outdated systems puts your organization at risk. You could misplace evidence, forget a step or just not work as efficiently as possible, which could open the door to further fraud incidents.
Case management software, on the other hand, keeps all your case information in a centralized database to keep your investigation organized and on-track. This makes it easy to collaborate with your team without compromising security. Plus, you’ll never misplace files or key bits of case information.
To close fraud cases even faster, choose a system with automatic case intake. By integrating with your fraud detection systems and/or hotlines, the software creates a new case file, populated with relevant information, as soon as it receives an alert.
Some systems even auto-assign cases based on preset criteria (i.e. next available investigator). You won’t have to waste time on administrative tasks and can jump right into the investigation.
Fraud investigations should be timely, thorough, well-documented and fair. Download this free fraud investigation checklist to ensure you don’t miss any important steps.