A survey of nearly 1,000 experts has revealed 60% believe there is insufficient guidance for SMEs to combat bribery and corruption.
The research, commissioned by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), has highlighted that of 932 cross-sector accountants surveyed, fewer than one in three believe there is enough support for small businesses to tackle bribery and corruption.
In the professional accountancy body’s report Combating bribery in the SME sector, respondents outlined fears that procedures and policies and risk assessments are not always in place to help management and the employees.
The survey showed how SMEs value practising accountants for their all-round business support services, but that there is still a pressing need for collaborative work with governments around the world, inter-governmental departments and other stakeholders.
Jason Piper, global policy lead for Business Law at ACCA, highlighted the challenges that SMEs face in understanding the legal requirements in connection with bribery and corruption.
Mr Piper pinpointed SMEs globally are overwhelmingly seeing bribery and corruption as having a negative impact on the business environment
He said: ‘The findings from this survey are conclusive and show businesses are desperately searching for that much-needed support.
Globally, 62% of survey respondents believe SMEs that demonstrate strong anti-bribery credentials will be more likely to be able to trade with large businesses and public bodies. This reflects that fact that global enterprises are increasingly concerned about their supply chain exposure to a range of risks associated with CSR, including bribery and corruption issues.
‘Compared with our survey findings from six years ago, small businesses believe there is even less guidance on combating bribery and corruption. We found that employees negotiating on behalf of companies need awareness courses on what constitutes bribery - and more important how to deal with this.
‘Crucially, anti-bribery guidance for SMEs needs to be short and accessible. This is something most of our members questioned do not believe to be the case.’
Mr Piper concluded that whilst the accountancy profession has been working to support small businesses, collaborative work with governments around the world, inter-governmental departments and other stakeholders must continue to progress.
He said: ‘ACCA will continue to work with the stakeholders with the objective of more resources being made available. Governments need to ensure whistle-blowers remain protected - through developing additional guidance or improving awareness of what already exists in this area.’
For media enquiries, contact:
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7059 5138
Mobile: +44 (0) 7802 951809
Notes to editor
ACCA members surveyed covered 932 respondents globally and 210 in the United Kingdom - including 40% working in businesses in the corporate sector, 8% each in not-for-profit and the public sector and 27% in an accountancy business and providing professional services to SMEs.
The main findings of this survey compared where appropriate with findings from the 2013 survey (exclusively of ACCA members, including members working within SMEs as accountants or general managers (63%) and those in public practice providing professional services to SMEs (29%). A small number of members working in the public sector (4%) also took part.
For the purposes of this research, ‘bribery and corruption’ is treated as a single issue, in line with the typical approach taken by leading organisations. Given that one objective of the survey was to gauge understanding of the term ‘bribery and corruption’, respondents were not given any formal definition in order to avoid influencing their perceptions.
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development.
Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.
Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. More information is here: www.accaglobal.com