For more information about each of the specialised services on offer from Quartz Services, please click on one of the links below.
As a firm of Certified Fraud Examiners, fraud investigations are (as you would expect) one of the core services that we offer to clients.
"Over time, the existence and impact of a fraud becomes apparent to all but this may not be the case in the early stages. We have the expertise and experience to spot frauds which may not be obvious in the first instance."
No matter how robust your anti fraud policies, processes and procedures are, the unpalatable truth is that fraudsters will always keep on trying. Sometimes they succeed, and sometimes not, but they are never far away. Threats can be internal or external, or a combination of the two.
Where you believe a fraud has been perpetrated against your organisation, or if you suspect an existing fraud is underway right now, then our fraud investigation service is precisely suited to your needs.
We are experienced trained experts in fraud examination techniques and we can undertake either covert or open investigations to identify promptly whether you have suffered or are suffering a loss through fraud. We will assess and take account of all contractual matters and legislation and report the position to you.
Our fraud investigation service provides you with the evidence you require should you need to take civil or criminal proceedings at a later stage. If the fraud examination is not carried out correctly then you may be precluded from taking action at a later date.
We are also independent which adds to the credibility of the evidence when it is being tested later.
If you think you need our fraud investigation services then the chances are that you do. You need to confirm any suspect position independently and objectively so you know - one way or another.
More to the point – would you even know if a theft had taken place or was attempted?
"Is your data secure? Could your data be e-mailed or copied to a storage device such as an iPod or USB stick? Can your data be shipped out over the internet for collection elsewhere?"
Prevention is better than cure. Do not wait until it is too late; take action now to protect your data. You don’t leave your home or car without making it secure and you need to ensure the same is true of your data.
A data compromise can be extremely costly and very often once the data has left your control irreparable damage can result. This can costs money and jobs.
We can advise you comprehensively on data protection and the action you need to take if you suspect it has been compromised or stolen.
Our IT experts have many years of experience in highly complex and sophisticated computer security systems which enable us to assess your system with a view to identifying any areas of weaknesses.
"Most frauds involve computers and for that reason it is essential that all hardware, software, communications links and processes are examined and tested."
Any computer which may contain evidence of fraud must be treated in a particular manner if you intend to use the evidence later in criminal or civil proceedings. Our experts provide an independent method of doing this so that the evidence is not compromised. Once you identify a suspect computer you need to ensure that it is not tampered with in any way and in particular ensure that it is not closed down. You need to call us as soon as possible.
Once digital copies of any data have been made we have appropriate interrogation software which can identify suspicious data which our forensic teams can analyse and report on.
Our computer fraud services can be available to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We can advise you on the requirements necessary to ensure that the fraud risk to your business or organisation is eliminated or minimised. All members of your business or organisation, and those with whom you trade should be aware of their responsibilities, and of your attitude towards fraudulent activities.
"Take a proactive stance to prevent becoming the victim of fraud."
Set the tone at the top of your organisation and have all employees buy into the Anti Fraud Policy. Discover the procedures that ensure you are compliant with The Bribery Act, Sarbanes Oxley and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Install robust procedures across all of your business or organisation and with the minimum of disruption whilst actively implementing anti fraud systems.
We have the experience, knowledge and resources to do all this for you.
It is essential to determine the assets of an individual, business or organisation when deciding if civil or criminal litigation is worthwhile.
"Once assets have been identified, in either the UK or abroad, we can instigate applications worldwide to have such assets frozen if fraud is suspected."
We can provide you with the evidence to enable you to do just that.
Fraudsters and thieves often employ complex business structures to conceal their assets, but our forensic and legal teams are well versed when it comes to the detailed analysis required to determine the net worth of individuals, businesses or organisations.
Our brand secure service includes teams of intellectual property experts who have many years experience in dealing with the issues surrounding intellectual property to ensure that your revenue streams are not compromised and your reputation protected.
"Most businesses protect their physical assets but protecting intangible assets such as goodwill and brands presents more of a challenge."
The growth of the internet and the various trading platforms within, coupled with car boot sales, has allowed counterfeiters to expand their illegal trade at the expense of businesses like yours. By using our network, covert teams, specialist software and business intelligence we are in a position to obtain the necessary evidence to confirm if your brand is being abused, and if this is the case, we can advise you on how to proceed.
If appropriate our forensic accountants can also provide reports which quantify the potential revenue which an illegal operation has deprived you of.
Our background checks service provides background information on a wide variety of areas.
"Background checks should not to be confused with our comprehensive employee screening checks."
If you are contemplating a business deal in another jurisdiction, particularly where open source information is scarce, we can provide you with the in depth detail that you need about the people, the business, the country and the infrastructure so that you can make an informed decision about the risks of conducting trade.
With no firm definition of politically exposed persons, and an ever increasing number of watch lists, we can help you undertake sufficient due diligence to trade with confidence.
Even when covert operations are conducted in the private sector it is essential that the spirit of the Regulation of Investigative Powers Act (RIPA) are followed to ensure the admissibility of evidence.
"We have both RIPA experts and experts in the conduct and operation of covert operations."
Again this type of expert work can only be undertaken by highly trained individuals and can range from following individuals to engaging with those acting against the interests of your business or organisation.
Businesses will usually check out a potential customer at the start of a relationship.
"As part of the service we also provide continual monitoring so you are also aware of any adverse developments that may arise in respect of ongoing customers on your database."
However in our experience the checks carried out in many instances not adequate, and in any event are often carried out only once.
Our customer profiling service provides you with an extensive range of information not only on you potential customer but on the people behind their business and on parties related to that business. The provision of this information may alter your views on whether you wish to do business with a particular prospective customer. You will be making your own business decision on a more informed basis.
Our customer profiling and continual monitoring ensures that you are one step ahead.
Our supplier profiling service provides you with an extensive range of information not only on your potential supplier but on the people behind their business and on parties related to that business. The provision of this information may alter your views on whether you want to do business with a particular prospective supplier. You will be making your own business decision on a more informed basis.
"Businesses will usually check out a potential supplier at the start of a relationship. However in our experience the checks carried out in many instances not adequate, and in any event are often carried out only once."
As part of the service we also provide continuous monitoring so you are also aware of any adverse developments that may arise in respect of ongoing suppliers on your database.
Our supplier profiling and continual monitoring ensures that you are one step ahead.
Businesses will often check out their purchase ledger “suppliers” but very often do not apply the same diligence when engaging self employed contractors or freelancers. All too often the engagement terms and checks for are a “bit of a grey area”.
"There should be nothing “grey” about the engagement processes or the checks that are carried out on self employed contractors or freelancers."
This nature of the self employed contractor or freelancer can very often mean that their engagement is higher risk than a “normal” purchase ledger supplier. They are very often engaged to carry out assignments in highly sensitive areas do to with the business' computer or IT system or in the accounting function.
Our contractor & freelancer profiling will provide you with extensive information with those operatives who you may be engaging to carry out sensitive assignments. We also carry out continual monitoring so you are updated on any adverse factors as and when they may occur.
Our contractor & freelancer profiling service and continual monitoring ensures that you are one step ahead.
It is critically important that businesses and organisations protect their assets, goodwill, and reputation.
"Our employee screening service provides you with the assurance that you need to make properly informed decisions during the recruitment phase."
Businesses and organisations must never lose sight of the fact that it is people that orchestrate fraud and it is imperative that the very highest levels of scrutiny are applied to the people in a business or organisation.
Unfortunately all too often the “checks” carried out when employees first take up employment amount to a cursory checklist approach instead of detailed checking.
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 95% of employee frauds are committed by people who have been employed for more than 12 months, and 45% of employee frauds are committed by people who have been employed between 1 year and 5 years.
For this reason our employee screening service extends beyond the recruitment phase and is a continuous process during employment and indeed in the post employment period when frauds can also take place.
Employees need to be made aware that fraud is not tolerated and that your stance on this protects their position and the jobs of all honest employees.
As a firm of Certified Fraud Examiners forensic accounting is one of our core services.
"We have the resources and capability to carry out detailed analysis, valuations and assessments in complex cases involving the large pools of data and to present the results in a meaningful format which can be readily understood in a non financial environment."
Our forensic accounting teams work with legal and law enforcement teams to examine suspected past and current fraud and to provide evidence as to the extent of such frauds, and the quantification of losses for possible future recovery action or use in criminal or civil proceedings.
We are experts in financial reporting and auditing standards and we have many years of experience dealing with these issues in both the public and private sector. We are well placed to assess whether such standards have been adhered to in financial reports and transactions which is all part of the forensic accountants armoury.
In instances where data is incomplete, or where it has been manipulated or suppressed, our advanced data interrogation software and investigation techniques, including risk analysis and statistical evaluations enable conclusions to be deduced. When such conclusions are supported by other available evidence, they can form a package of persuasive evidence which demonstrates the fraud, and seeks to ensure the perpetrators are held accountable and that they repay what they have gained by their fraud.
Where appropriate we can arrange for suspect documents and records, both computerised and manual, to be forensically tested in order to support our opinion and strengthen your case.
Aside from the technical aspects of forensic accounting, our combined years of real life investigation work and experience ensure that we are well placed to interpret the results of our finding and to know when to probe further.
Fraudsters go to great lengths to cover their tracks but our forensic accounting service means that you have the best possible chance of unravelling their web of deceit and proving it.
Our involvement in your franchise process from the outset means that any potential franchisee is aware that you take fraud seriously. By taking fraud seriously your brand is protected. The franchisees upfront and continuous fee payments are significant investments on their part and they need to know that the franchisor is doing everything possible to protect the brand that they have invested in or will be investing in.
"We can evaluate your franchise agreement to identify the potential risk areas."
You are also sending a strong message from the top down that sales need to be properly declared and the supplies and costs must be procured in accordance with the franchise agreement. We accept our involvement must be handled carefully and that franchisees may be nervous of our involvement initially, however you can easily justify this by telling them that brand protection is paramount. If the brand suffers …then all franchisees suffer. This is something that no one wants. It is obvious when you tell them but initially some may not see it like that. We will assure all franchisees that provided the franchise agreement is adhered to, then they have absolutely nothing to fear. Why should they?
"Too many franchisors simply take the upfront fees from the franchisee without proper checks."
Franchising your brand's good name and reputation for others to operate under contains a risk that your franchisees may not operate the same code of business ethics that you do. This can have a devastating effect on the value of your good name and dramatically reduce your future income from both existing franchisees and possible future franchisees. In extreme cases your brand could be destroyed.
You need to reduce the risk of this happening in the first instance by carrying out all relevant due diligence well before you enter into any agreement.
Since each brand and each franchise is different we will design bespoke tests which can be carried out with the knowledge of the franchisee, or covertly, to assist you in maintaining the value of your franchise.
You need to ask yourself - is this person someone that I want to have a long term business relationship with?
We can provide you with information to enable you to answer that question.
If you do enter into an agreement with a franchisee you need to ensure that they are sticking to what they have agreed for the entire duration of the agreement. You need to ensure that any revenue or profit share is not being compromised. Are franchisees acting in accordance with their franchise agreement? Are they honest and straightforward in their dealings with you? Again we can provide you with evidence to verify the position one way or another. We use a variety of techniques to do this and we do it continuously. We provide you with evidence on a regular basis.
Proving there is an issue is one thing ...but quantifying any losses and identifying the period in which such losses may have been occurring is another task entirely.
We can provide you with evidence of such losses and as a firm of Certified Fraud Examiners our forensic accounting and legal experts can support substantially the basis of any claim you may have against a defaulting franchisee. Our aim would always be in the first instance to obtain a negotiated settlement on your behalf rather than taking legal action. If however we need to take action then we would be ideally positioned to take steps quickly to protect your brand and move matters to the next stage.
Whilst we would always encourage mediation and negotiation before legal action, there are times when after all is said and done you are left with two stark choices:
"The fact remains, leaving all emotion aside, you have decision to make and you and / or your lawyers need facts to make that decision. Where specific facts are not readily available, you need what information is available and you need to know its limitations."
We provide the necessary support to you and your legal team by gathering and collating information including intelligence, data, and any other meaningful evidence including financial data with appropriate analysis.
Our experts in litigation support provide a range of services to your lawyers to enable them to get on with the main aspects of your case. We can use our entire range of skills, services and resources to provide the very best support in all fraud related cases.
We can also appear as expert witnesses should the need arise.
Many businesses and organisations are simply not doing enough to test that their systems, procedures and controls are working as intended.
Very often the testing that is done is inadequate and misplaced partly as a result of poor planning and partly as a result of legitimate changes to working practices.
"Our penetration testing services will assess your system to ensure that it is appropriate for your business and we will test the system robustly at all levels."
Our testing is bespoke and executed on a continuous basis, month in month out. This ensures that weaknesses are highlighted promptly so that corrective action can be taken.
It is the responsibility of the management to safeguard all assets including protection from fraud. This responsibility is often mistakenly thought, even by senior management personnel, to rest with the external auditors.
In designing penetration tests our multi disciplinary teams of forensic accountants, lawyers and former Police fraud squad officers mimic what it is that a fraudster might be likely to do. We think like the fraudster thinks so that you are one step ahead.
Testing is most certainly not limited to your IT systems and computers. Every single aspect of your business needs to be examined and assessed and tested.