Fraud can be one of the most significant consequences of failure to exercise skepticism.

It can often be overlooked in mitigating the risk of fraud and misconduct, which illustrates why it is important that companies and their stakeholders should recognize the significance of and challenges associated with exercising an appropriate level of skepticism.

The word skepticism comes from the Greek word skeptikos, which means “inquiring” or “reflective.” Simply put, skepticism is a questioning mindset, and it requires an understanding that even the best organizations can be susceptible to fraud.

It is important to note that skepticism is not an end in itself and is not meant to encourage a hostile atmosphere or micro-management. Management, audit committees, and internal auditors, at a minimum, should take a “trust but verify” approach with systems, methods, and communications rather than accept critical information at face value.

Embracing skepticism throughout the financial reporting supply chain increases not only the likelihood that fraud will be detected but also the perception that fraud will be detected, which reduces the risk that fraud will be attempted.

The Anti-Fraud Collaboration provides resources that hone the skill of skepticism in the financial reporting chain and that explore the benefits of embracing a skeptical mindset.

See below for resources on skepticism:

Honing Skepticism

Honing Skepticism

Skepticism should be at the heart of every successful collaboration. In order to prevent fraud in the financial reporting chain, leading business organizations must hone the skill of skepticism at every level, all the way up to the boardroom.