SAP is bringing its big data analytics capabilities to bear on financial fraud with a new application that helps enterprises keep a clean set of books and stay on the right side of the law.
The German software maker unveiled on Feb. 13 its SAP Business Integrity Screening offering, an application that scours massive volumes of data in real-time to detect anomalies and ferret out evidence of fraud, waste and abuse.
Powered by SAP HANA, the company's in-memory database, the software employs predictive analytics and predefined detection rules to notify users of issues concerning iffy business transactions with third-party organizations.
Reflecting the wide variety of businesses that help keep the global economy running, versatility is one of the application's defining traits.
"The range of scenarios the SAP Business Integrity Screening solution can help detect are broad; it can be used to screen for any types of potential fraud, anomalous transactions (that are not necessarily fraud), compliance exceptions and more," explained Jerome Pugnet, senior director of Governance, Risk, and Compliance Product Marketing at SAP.
Examples include irregularities in invoices and vendor payments, along with suspicious behavior such as frequent changes in a vendor's master data, Pugnet said. SAP Business Integrity Screening can also be used to screen for conflicts of interest in purchasing agreements and ensure compliance with laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits bribing foreign officials to earn their business, he added.
The financial benefits of keeping an eye out for fraud and other potential misdeeds can be significant, noted Pugnet.
"The ACFE [Association of Certified Fraud Examiners] estimates fraud to represent 5 percent of business revenue on average. If you look at a $10 billion company, that's $500 million," Pugnet said. "With the Business Integrity Screening solution companies can reduce that number, leading to a very significant gain."
There are also that penalties that often come with dubious dealings to consider, plus the potential damage to an organization's brand.
"Compliance fines are also far from insignificant; and don't tend to decrease," added Pugnet. "Authorities are less and less tolerant on issues such as anti-bribery and corruption, and beyond fines, can have a significant impact in brand reputation and stakeholder's confidence."
The application helps organizations catch unusual transactions before losses are incurred and prevent them from taking a bite out a company's finances in the future. As a risk-reduction measure, the software can screen individuals and businesses entities against risky or blacklisted parties, further helping organizations steer clear of activities that may draw the ire of regulators and law enforcement.
Customers can define rules for many different scenarios, including insurance fraud, tax audits, utility theft and public-sector disbursements, among others. It also integrates other SAP business software products, including SAP ERP and Process Control to harmonize compliance efforts and aid in issue management and investigations.