‘giving or receiving a financial or other advantage in connection with the "improper performance" of a position of trust, or a function that is expected to be performed impartially or in good faith.’
Bribery Act 2010

‘Dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery’
Oxford English Dictionary

Bribery and corruption is a hot topic at the moment, what with FIFA being engulfed in a scandal I’m not sure they can survive. It’s is nothing new in business, though. This article on details some of the world’s biggest businesses like Siemens and GlaxoSmithKline around the world have found themselves caught up in such scandals.

But what is changing is how countries around the world are changing their attitude, and punishments, to such activity.

Just how big is this issue? To pull out some numbers from a report by the OECD relating to foreign bribery cases between 1999 and 2014:

  • Over 400 cases were closed in that period - that’s over 26 cases a year (of which is just one in the current year)
  • 75% of cases involved payments through intermediaries (hello FIFA)
  • 261 fines were imposed on individuals and companies
  • $149M was the highest amount forfeited by an individual in a foreign bribery case
  • The most common form of punishment is a civil or criminal fine (400 cases) but could include imprisonment (c. 80 cases)

You may think that bribery and corruption only happens in large organisations but you’d be surprised. Whilst 60% of cases between 1999 and 2014 are known to have happened in large companies and shocking 36% are companies of unknown size, which reasonably could be medium or even small organisations.

Recognising this as an important topic for accounting & finance professionals around the world we have just published a new course on the subject, which is now available to you to offer to your members or purchase directly at

Anti Bribery and Corruption, by John Burbidge King, defines bribery & corruption; looks at what activities constitute bribery & corruption; the key points of the UK Bribery Act 2010; and walks you through the process of setting up a risk assessment and implementing a business process to manage the risk in your own organisation.

Don’t assume it could never happen in your company; the numbers show it could happen anywhere in the world in any size of organisation in any industry.