Pretoria — EXPERTS in the information and communication sector said payroll fraud was growing at an alarming rate among small and medium enterprises in South Africa as such companies neglected investing on payroll.

Yolande Schoultz, Risk & Fraud Management Division Manager at Sage VIP Payroll & HR, said payroll fraud hurt the bottom-line at many South African businesses, with SMEs suffering the most from this form of white-collar crime.

“Payroll fraud happens most to businesses with less than 100 employees, and it can seriously hurt their ongoing sustainability.

“It usually takes 18 months to detect payroll fraud, and it is usually uncovered by accident. By that time, a business could have lost a vast amount of money,” she said

“Yet we don’t have accurate statistics because so few businesses prosecute employees for this crime.”

Anton van Heerden, managing director for Sage VIP and Sage Pastel Payroll & HR. said companies should as such put in place measures to address the scourge.

“Payroll fraud is one of the most common white-collar crimes in the business world. For that reason, every managing and financial director must put in place sound policies and processes to address this growing risk,” van Heerden said.

According to research conducted by Alexander Forbes in 2011, payroll fraud costs South African business more than cash-in-transit heists.