3 Takeaways about Anti-Bribery and Corruption Technology (ABAC)

3 minute read

April 2023

Anti-bribery and corruption programs grant businesses visibility into their internal practices and third-party networks to ensure no one in their supply chain is participating in illicit behavior. While third-party networks increase an organization’s service capacity, they also increase exposure to anti-bribery and corruption (ABAC) violations—violations that result in fines, reputational damage, and lost business. To expand your global third-party network responsibly, you must understand the ABAC legislation relevant to your business and implement anti-bribery and corruption technology. 

3 takeaways for organizations looking to manage ABAC are: 

1. ABAC laws vary by region 

The two major ABAC laws are the United States’ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act (UKBA). These laws cover many of the same actions and policies, but the difference in focus can have serious ramifications. 

  • The FCPA prohibits organizations from bribing foreign officials, while the UKBA prohibits the bribery of both foreign officials and private businesspeople. 
  • The FCPA looks to determine intent, while the UKBA doesn’t consider intent if the outcome was a bribe. 
  • The FCPA criminalizes the paying of bribes and the attempt to hide payments, while the UKBA criminalizes both payment and receipt. 
  • The FCPA limits fines on individuals, while the UKBA doesn’t cap fines on individuals. 
  • The FCPA caps prison time at 20 years, while the UKBA caps prison time at 10 years. 
  • FCPA permits facilitation of payments if properly recorded, while the UKBA considers that a bribe. 

Each of these laws has its own priorities and emphases, but they share a focus on third-party risk: if one of your third parties is found in violation, ignorance isn’t an excuse. When a third party brings your organization regulatory attention, that means lost revenue regardless of the outcome. An FCPA investigation, for instance, involves both the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). On average, the DOJ takes 39 months to complete a bribery investigation, at a cost of over $1.5 million per month. This means that turning a blind eye to your third parties can put your organization at greater financial and reputational risk. 

2. Implementing ABAC best practices reduces the possibility of a violation 

The purpose of an ABAC program is to detect issues early, both inside the organization and in the vendor ecosystem. Early detection allows you to self-report to the relevant regulatory authority, which results in reduced fines and favorable judgement.  

Additionally, you should screen third parties and identify ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs), or the people that would benefit if the organization took part in a bribe. First, you must complete third-party due diligence during vendor onboarding. Then, you should screen the information gathered during due diligence against law enforcement watchlists, lists of politically exposed persons and state-owned agencies (SOEs). 

Another key requirement of ABAC compliance is training: an informed workforce is both less likely to take bribes and more aware of your commitment to bribery prevention. You can also enable your workforce to maintain good ABAC practices by providing protections for whistleblowers—that way, if someone has something to report, they won’t be too afraid to do so. 

Finally, it’s important to conduct internal due diligence. Database checks, internal assessments, media monitoring, and compliance checklists are all strong methods for gaining visibility into your organization. 

3.  Anti-Bribery and Corruption technology streamlines lengthy processes

Implementing an ABAC solution, like ProcessUnity for Anti-Bribery & Corruption, grants you greater visibility in fewer labor hours by automating evidence-gathering and centralizing your ABAC data. Processes that can be automated and improved using ABAC technology include:  

  • Onboarding: Request evidence, decide what’s in-scope or out-of-scope for due diligence 
  • Due Diligence: Send third-party questionnaires, internal LOB questionnaires, screen all third parties 
  • Compliance Review: Evaluate findings, review enhanced due diligence report, approve/reject third parties 
  • Program Management: Manage reporting, audits and issue management 
  • Monitoring: Gain visibility with automated monitoring and alerts 

Keeping up with ABAC legislation can be a lot of work, but when you use anti-bribery and corruption technology to automate and streamline key processes, you can be confident in your program. For more information on ABAC, read our blog, “Anti-Bribery & Corruption (ABAC) in Business Today.” 

Further reading: 

1) Next-Level Strategies for an Efficient Third-Party Due Diligence Process 

2) Best Practices for ABAC Compliance in 2023 

3) Your TPRM Program Must Account for Geopolitical Risk 

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About Us

ProcessUnity is a leading provider of cloud-based applications for risk and compliance management. The company’s software as a service (SaaS) platform gives organizations the control to assess, measure, and mitigate risk and to ensure the optimal performance of key business processes. ProcessUnity’s flagship solution, ProcessUnity Vendor Risk Management, protects companies and their brands by reducing risks from third-party vendors and suppliers. ProcessUnity helps customers effectively and efficiently assess and monitor both new and existing vendors – from initial due diligence and onboarding through termination. Headquartered outside of Boston, Massachusetts, ProcessUnity is used by the world’s leading financial service firms and commercial enterprises. For more information, visit www.processunity.com.