A Survey of Automated Financial Statement Fraud Detection with Relevance to the South African Context





auditing, machine learning, finance, fraud detection


Financial statement fraud has been on the increase in the past two decades and includes prominent scandals such as Enron, WorldCom and more recently in South Africa, Steinhoff. These scandals have led to billions of dollars being lost in the form of market capitalisation from different stock exchanges across the world. During this time, there has been an increase in the literature on applying automated methods to detecting financial statement fraud using publicly available data. This paper provides a survey of the literature on automated financial statement fraud detection and identifies current gaps in the literature. The paper highlights a number of important considerations in the implementation of financial statement fraud detection decision support systems, including 1) the definition of fraud, 2) features used for detecting fraud, 3) region of the case study, dataset size and imbalance, 4) algorithms used for detection, 5) approach to feature selection / feature engineering, 6) treatment of missing data, and 7) performance measure used. The current study discusses how these and other implementation factors could be approached within the South African context.

Author Biographies

Wilson Tsakane Mongwe, University of South Africa

Department of Decision Sciences

Katherine Mary Malan, University of South Africa

Department of Decision Sciences





Research Papers (general)