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An offer comes along that promises great benefits? Often, in this case you do not want to refuse a possible business partner. But what to do if the person who offered the lucrative contract does not arouse much confidence? Even in the case where the doubts are based not on logic but on intuition, it is worth carrying out a comprehensive check of the counterparty. An ill-considered decision on cooperation with an unfamiliar commercial firm can undermine both the reputation and the financial stability of the company – often new contractors are not capable of fulfilling their obligations.
Not every company, even those belonging to the segment of large businesses, has the possibility to maintain a qualified security service, the functions of which would include verification of counterparties. As a result, such aspects are simply not taken into account, and managers make decisions regarding cooperation on the basis of scarce information from advertising media and other sources, which are not always reliable.
In today’s Russia, where information protection of business is generally weak, the following standard fraud scheme is often used. Without any plans to fulfill their obligations, at the beginning of the collaboration the fraudsters refer to mutual acquaintances and the support of the authorities, and sometimes they use more sophisticated means to create “dust in the eyes”. Using external attributes – expensive cars, solid offices with temporary hired employees – dishonest businessmen skillfully create an illusion of respectability. Often these people behave so confidently that even heads of companies with great business experience fall for their bait.
Often the swindlers create large organized groups, putting on a real show in front of future partners, leaving them no chance for reckless actions. In modern practice of large and medium-sized enterprises there have been cases when such criminal groups were financed by competing companies and only a timely check by outsourced employees of information-analytical service helped to avoid an agreement on shackling terms and subsequent bankruptcy of the organization.
So what is the verification of partners? The main characteristics that a company is interested in when checking the reliability of its partners – is their ability and willingness to pay under the contract, fully complying with the obligations assumed.
To assess the “cleanliness” of future allies, the head of the company needs the following information:
- The age of the company and the stability of its existence;
- Whether the possible partner has any subsidiaries and/or parent companies;
- Whether the company’s business address has changed, as well as the reasons for the change;
- Whether the company’s founders are the same (if not, what is the reason for that);
- Whether the company has liquid assets;
- Whether any judicial or administrative proceedings have been initiated against the company;
- Whether the managers of the company have connections with criminal structures;
- Whether the company has been involved in fraudulent transactions in the past;
- How are the company’s credit obligations being discharged?
- Whether the enterprise has any long-term partners and how they view the cooperation with the enterprise.
Screening of business partners may be carried out either by the personal security service or with the involvement of employees of a competent organization on the basis of a contract for the provision of information and analytical services. Most often the employees of their own Security Service get information on new counterparties from publicly available sources – advertising materials, traditional media, the Internet. However, search, selection and analysis of information requires significant time resources which, as a rule, are not available.
There are serious pitfalls: today’s information technology has reached such a level that with a small investment of money information about the company can change in a matter of days. Information received from public sources may be of dubious credibility: all negative information about the company is carefully deleted and hidden, and the recent laudatory and advertising publications are completely made to order. Do personal security officers often receive qualified retraining, including the study of information technology, algorithms for finding current information about counterparties on the Internet? If the answer to this question is “No”, there is only one way out: to use the knowledge of employees of an information-analytical company by entering into a contract for the provision of information-analytical services.
For example, the ITI Group, a leader in the security market in Russia, uses its own methods of information processing and modern technologies to filter information on the Internet and traditional media. Experience and the debugged mechanism of search and processing of the information allow the ITI Group of Companies in the shortest terms to provide the client with the report on a real financial condition of the potential partner.
In terms of outsourcing, the most relevant is the verification of a foreign partner company. After Russia was admitted to the World Trade Organization, the country was flooded with foreign companies, among which there are many fraudsters. Today many Russian enterprises are simply forced to cooperate with foreign companies in order not to lose their positions on the market of goods and services, that is why check on the reliability of foreign partners before concluding a contract is often one of the main functions of the security service.
In the context of growing integration with the markets of Europe, Asia and America, non-trivial tasks are more and more frequently assigned to the company’s security service. And if checking of contractors and security of businesses operating within the border of Russia is a difficult but feasible task, then in determining the reliability of foreign companies security officers most often pass up.
In addition to the aforementioned risks, in order to verify the reliability of a foreign counterparty by employees of their own security service, you will have to spend much more money, and most importantly – such an invaluable resource as time. If you look closely into the question, there is only one conclusion: if you need to collect information about a partner, supplier, lender or distributor in order to conclude a contract, do it without delay. More often than not, only specialized companies with years of experience, such as the ITI Group of Companies, are able to do this kind of verification. And the task will be done not only better and faster, but also with a considerable profit for your company.
- At the stage of making a contract and establishing a business relationship it is important to collect relevant and reliable information about the company. Only if this condition is fulfilled it will be possible to minimize risks and evaluate rationality of execution of certain agreements.
- It is quite relevant to check foreign partners, which takes a lot of time and requires a lot of experience in this area.
- It is enough to calculate the costs and time spent on an independent verification of the partner to understand the advisability of resorting to a specialized company with experience and refined technologies of information gathering, such as the ITI Group.