A large number of companies exaggerate profits and indulge in corrupt practices to achieve higher growth, says a survey by global accountancy firm EY.

According to the EY EMEIA Fraud Survey, 80 per cent of Indian respondents believe that bribery and corrupt practices happen widely in relation to business.

EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, found that manipulation of financial results is prevalent as 40 per cent of the respondents believe companies in their market often exaggerate their financial performance.

“Fifty-nine per cent opine that companies often report their financial performance as better than it is,” the survey said. “Businesses are operating in an exceptionally challenging environment,” it said, adding that management is under a lot of pressure to find new ways to expand business. EY Partner (Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services) Arpinder Singh said: “The survey does indicate that there is enhanced awareness about ethical business practices and that acceptance seems to be setting in, though it may take time.” Around 67 per cent of respondents felt that India has been achieving economic growth which is slower than expected and economic sanctions are more complex and require greater effort for businesses to comply, it said.

Managers under pressure Nearly 81 per cent said managers are under increased pressure to identify new revenue opportunities, and 66 per cent believe that the pressure to venture into higher-risk markets is high. The survey was conducted across Europe, West Asia, India and Africa.