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IIA ACFE Release Joint Report on Building a Best-in-Class Whistleblower Hotline

News Release The IIA May 18, 2023

LAKE MARY, Fla. (May 18, 2023) – The Institute of Internal Auditors (The IIA) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) today jointly released Building a Best-in-Class Whistleblower Hotline, a report that examines the key elements of whistleblower hotline programs in workplaces worldwide. The report:

  • Provides benchmarking data for hotline programs at organizations around the world
  • Evaluates the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of whistleblower hotline programs
  • Explores the reasons organizations do not have a hotline program, as well as regional differences in hotline programs

For the report, The IIA and ACFE conducted a global survey of their members in December 2022 and January 2023. 75% of respondents indicated their organizations have a whistleblower hotline program, while the remaining 25% indicated that their organization did not have a whistleblower hotline program, a program was being considered, or they were not sure if their organization had a program. 

“Research by the ACFE indicates that whistleblower tips are by far the most common ways that fraud schemes are detected,” ACFE President and CEO, Bruce Dorris, J.D., CFE, CPA, said. “Without effective whistleblower hotline programs in place, employees may not know where to turn if they suspect fraud is occurring within their organization. We’re proud to be partnering with The IIA to provide this guidance for companies looking to establish, assess, or mature their whistleblower hotline program as a key component of their overall fraud prevention and detection efforts.”

“Internal auditors and anti-fraud practitioners play vital roles in their organizations’ whistleblower hotline programs,” said IIA President and CEO, Anthony Pugliese, CIA, CPA, CGMA, CITP. “Whether it’s administrating the program or investigating tips, we’re on the front line in the fight against fraud. This IIA and ACFE collaboration shines a light on the need for further fraud detection and prevention programs and provides a roadmap for how to create them.”

Building a Best-in-Class Whistleblower Hotline is divided into two main parts: 

  • Part 1: Benchmarking Hotline Programs, which examines the structure and components of whistleblower hotline programs among the organizations of survey respondents.
  • Part 2: Effectiveness of Hotline Programs, which examines aspects of hotline programs that contribute to the programs’ success.

Key findings: 

  • Most organizations (83%) provide multiple channels for reporting as part of their hotline programs.
  • The most common hotline reporting mechanisms provided by organizations are dedicated phone numbers, website/online reporting mechanisms, and dedicated email addresses.
  • Most hotlines (91%) can receive anonymous reports, and 83% can receive reports 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • A majority of hotline programs (72%) include an official anti-retaliation policy.
  • Top considerations cited by respondents for a successful hotline program include anonymity, awareness, follow-up action and retaliation protection.

Access the full report and an infographic highlighting more survey findings at and


About The Institute of Internal Auditors

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is an international professional association that serves more than 230,000 global members and has awarded more than 185,000 Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certifications worldwide. Established in 1941, The IIA is recognized throughout the world as the internal audit profession's leader in standards, certifications, education, research, and technical guidance. For more information, visit

About the ACFE

Founded in 1988 by Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, the ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organization. Together with more than 90,000 members, the ACFE works to reduce business fraud worldwide and inspire public confidence in the integrity and objectivity within the profession. For more information, visit


The Institute of Internal Auditors