Crime survey finds nicking stuff at No 1.

The "inside job" is out of style for Kiwi workers this year.

That's one trend from 2016's economic crime survey by professional services firm PwC.

While employees ripping off their own workplace made up 70 per cent of fraud in 2014, that had fallen to 44 per cent in PwC's latest poll of 85 firms.

That's the lowest proportion of inside jobs in more than half a decade, with staff swindles making up 72 per cent of fraud in 2009 and 52 per cent in 2011.


But PwC partner of forensic services Eric Lucas said companies were still equally exposed to internal and external fraud. "I don't think you can expect all of sudden the prospect of internal fraud is going to continue to diminish," Lucas said.

Of those that took part in this year's survey, 40 per cent - 34 firms - reported falling victim to economic crime in the past two years, slightly up on the 33 per cent hit in 2014.

This is higher than the average of 36 per cent of firms across the 115 countries where PwC ran the poll.

Almost a third of New Zealand firms affected by financial offending estimated it cost them between $150,000 and $1.5 million.

Five companies in the survey believed economic crime had cost them up to $7.5 million.

The biggest type of financial crime continues to be asset appropriation, with 74 per cent of it falling into this category.

"Cyber crime is the flavour of the month and obviously going up but number one is always people nicking your stuff," Lucas said.

New Zealand had also become more reliant on whistleblowers and tip-offs than previously, he said.

Corporate controls detected only 24 per cent of crimes reported, "significantly" down from 56 per cent in 2014.

"It underpins the need for all your ethics and compliance [programmes] to be humming because frankly if only a quarter of our frauds are found by formal corporate controls, that leaves a lot else to be found where you are relying on people's moral compasses," Lucas said.