fraud - the new 'f' word

A few quick tips on avoiding fraud from our Bookkeeping & Reporting advisors

No one likes to think that their company will be the victim of fraud, but it does happen, causing unnecessary stress and, too often, financial hardship. While there is no way to totally protect yourself against this new and menacing ‘F’ word, there are a few simple tasks that should be performed regularly that can help minimize the risk to your organization.

Bank and credit card statements

  • Statements should be opened immediately upon receipt or review via online banking. Make sure this happens on a regular basis.  Check with your financial institution if you find any items, however small, that you do not recognize.  A small fraudulent charge may be a precursor to a larger one.
  • Where possible, the person who prepares checks and processes payments in your organization should not be responsible for reconciling bank and credit card accounts.  Often just knowing that someone else will be reviewing the account can be a deterrent to fraudsters.  If your staff number is small, consider outsourcing this task.

Internal Controls

  • Petty cash should be reconciled on a regular basis and signed off by a supervisor.  Receipts should accompany all charges.
  • Inventory spot checking is a good way to discourage internal theft and easy if you have a perpetual inventory.
  • Restrict personal internet use on company computers to minimize the risk of hacking and viruses.

 

With the implementation of a few controls, you may be able to prevent fraud from occurring, or at least stop it before it causes greater financial loss.