All businesses should take the time to mitigate any risks of fraud. Smaller and mid-sized operations are vulnerable to business fraud, and the after effects can be devastating for everyone involved.
Business fraud usually falls into three different categories: theft, financial statement fraud, and asset misuse. The vast majority of business fraud schemes are related to outright theft, such as stealing cash or claiming fraudulent expenses, and asset misuse, like granting kickbacks.
Business fraud can be tough to tackle, especially for smaller businesses who might be tight-knit and incorporate many family members. Considering your employees as friends or family can make it hard to confront cases of business fraud and theft. Plus, smaller businesses usually have less financial oversight, less knowledge on fraud schemes, and remain vulnerable to even small instances of fraud (since they can completely derail operations).
If you are looking to avoid business fraud, keep these seven steps in mind as you operate your enterprise.
Separate Accounting: Smaller businesses usually have one person who works on everything pertaining to finance. This system makes it easy for people to skim the company and misdirect money to other places. All businesses should have at least two people working on the finance side, or develop a relationship with an accounting firm on the outside.
Learn About Employees: Most business fraud is carried out by an employee on the inside. Take the time to really understand an employee’s background and knowledge before hire. Background checks should be a necessity, along with occasional time off, since this could expose a scheme in place.
Run A Tight Ship: All businesses need to be very careful about who has financial knowledge. This means restricting access to account information, building a verification system for reimbursements, and carrying out audits on accounting books.
Watch Your Bank Accounts: Online banking makes it easy to check out accounts and statements at any time. Be sure to compare the online data with your paper copies to make sure everything is on the same page. Watch out for checks that are not in order and strange payment recipients, who could be the benefactors of a scam.
Properly Train Employees: One of the best ways to avoid business fraud is to train workers on how to spot it. Encourage them to report strange behavior through an anonymous system and craft a business code of ethics to keep everyone accountable.
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Protect All Credit Card Numbers: Credit card fraud is becoming a popular way for people to steal money from businesses. A good way to ward this off is to separate all business and personal accounts. This keeps funds safe on both sides if the other accounts are breached by credit card fraud. All businesses should be very careful about who they give out credit card numbers too and use online payment services to mitigate any risks.
Audit Regularly: Businesses should subject themselves to regular audits on all financial activity to stay accountable. Non-scheduled audits, especially if they are from an outside source, can help detect fraud that might have gone unnoticed otherwise. Many companies are experienced at carrying out audits for businesses of all sizes and will give valuable advice about warding off business fraud in the future.
Keep the above seven steps in mind to fight against business fraud. It can strike a business of any size, but good due diligence will keep your operations safe and protected.
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Courtesy of Cuselleration