According to a report published by the Society for Certified Fraud Examiners in 2016, 30% of frauds occurred in small businesses with less than 100 employees. Small businesses have fewer anti-fraud reins in place than large organizations that make them especially defenseless to fraud. Frauds are common in small companies because they lack special security check-ups and foolproof systems. A small business may have installed accounting software, but the accounting software for small business may require many security features reserved for software purchased by big corporations. A simple reason for this is the price difference in this software, and many business owners go for the cheapest option.
If a small business owner has a stellar accounting software, the chance of fraud remains, unfortunately. In small businesses, many times, a single person is entrusted with operating all accounting and bookkeeping functions. Passing all bookkeeping into the hands of an only person is a significant reason for small business fraud.
In charge of all of the accounting and bookkeeping functions, this person in a small business is most likely the most trusted employee in the company.
Best Employee or Fraudster?
Let us portray how the “best employee” could be stealing money from your business. If you find the following unusual behavior in your best employee, they could turn out to be someone different than you thought.
Unusual working hours
When a single employee performs all of the bookkeeping functions, they might have to work long hours. Of course, most of the time, that doesn’t turn out to be a problem. However, this routine could be a warning sign.
If an employee has a routine of odd working hours, there is a possibility that they are involved in fraudulent behavior with your business bookkeeping. If the employee regularly leaves late and works overtime without asking for extra pay, it could be a sign of “special interest” in your business. Like most of us, you think this is going in your favor, but the case might be the complete opposite.
Refusal to leave bookkeeping tasks to others
If an employee is working hard for a company but is unwilling to leave any accounting and bookkeeping work for others, a check on their activities must be kept. They might be involved in fraudulent practices. If the employee refuses to allow others to look at their work or regularly gets offensive when asked about it, this is a warning sign.
Too much access
If you have given too much access to your business’s financial bookkeeping, your business is already at risk of fraud. A single employee should not be given all access to receiving cash, payments, tracking expenses, and various other bookkeeping functions—delegate employees for different steps of bookkeeping management. There should be separate people for bank transactions, expenses, receiving cash from customers, paying bills, and bank deposits.
Your trusted employee is spending lavishly
If your employee starts spending more than usual, keep a close eye on their activities in your business functions. They might be involved in some fraudulent practices. A fixed pay usually does not leave room for spending lavishly all of a sudden.
How to Spot the Fraud
The difference in accounting statements
Whether you have an electronic system or your accounting statements are done manually on a register, the financial statements should match the cash flow statements and balance sheet. In manual bookkeeping, there is always a chance of an honest error, but keep an eye on any difference in the number of accounting statements.
Match the transactions with real bills and invoices
If there is more than one payment for a single bill, it again might be the case of fraud. Keep an eye on the bookkeeping in your business. Check the bills for duplication.
Business ready for an audit at all times is a business with lesser discrepancies. Conducting regular audits will discourage employees from committing fraud or theft as there is more of a chance they will be caught.
The concept of your “best employee” in a small business can be dangerous. If your best employ has any of the above suspicious behavior, it’s time to take steps to ensure your business is safe. Dividing job responsibilities, reviewing all monthly reports, and limiting manual payments can prevent your employees from deciding to go down that road.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.