Protecting Your Business From Fraud-Are You Doing Enough?

Protecting your business from fraud and theft is a tough job these days – are you doing enough as a business owner to ensure that your assets are safe?

Did you know that according to a 2010 report from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, incidents of occupational fraud are 31% more likely to occur at small business as opposed to larger companies?  And, to add insult to injury, as many as 40% of small business owners are embezzlement victims and that a staggering one-third of all bankruptcies are the direct result of internal theft!

To be hones, I had no idea of these statistics – until I read a very interesting article yesterday called Five steps to prevent small business fraud, in the Hartford Business Journal Online.

The article discussed:

  • Managing finances using secure online banking
  • Protecting computer systems and practicing online awareness
  • Safely handling sensitive documents and financial statements
  • Obtaining fidelity insurance {which protects your business against criminal acts such as robbery, embezzlement, forgery, and credit card fraud}, and
  • Incorporating appropriate checks and balances

The author, Michael LaBella, offered some excellent advice about incorporating appropriate checks and balances;

Every small business owner should perform an internal review and assessment of company finances on a monthly basis.  Make sure payment amounts match all invoices and check for any missing documents.  Running random audits or having a third party audit your books once a year will show your employees you are serious about fraud and deter them from committing deceptive acts.

While that’s very good advice, I don’t think it’s quite enough, below are some additional tips for protecting your business from fraud.

  • As a business owner you should be signing all of the checks written on your company checking account – throw out the signature stamp and don’t use the QuickBooks option that allows checks to be printed with your signature already in place!  That’s just asking for trouble…..
  • Balance your checking account and credit card statements each month – that way you can “see” those transactions and verify where the company’s money has gone.

Yes, this means more for you to do as a business owner – and I’m sure that you already have a full plate – but isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?

What safeguards do you have in place to protect your business from fraud?

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