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Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Southbourne Tax Group: 7 Tips For Preventing Invoice Fraud

Posted by penningbeal16 on March 09, 2017
Tax / Comments Off

The Accounts Payable department is a prime target for fraud. Criminals looking to exploit your business take advantage of AP departments buried in paperwork to submit phony invoices and hope they’ll slip by as legitimate.

A single fraudulent invoice might not impact your company too much. However, over time invoice fraud can become quite a costly problem. Foiling invoice fraud is often frustrating, but implementing these tips will significantly reduce the risk of your company falling victim.

1) Employ 3-Way Matching

If you can match each invoice to a purchase order and receipt of goods, then you’re much less likely to pay a fraudulent invoice. Most fraudsters won’t bother fabricating three separate documents.

2) Watch Invoice Amounts

Amounts on invoices can provide clues that the invoice isn’t on the up-and-up. If your company requires additional review for invoices over $1,000 (for example), checks squeaking by right under that threshold (such as $999.98) should raise suspicion.

3) Keep Up Moral

Invoice fraud can come from inside the company or from an outside source. Happy employees are unlikely to commit fraud and more likely to catch fraud from outside sources. If they don’t have reason to complain, then they’re more likely to care about doing right by the company.

4) Check On Vendors

Fraudulent invoices are typically issued under fake business names or use a legitimate name but a fake address or bank account number. You’ll want to look up any new vendors to make sure they’re legitimate and find the address on Google maps. If the address is residential or a post-office box, that’s a big red-flag. Also, check-in with your existing vendors directly if their account information changes.

5) Track Invoice Activity

If you’re tracking invoice activity, you’ll be able to notice when something changes. For example, one vendor typically submits 5 to 10 invoices a month and suddenly you see 50 from them in a single month. It might be legitimate, but you’ll still want to get in touch with them and double-check.

6) Implement “Fuzzy Matching”

Duplicate payments are one way to commit invoice fraud – fraudsters submit a near-perfect copy of a legitimate invoice and hope no one notices one payment is going to a different account number. Sometimes they’ll also change date, invoice number, or amount. You’ll need a program that allows for “fuzzy matching” to catch near-duplicates as well as identical invoices.

7) Employ Automation

Automation in the AP department gives you the tools you need to more effectively implement all these other tips for preventing fraud. It’s probably the single most important step you can take to stop invoice fraud.

With NextProcess’ AP Automation Software, you instantly get detailed insight into everyday invoice processing. Our software automates invoice processing according to your custom specifications. It can catch many sorts of suspicious invoices on its own and gives you the tools you need to more easily track invoice activity and check on vendor information. On top of that, automation software is easy to use and frees up employees for more interesting work. It’s a win-win for the company and everyone in the AP department.

Additional resources for business accounting tips are available here.

 

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The Southbourne Tax Group: Adjustments After Nuptials – Tax Tips!

Posted by penningbeal16 on March 06, 2017
Tax / Comments Off

June had the reputation as being THE wedding month of the year and flowers were everywhere. Now it seems like wedding season goes from early spring to late summer. Whether they’re traditional with a bunch of flowers or have a Harry Potter theme, weddings strive to be a happy occasion for all parties involved and guests invited. They can also, however, be quite stressful! Between trying to plan a wedding, staying within budget, finding the perfect dress and finalizing plans, it can be an overwhelming task! Not to mention that two people’s lives are going to change, so it’s understandable that a few things might fall to the wayside.

While trying to choose the right flowers for the bouquet, which flavor of cake to have, and planning a seating chart, no one really has time to think about everything they need to do after festivities and honeymoon. Besides, who wants to think about name changing forms when a sandy beach with fruity drinks is calling their name? There’s other important things to do, too, like writing thank you notes and trying out all the new gadgets family and friends gave you.

When the fun dies down, though, we’re here to give all newlyweds a friendly reminder of tedious tasks to consider and or do once they’re married. So first things first! Some people really like the whole name change idea that is associated with getting married; you know, at some point we all tried out how our name would flow with some hottie we admired by scribbling it all over our school notebooks.

A new name can be exciting, but keep in mind that for tax purposes, your name, social security number and tax return all have to match. Therefore, take a few minutes to report your new name to the Social Security Administration and file a Form SS-5. Make sure you have a copy of your driver’s license or passport and your marriage certificate because you’ll need them. Lastly, the SSA will take about two weeks to process the name change so try not to make your name change too close to the tax season because data sharing between the IRS and the SSA can be problematic towards the end of the year.

Another tip to keep in mind is to make sure your address is up-to-date if you move after the nuptials. There are some types of federal and certified mail that the postal service won’t forward to a new address. Seems like a no brainer, but for newlyweds coming fresh off a honeymoon and go right into a big move, it can be easy to forget to notify the postal service. Further, report to your employer any name or address changes to make sure you receive your Form W-2 after the end of the year.

Now here’s the nitty gritty; filing a tax return after you’re married. The combined income for you and your spouse could potentially put you in a new tax bracket. If that’s the case, use the IRS Withholding Calculator to see if you need to file a new Form W-4 for your employer. Then, make sure you choose the right tax form to fill out. Being married, you’ll have enough deductions to itemize your return rather than take standard deductions. Finally, decide which filing status will be most beneficial for you.

For most married couples, there’s a lower tax liability for filing jointly, but the married filing separate option could be more beneficial. For instance, if your spouse has past debt with the IRS or another agency, filing separate will prevent any refund the spouse may get from being used to offset the debt. These little details are easy for anyone to overlook, but as they say, the devil is in the details. Making sure things like names changes and filing correctly are taken care of well before tax time will save you from of heck of a headache!

With all of that out of the way, enjoy the honeymoon period and enjoy being blissfully married!

Additional resources for business accounting tips are available here.

 

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