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The Southbourne Tax Group: 10 Essential Tips for Preventing Corporate Fraud

Posted by penningbeal16 on January 27, 2017
Finance / Comments Off

Small businesses are often targets of fraud. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), small and midsize companies suffer a greater share of fraud losses than do larger companies.

Fraud Prevention Program

Experts estimate that companies lose five to six per cent of their annual revenue to fraud, so a comprehensive fraud prevention program is essential. This consists of three things:

• education

• investigation

• proactive prevention

Employees are the most likely to report misdeeds, so you want to give them the knowledge to help the company as an integral part of your fraud prevention program. And while fraud prevention efforts are designed to stop employee fraud, investigations of suspected fraud should deter other employees from committing fraud.

The bulk of your company’s fraud prevention efforts should be focused on the creation and implementation of proactive preventive techniques, including internal controls, policies, and procedures that are specifically designed to prevent fraud.

10 Ways to Prevent Fraud

One of the best ways to develop policies and procedures that are effective in prevention corporate fraud is with the assistance of an experienced anti-fraud professional who has investigated hundreds of frauds to develop the most relevant and most effective anti-fraud controls including:

• Establish clear and easy to understand standards from the top down. Have an employee manual that clearly outlines these standards and keeps the rules from becoming arbitrary.

• Always check references and perform background checks that include employment, credit, licensing and criminal history for all new hires.

• Secure physical assets, access to data, and money at all levels including monitoring and using pre-numbered checks, keep checks locked up, have a “voided check” procedure and never sign blank checks. Review all disbursements regularly.

• Segregation of duties of employees. Divide activities so one employee doesn’t have too much control over an area or duty. Separate important accounting and account payable functions. Small-business owners and managers should review every payroll check personally. The person who has custody of the checks should never have check signing authority. The person opening the mail should not record the receivables and reconcile the accounts.

• Proper authorization of transactions, ensuring that employees aren’t exceeding their authority.

• Independent checks on performance, using audits, surprise check-ups, inventory counts, or other procedures to verify compliance with policies and procedures, as well as accuracy.

• Instill an anonymous reporting mechanism, such as an employee fraud hotline.

• Small-business owners should control who first receives the bank statements and other sensitive documents. Consider a separate post office box for the purpose of receiving bank statements, customer receipts or any other sensitive documents.

• All account reconciliations and general ledger balances should have an independent review by a person outside the responsibility area such as an outside accountant. This allows for reviews, better ensuring nothing is amiss and providing a deterrent for fraudulent activities.

• Conduct annual audits to motivate all bookkeeping-related staff to keep things honest because they can never be sure what questions an auditor is going to ask or what documents an auditor may request to review.

While no company, even with the strongest internal controls, is completely protected from fraud, strengthening internal control policies, processes and procedures will go a long way towards making your company a less attractive target to both internal and external criminals.

 

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The Southbourne Tax Group: How to Spot a Financial Accounting Fraud

Posted by penningbeal16 on January 23, 2017
Finance / Comments Off

Here are some signs of a possible dishonest employee:

1. Never wants to take a vacation.

There’s a reason, and it’s not workaholism. Bookkeepers behaving badly like to be in a position to intercept phone calls and correspondence. And as for the boss rifling through their desk to find something when they’re out of the office — that would be unbearable, of course!

2. Always has more work to do than can possibly get finished during normal working hours

So much, in fact, that they have to stay after everyone else goes home. Or, if you’ll let them, they like to take the work home. This might not be the loyalty you expect: unsupervised work lets the bookkeeper tamper with records with less chance of discovery.

3. A tattletale. Likes to point out incompetence of other employees.

Pointing fingers at others puts an alibi in place, should you discover something amiss. Dan doesn’t collect all his accounts. The deposit seemed too small? (It’s Dan). Sharon hangs around the office when she doesn’t belong there. There is postage missing? (Could be Sharon) Linda is disorganized. Why is this letter misfiled? (Linda is sloppy) Maybe the bookkeeper deposited some of Dan’s deposit in her own account, and also purloined the postage. Linda’s letter might be misfiled because the bookkeeper didn’t want an auditor to see it.

4. Volunteers to take care of details that should be handled by the principals — helping by picking up signature cards when you open a new bank account, for example.

The more details the bookkeeper handles, the more opportunity for sticky fingers, and the easier it is to cover things up.

5. Likes to pick up the mail, even if it makes more sense for a lower-level employee to take on that task.

The mail is both tempting and frightening to employees who steal. Checks come in the mail. So do unexpected notices that might tip you off to their theft.

6. Acts like bookkeeping tasks are as difficult as brain surgery, and twice as complex.

I dump any bookkeeper who can’t explain things to me in terms I can understand. That goes double for accountants who respond to my nosy questions by taking offense. –She acts like she doesn’t TRUST me!– Yes. When they guilt trip you, watch your back.

7. Tells little fibs, perhaps unrelated to accounting

Little lies tell big stories about people’s character.

8. Seems to feel that the company owes something; as if he has done more than could be expected of any reasonable person

In fact, most employees who take things really DO believe the company owes it to them. They may start by …well, borrowing… then justify turning it into a theft by deciding you don’t pay them enough.

9. Prints in precise, tidy letters, but can’t seem to find things when you ask; shuffles some things into messy little piles.

Aha! This is a really good tip-off. People’s habits aren’t usually so schizo — they are either consistently messy or compulsively tidy. Accountants, more often than not, fall into the tidy category. If you’ve got one that’s tidy and messy at the same time, start spot-checking everything that looks messy.

10. Volunteers to take the following things off your busy shoulders:

1) Interfacing with auditors 2) personally making the police report if an item turns up missing 3) IRS correspondence.

 

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The Southbourne Tax Group

Posted by penningbeal16 on January 19, 2017
Uncategorized / Comments Off

We provide a wide selection of small enterprise accounting services, including tax services for businesses and individuals.

WHAT WE DO?

Who We Are?

We take this opportunity to get to know our staff as well as our company’s values even prior to meeting us. The following pages will provide an overview of what we are all about. Have a great time reading!

Employment

The Southbourne Tax Group, invites diligent, professional accounting & tax experts with a minimum of four years of experience, including knowledgeable administrative managers with at least three years of experience.

Services

As an owner of a small business, have many other valuable needs other than maintaining your accounting books. Our firm takes care of your bookkeeping to allow you to focus on running your company and producing income.

Welcome to The Southbourne Tax Group

The Southbourne Tax Group is a complete-package Accounting & Tax company. We provide a wide selection of small enterprise accounting services, including tax services for businesses and individuals. Our services also include outsourced CFO support, bookkeeping support, local and remote service, payroll processing, QuickBooks support and many more! Our rates are reasonable and you get friendly service from our professional staff.

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