Fraud is not limited to the Bernie Madoff’s of the world. Because of the recession, it should come to no surprise to learn that financial problems are more likely to lead to more fraud.
Fraud is a huge problem. According to the Association of Fraud Examiners 2008 report on occupational fraud and abuse, companies lose 7 percent of annual revenue due to this problem. The report also indicates that small businesses are more likely to be victimsthan large companies.
Small businesses are having more difficulty with fraud not only because employees have an increased workload, but also because they have less resources to stop it.
Generally fraud occurs in four primary areas. I will provide a brief overview and let you know of ways that you can help limit your company from being a victim.
Altered checks is a major problem for businesses. What out for mistakes from payroll companies and bookkeepers.
- limit the use of rubber stamps
- have an outside accountant check your books monthly
Fraud to order
Employees can make fake orders. Check inventory to see if anything is missing.
- Conduct surprise audits
- limit access to cash
- install security cameras
Encourage employees to report Fraud
According the ACFE study, most fraud was uncovered by co-workers.
- Encourage tips and make sure they reach you.
- Make it easy for an employee to report the problem anonymously.
This fraud is especially prevelent in the construction industry. A foreman on a construction site mays say has ten employees and he really has 9. He collects the 10th paycheck for himself. You can avoid this by:
- handing paycheck personally
- create a computer program to detect missing hours.
If you or your company is a victim of fraud, contact me at the Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson at 212-233-0666.