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Identifying Fraud to Protect Your Business

Melodee Papke, CPA
December 14, 2022

Small business owners often wear many hats, but the need to scale eventually prompts the need to delegate certain roles and functions. Not every entrepreneur or business owner is a financial wizard, and the business’s accounting functions are often the first things to get moved off the owner’s plate. However, with that comes inherent risk.

Small businesses typically have a much higher rate of being affected by fraud than large organizations. Corporations have more resources to maintain levels of administrative protection and technological securities. Small departments often have little oversight, and informal practices can make fraud more difficult to identify.

Today, let’s take a look at where small businesses are most at risk and how to avoid potential employee abuse or fraud.

Get a Second Pair of Eyes on Your Books

Make sure no single employee has too much control. Business owners should create segregated functions in creating invoices, managing cash, paying vendors and tracking transactions. This limits the opportunity and ability to misappropriate funds. In addition, implement a well-defined internal controls policy that makes employees operate under a system of checks and balances. With separation of duties and measures of approval in place, business owners are less vulnerable to fraud.

Make Technology a Resource

The ability to collect and analyze data is critical to identifying patterns and anomalies that can flag potential fraud. Electronic bank statements are hard to manipulate and, thus, should be reviewed frequently. This means looking for out of order checks, unknown recipients, or anomalous amounts. With PakEnergy, the leading oil and gas accounting software we use, creating and defining triggering alerts is a good first line of defense against deterring fraud.

Work With a Professional External Team

Outsourced back office accounting teams consist of highly trained and experienced staff. An impartial third-party will ask the tough questions and shed light on discrepancies. Like many outsourced financial teams, we have a deep commitment to financial ethics and business best practices. We not only take care of bookkeeping needs for your business; we provide administrative oversight and a fresh set of eyes reviewing your data.

Planning for fraud prevention shouldn’t overwhelm a business owner and consume all of their time with what-ifs. Our team works under clear separation of duties, and preserves strict routing, approval processes, and procedures. We will reconcile your cash to ensure that you keep every dollar you earn. With your time at a premium, you can rest knowing that your information and financial well-being is in good hands.

Want to continue the conversation?  Call our team or send us an email! Want to read more insights from PetroLedger? Check out our blog!

Melodee Papke, CPA
Vice President of Human Resources

BBA degree with accounting focus from Northeastern State University. More than 25 years of oil and gas accounting experience and management. Significant work with private equity backed companies preparing and coordinating both transactional and reporting functions of accounting and finance.

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