Thursday, June 10, 2010

Internal controls for fraud and error prevention

How are you managing your business finances? Many business owners are discovering that their assets are not as well protected as they thought. This is especially true in small business environments where a single employee manages all the finances. Often there are no checks and balances to verify that transactions are accurate.

Fraud frequently increases in a slowed economy as financial pressures grow and fewer people are asked to do more work. Pay cuts and other compensation reductions can leave some employees feeling entitled to more.

When proper, consistent procedures are not in place, employees can learn to manipulate the accounting system to their benefit. Whether they take money from the company or their mistakes are undiscovered, the end result can greatly impact your company’s management discussions, financial reports, and tax filings.

Unfortunately, once your financial records have been altered, discovering problems is extremely difficult. Most standard accounting practices are not designed to uncover internal problems such as embezzlement.

Therefore, the best way to safeguard your company’s assets is to recognize and improve weaknesses in your internal procedures.

I’ll write about some of these business practices over the next few posts.

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