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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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employee fraud

Common anti-fraud controls ineffective at preventing and detecting fraud

A “typical” business can lose five percent of its revenue to fraud according to a recent global fraud study. And organizations are lucky if they detect the fraud at all. Most businesses find out about fraud from a tip, not from strong internal controls.

 

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Using internal control to prevent fraud

Anti-fraud controls mainly apply to the general area of accounting (purchasing, revenue, payroll, banking and treasury, inventory, assets, etc.), but they will also involve many specific areas of operations, such as sales, payments, expenses, receivables, travel, suppliers, taxes, promotions and much more.

 

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What are you doing about employee fraud?

Some cynical people believe that no organization is free from employee fraud. Even small organizations are hardly immune, despite the trust such employers place in their employees and the controls they have in place. Consider these common misconceptions about employee fraud…

 

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The new fraud: where is it coming from and what does it mean?

Businesses can be the target of fraud in numerous ways and from numerous sources. Anyone who does business with an organization is an obvious risk—suppliers, clients, employees, executives—the high profile fraud cases of recent years have mainly been internal. But increasingly, fraudsters have no connection to the organizations they target. They may be after credit card numbers, personal information, cash or goods, and they’re using methods beyond the understanding of the average businessperson. Organizations that do a significant amount of business online must be particularly careful.

 

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Managing fraud risk

Reducing the risk of fraud from both external and internal sources is something that all businesses have to consider at some time, or continually, depending on the owner’s approach and taste for living on the edge. But seriously, fraud is a serious problem that can damage or even destroy a business, particularly small and medium ones, which can’t afford the potential losses.

 

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Employee expense fraud

Employee fraud is on the rise, as organizations cut back on staff, and their internal controls slacken as a result. However, the monetary loss is just the beginning of the problem. A recent white paper from Grant Thornton LLP notes that, “Failure to crack down on this unethical—and indeed criminal—behaviour blurs the line between right and wrong. It creates a culture of entitlement that can extend across the business. And it can open the door to more significant corporate theft.”

 

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What to do about employee theft

Have you experienced theft at your business? Who did it—an outsider, a new hire or the long-term employee you’d never have suspected? It could be any of them, and you shouldn’t be surprised if it’s the latter.

 

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