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Inside Internal Controls

News and discussion on implementing risk management

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Finance and Accounting PolicyPro

Internal audit: Essential to minimizing risk

Managing risk in today’s business environment has become a far more complex process than it ever has been. This can be attributed to a number of factors, such as increased government regulation and cyber-based issues. Other factors include uncertain political and economic situations that can arise, sustainable development and environmental concerns. These issues can have a substantial impact on small, medium and large organizations.

 

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Winning with electronic funds transfer

A business in a recent Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) hearing had a close call, which highlights one of the practical benefits of using electronic funds transfer for customer receipts.

 

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Refresher on financial statistics and metrics

Insufficient data analysis is often caused by too much information, not too little. A few well chosen statistics that highlight critical trends and pinpoint areas that require follow-up may be much more useful…

 

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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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Generally accepted accounting principles for interim reporting

In many small and even medium-sized companies, financial reporting during the year does not include all of the adjustments made at the year-end (often in connection with the audit or review of the annual financial statements by an independent professional accountant).

 

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Industry Canada announces effective dates of anti-spam legislation

After three years of waiting, Industry Canada has finalized the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations and set a date for Canada’s anti-spam legislation to come into force. Canada’s anti-spam legislation will be phased in over four years starting July 1, 2014—seven short months from now.

 

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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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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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First Reference author and collaborator Jeffrey Sherman named Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants

Jeffrey D. Sherman is the lead author of all four volumes of First Reference’s Internal Controls Library: Finance and Accounting PolicyPro (including Operations and Marketing PolicyPro), Information Technology PolicyPro and Not-for-Profit PolicyPro. While we knew our internal control publications were in good hands before, we don’t mind saying we’re especially proud to have Jeffrey’s name on them now.

 

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Do you offer ‘paperless receipts’?

If you do, you should make sure you understand the privacy and personal information implications. CTV reports that some Canadian retailers are now offering their customers an “e-receipt”, which they can receive by email or access at dedicated websites. Sure, it’s a “green” option, and maybe more convenient for customers who want to track their purchases, but it requires the customer to provide an email address, which might allow retailers to “learn a lot about a customer’s preferences and buying habits”.

 

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A new age of records retention: good policy more than worth the effort

There are a number of potentially troublesome issues associated with retaining records. For example: there are storage and privacy concerns; organizations must ensure they keep records secure in accordance with relevant privacy laws. At the same time, organizations might not have considered the self-incriminating information that records might hold, and they will want to ensure they don’t keep potentially incriminating records any longer than the law requires.

 

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Online security – not just for big business

Surely you’ve heard about the major security and data breaches that Sony has experienced this year. It’s bad. It’s a liability. Despite the popularity of their online services, they’ll have to work hard to regain customers’ loyalty. Other big names have experienced similar attacks.

 

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Canadian charity law checklist features compliance issues

Charity and non-profit lawyer Mark Blumberg offers a compliance checklist for Canadian charities via the GlobalPhilanthropy.ca charity assistance project.

 

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Do you report your EFTs to FINTRAC?

Chances are you’re no stranger to electronic funds transfers. Broadly speaking, an EFT can mean any type of standard non-paper payment, including debit and credit card payments, email or wire money transfers (both domestic and international) and direct payroll deposits. Most organizations handle at least some of these transactions every day. The key question for businesses is: How do you keep track of these electronic transfers and, if necessary, register them with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada?

 

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