With one study showing that business losses are most prevalent in companies of less than 100 employees (2012 Report to the Nations; Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) and another report indicating that a majority of fraud comes from within and can be highly contributed to company complacency against fraud prevention (Global Fraud Report 2012; Kroll Advisory Solutions), we should have nothing but the strongest motivations to improve our home-front business security.
Your Anti-Fraud Manual
Did you realize that your Standard Operating Manual (SOP) is an integral portion of the checks & balances within your organization?
Audit your own procedures
Establishing a complete procedural manual, forces you to review the line-by-line process in each service or transaction of your company. This enables you with a much stronger awareness of critical steps that, if missed, could lead to missing or alterable charges and payments (as well as any other client, customer, patient care issue). Aside from a smoother flow in operations, higher detail in procedural outlines minimizes the opportunity for confusion and missed documenting of services, retail and transactions. As a result, a thorough Standard Operating Procedure also reduces the risk to internal fraudulent activity.
Remember: the more that is recorded, the less that can be hidden.
Assign personnel access levels
Procedures should also identify the responsible or authorized parties for each task described. All transactions must be recorded in some manner, with computer and industry-specific software programs greatly enhancing today’s ability to monitor and track transactions. Most programs can limit staff access to various levels of undertakings with special passwords or codes. Use them!
Unfortunately, whether training a new employee or using shared computers/drawers or any number of other conjured reasons, many employees tend to reveal their codes to unauthorized persons. When providing access levels, remain clear and firm as to who can do what. Maintaining separate task responsibilities lessens the chances for miscommunications, confusion, and muddied transactions – all components that enable fraud.
Everyone should maintain their own transaction identity
Establish checks & balances
Remember to define your policies if transactions are not balancing or employees suspect foul play. Including safety features (such as multi-staff checks and balances, periodic drawer and inventory counts, signed off check-lists to accompany close-day processes and outlined deposits) greatly alleviates opportunities for mistakes or falsifications to carry over.
Whether to verify against unintentional mistakes or purposeful covert actions, let your SOP delineate at least two parties to spot check random transactions and reports. This is critical for the business financial safety.
Never leave transactions, accounts, and reports to be overseen by only one individual.
Remember, processes get stale. Routinely, refresh your policies and procedures manual to apply to current processes and programs. And…be sure to thoroughly train and routinely hold the appropriate team members to the policies as they pertain to them.
Reduce your exposure to fraud – be proactive, be aware.