Accountants are very special people. They are the doctors of every organization. They know when things are doing well and when they are going down under. Unfortunately they could also be the reason why a company is going down under. You need to keep a close eye on your financial records and there are signs that cannot be ignored.
Have you noticed your finances reducing? Have you noticed that something wasn’t quite right with your finances. Do you think your accountant is stealing money? How do you know if you accountant is stealing money and if they are how can you protect your account?
No matter what you should know your companies finances. Sadly, it is a problem in today’s world that accountant’s are stealing money from their companies. They can steal money easily since you aren’t in control of the day to day finances. You should know some ways on how to protect your account.
We need accountants, not every business person is good with numbers. There are things they ought to do but some things are off limits.
This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, but if any of this rings true for you, run – don’t walk – to your nearest CPA.
You don’t have access to your accounting system. Why on earth would you give someone full control of your finances without maintaining access yourself so you can review their work from time-to-time? These are your records and, I believe, your company’s property, so don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot have access to your accounting system.
Your bookkeeper gets defensive when you start asking questions or requesting information. If you ask to see a profit & loss statement, a bank detail report, or any type of banking or financial document and you get an attitude in response, this is a red flag. No one should be so protective of his or her work that you cannot review it. If you are met with such resistance, the reason is probably because your books are a complete mess and the bookkeeper does not want to get fired. This goes back to #1. You should not even have to ask; you should have full access to your records at all times.
Your bookkeeper does not prepare bank and credit card reconciliations. This is one of the most basic bookkeeping tasks for any business. Why? Because it is your checks-and-balance system. It is the way you know if you have everything in your financial system that should be there – nothing more or less. These reconciliations should be done monthly, and I advise you get copies of them. This shows your cleared and outstanding checks, deposits and all other transactions, providing a great snapshot of your business transactions.
Since now you know what an accountant can do intentionally or by accident there are signs that you should know. These are quite blatant and if you turn a blind eye then you have no one else to blame but yourself.
Here are just some of the internal controls King recommends business owners adopt to protect against theft.
1. Open the bank statement yourself.
Review each check for authorized payee, signature and approved electronic payments before handing it over to the bookkeeper.
2. Don’t let your bookkeeper reconcile the bank account.
The person paying the bills should not reconcile the account – that’s how embezzlers cover their tracks.
3. Close the prior period.
Once you produce a financial statement, that period should be closed to reduce risk of hiding a fraudulent transaction in a prior year.
4. Attach scanned images to each transaction.
Most fraud occurs through check tampering, where the bookkeeper changes the payee to him or herself.