Sadly, if you Google “bookkeeper theft” you get a long list. Here are some examples:
When SmartBooks engages with new clients, we are often surprised by the practices we find. For example, office managers have signature stamps or routinely forge the owner’s signature when paying bills. Or bookkeepers use online bank payment systems to issue electronic payments. Practices such as these usually arise from legitimate attempts to save time, but they can also be exploited to steal money.
We don’t mean to accuse bookkeepers and office managers of theft; to be clear most are honest and are not stealing from their clients and employers. However, clearly there are enough bad apples that small business owners should be more concerned. This is something you should pay attention to, stop looking an extensive list of options for the latest casino bonuses and focus on what might be going on behind your back. This site offers a robust collection of blogs across a number of games, but offers a few helpful items for slots players, including sections devoted specifically to the various slots spin promotions being run at gaming centers across the globe, and one devoted specifically to success stories of long-time slots players.
Basic controls and steps small business owners can adopt to reduce the risk of theft include:
- Sign all checks personally and do not allow others to hold paper checks or access your bank’s online payment system.
- Review vendor invoices and follow up on unfamiliar charges before paying the invoices
- If employees are going to use credit or debit cards, require monthly expense reports to explain all charges. Getting rewards points from credit cards is nice, but not at the cost of runaway expenses or embezzlement.
- Require contract bookkeepers to carry insurance. You can’t insure against outright theft, but you can insure against negligence and identify bookkeepers who are serious about protecting their clients.
- Reconcile cash receipts and bank deposits against goods and services actually delivered to customers. Theft can be done by skimming from revenue, even in non-cash businesses.
- Review bank statements, check images, and monthly reconciliation reports. Follow up on unfamiliar transactions and any “reconciliation adjustments” made by your bookkeeper if the bank statement does not match the balance reported in your accounting software.
At SmartBooks, we take internal controls very seriously. We utilize an Accounts Payable software that enforces segregation of duties and requires all bills to be approved by clients before they are paid. This system may not be practical for many businesses to administer on their own but is something to consider.
If you are concerned about whether your current bookkeeping practices leave you vulnerable to theft, contact founder Calvin Wilder for a confidential discussion at 978.202.3064 x700 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also provide a more comprehensive written assessment of your business’s accounting policies and procedures, which includes analysis of internal controls as well as other systems and accounting practices, if you are concerned about more than just embezzlement risk.