Every year, many organizations experience business fraud which results in a considerable amount of financial loss. Unfortunately, small-scale companies and startups are more susceptible to these threats. The continuous technological advancements and the transformation of the world into a digital realm have made fraudulent practices more sophisticated.
These frauds can range from complex to highly complicated ones depending on the tools used by the criminals.
Financial fraud refers to an act or an attempt to commit scams and illegal actions, either for personal gain or the loss of an organization. It is relevant to note that it can be anyone behind nefarious activities, such as own workforce, business partners, vendors, or customers.
Today, business fraud has become such a colossal problem that it can completely ruin a company’s image. Therefore, companies should develop a robust anti-fraud architecture and stringent policies to fight fraud activities.
There is no single bullet when it comes to the fraud detection and prevention strategy. However, the article offers insights on how to get rid of the loopholes and detect frauds by the following prevention tactics:
1. Know your suppliers
It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and run background checks on your suppliers to spot any illegal activity. For instance, if you own a construction company, you probably must work alongside different contractors to supply you with building materials.
However, it can spell severe consequences if a supplier keeps you in the dark and tricks you by providing spoofed material. Although you can’t make up for the loss, you will most likely look out for lawyers to fight for the rightful compensation since you value your employees.
And if this incident occurred in the capital city of the US state – California, Google the term lawyers for personal injury Sacramento to find the best and reliable ones.
These lawyers can help file claim on behalf of the company and fight for your employee’s financial loss and medical compensation. However, to avoid such situations, ensure to use a risk-based approach when working with third parties.
2. Conduct frequent audits
Companies should make it a routine practice to conduct audits of various facets of the business. Operations such as cash returns, inventory management, product stock, and accounts are areas with high fraud risks.
A non-programmed and occasional audit can spot any business transaction that may seem fraudulent. One of the best approaches is to leverage the ACFE Fraud Prevention Check-up tool to figure the risk threshold. That way, organizations can reduce the level of risk and the duration of fraud if it occurs.
In some instances, management and senior executives are the ones that commit unethical activities. It may be because the managers might feel the burden of meeting the financial goals and maintaining its financial health.
Nevertheless, to avoid the involvement of the upper management in illegal practices, companies should hire an external auditor. An independent party will conduct an audit without any biases and inspect financial statements. In addition, an outside party examination will discourage the employees from committing fraud and present incorrect information.
3. Educate your employees
Some organizations out there, which are a part of fraudulent practices, offer massive inducements to the workers to overlook the frauds. Regrettably, these types of techniques work and cause huge losses. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, frauds perpetrated by owners cause an average loss of $600,000 in the year 2020.
Therefore, organizations should promote a culture of confidence and positiveness among the staff members. Employees should feel free to voice out their opinions if they suspect any dubious and dishonest activity in the company.
Even better, companies should offer incentives to the whistleblowers, such as job security or any other reward. Besides, training programs initiated by the company can enable the employees to combat such frauds.
The anti-fraud training should comprise the awareness of different scams, the latest techniques, and the strategies to prevent them. Or better yet, companies can introduce hotlines for this purpose.
4. Hire the right people
While organizations should educate employees and impose anti-retaliation policies, it’s equally important, if not more, to hire the right workforce. Therefore, organize a proper recruiting procedure to hire employees.
Validate the data and cross-check the details of every worker, especially the ones working in accounts and finance departments. Once you have decided to hire workers, don’t forget to check their social media accounts for inappropriate behavior, such as intense resentment and hostility about previous organizations.
And while this may sound unreasonable, employees who often perpetrate financial fraud are generally the ones most appreciated by the personnel and executives. These people go the extra mile and work long hours to gain trust and make a positive impression.
Unfortunately, due to this, such people manage different responsibilities with almost little to no supervision. Similarly, employees going through personal life problems and financial crises give in to the temptation of committing fraud.
Therefore, organizations should keep an eye out for such employees to prevent any chance of fraudulent activities.
5. Integrate internal controls
Internal controls are a series of steps that every organization must take to keep its finances and valuable assets safe. These steps might include limiting unauthorized access to expense reimbursements, inventory data, financial statements, business accounts, and payroll functions.
In addition, make documentation a fundamental part of business operations. For example, every document and transaction must get endorsed by senior executives for the authentication of receipts. Moreover, companies can deploy a procurement system that records different quotations for a specific amount of dollar.
Or, companies can exploit the services of software to record every expense and business procedure. However, it would be best to keep the systems updated according to the organization’s newest trends, techniques, and needs.
Companies shouldn’t disclose the details of these internal systems; however, they can announce to the employees about various controls that they have incorporated to prevent loss.
Business owners are usually vigilant about blatant red flags; however, they remain oblivious of not-so-apparent thefts most of the time. These fraudulent activities in organizations can ultimately lead to massive monetary loss, unflattering reputation, and negative notoriety.
Therefore, it’s indispensable for business professionals to keep up with the latest fraud trends and patterns. Not only this, but employees should also buckle down, notice vulnerabilities, and report any concerning changes.
Furthermore, integrating multidimensional prevention strategies can help the organizations overcome, if not eliminate, the financial frauds and build a robust corporate culture. That way, companies can identify suspicious activities and take necessary actions beforehand to prevent the damage.