Fraud is a financial iceberg. Although some of the direct losses are plainly visible, there is a huge mass of danger hidden below the surface. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) considers fraud a major threat to small businesses: "Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to fraud because they lack the resources to implement complete systems of internal controls and properly segregate accounting duties among their limited staffs. Therefore, accounting personnel may be tasked with completely inappropriate job functions that provide easy opportunities for committing financial frauds. Furthermore, the business cultures of small businesses are developed around a concept of a "trusted family" of employees. Consequently, placing trusted employees in positions without proper internal controls doesn't appear to be an unreasonable decision to managers of a "family" business" (ACFE 2014).
Limited resources. People taking on responsibilities beyond their positions. A culture of trust and feeling like family. Or this: Employees with accounting responsibilities who have college degrees and have worked for you for one to five years. Does any of that sound familiar? If so, it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's something to be aware of. You cannot protect your business assets unless you understand the very real threats to them.
According to the ACFE's 2014 Report to the Nations, small businesses (like yours) are the most common victims of fraud, with median losses in 2014 of $154,000. It doesn't... Read More