1. Payroll fraud.
Payroll fraud occurs in 27 percent of all businesses and twice as frequently in small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) than larger ones. Owners must gain a working knowledge of the payroll system and enforce accountability among book keepers in their monthly reports. Since payroll complexities significantly increase as a company grows, especially if overtime is a factor, owners have to maintain consistent scrutiny.
2. Cash theft.
Cash has a funny way of disappearing in a small businesses. Whether through skimming (when an employee takes cash that hasn’t been reported into the accounting system), larceny (when an employee takes cash that has been reported) or fraudulent disbursement (when an employee releases funds that haven’t been authorized by the owner), cash theft creates a negatively cumulative impact on the bottom line. From the outset of setting up a business, an owner needs a streamlined cash monitoring process, both for an effective financial process and also to maintain essential supervision of cash within the business.
3. Online banking.
The increased popularity of online banking has also increased the likelihood that funds could be transferred to erroneous accounts. Owners should schedule regular meetings with the accounts team to monitor all transferred money. Cybercrime has never been more sophisticated, and small business owners need to arm themselves with updated information on threats to respond accordingly with their relevant financial institution.
4. False invoicing.
Business owners must have basic oversight over every vendor in her business because false invoicing is an increasingly popular fraud method. It often strikes when an employee creates false suppliers or when he pays a legitimate supplier and diverts the cash into an alternative account.
5. Invoice email.
This scam often involves perpetrators who pose as legitimate suppliers and advise changes to existing payment arrangements. The fraud may not be detected until it’s too late — when the business is alerted by complaints from suppliers that payments were not received. Regular account check-ins can help guard against business owners falling victim to this type of fraud.
Small businesses that have reported fraud suffered a median loss of $150,000. That kind of hit can break a business. While successful owners must surround themselves with an exceptional team, they also need to firmly control their financial processes. The trap that many owners fall into is over-relying on delegation, particularly during periods of expansion. When owners are too hands-off with business financials, the potential for fraud and detrimental loss rises.