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Approving Purchasing Card Transactions

Fraud Prevention Tip #38: Approving Purchasing Card Transactions – Good Questions to Ask

The use of Purchasing cards or P-Cards for small dollar transactions makes a lot of sense. The cost per transaction is significantly less than that incurred when a requisition, purchase order, invoice and check payment takes place. But with the convenience of P-Cards comes an elevated risk of abuse and fraud.

Compounding the risk is the fact that many organizations train employees in the proper use of P-Cards, but very few teach new supervisors how to review this activity. The flawed belief is that if you know the rules of using P-Cards, then of course you know how to review transactions submitted by subordinates.

Here is a long list of example questions to ask yourself when reviewing P-Card transactions. Create a shorter list that better reflects your business culture and exposures, and keep it handy the next time you review these purchases. Share your list with others in your work group or in an article for all employees.

1. What is the business purpose of the charge? Is it reasonable for the person making the claim?
2. Are original receipts or other support attached for every item claimed (as required by policy)?
3. Is the expense allowable under organization policies?
4. Are the costs claimed ‘reasonable’ considering organization culture, policy, locations?
5. Does the receipt show the name, address and phone number of the vendor?
6. Were any costs split to avoid the allowable maximum?
7. Would this type of purchase normally require the issuance of a Purchase Order?
8. Could the item purchased be used in the home? If so, verify location of item.
9. Was the purchase date or time unusual – for example weekends, evenings or just prior to a holiday?
10. Was the quantity purchased reasonable?
11. Was the item returned for store credit?
12. Is P-Card spending in line with supervisor expectations and budget?
13. Does the purchase location make sense?
14. Where appropriate, verify that the place of business actually exists (for example, call the phone number printed on the receipt or search for their website).
15. If the charge is unfamiliar, consider entering SKU codes from receipts into the website of the vendor (for example, Home Depot.com).
16. For fuel purchases, review total charges over a period of several weeks or months. Compare to vehicle mileage.
17. Find what was purchased. Verify existence and business purpose.
18. When month-end control reports are received, perform a one-to-one match of every item on the control report back to original receipts.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

dress for success

Dressing for Success at Your Next Interview

Many business organizations have pushed aside formal dress codes, allowing for more relaxed work environments. But when preparing for an important interview, it’s always safest to assume that you should dress in a traditional, professional manner.

Here are some of my simplest tips for dressing to impress:

1) When in doubt, go conservative.

If you ever are on the edge as to whether or not clothing, jewelry or hairstyle selections are appropriate for an interview, it’s just plain safer to lean toward the more conservative choice. It’s better to be more formal than dress for successinformal – safer to be old-fashioned than outlandish. This might seem boring, but it’s your best bet. Show the potential employer the respect they deserve by dressing up. And if you find that they allow a more relaxed dress code, you can always adjust after you’ve landed the job.

2) Stick to solid colors.

In most cases, clothing colors shouldn’t be overly bright or flashy. Again, err on the side of conservatism. Certain colors and patterns may stick out too much or clash with the interviewer or organization’s ‘style’.

3) Be mindful of your hygiene.

Make sure your hair is tidy, your nails are trimmed, you’re freshly showered, and your shoes are shined. The last thing you want is to go into an important interview looking like you just rolled out of bed or came straight from the gym. First impressions are fairly or unfairly based very heavily on your appearance, so it’s important that you prepare yourself in this way. Don’t give them any reason to doubt your abilities or attention to detail.

4) Go light on the scents.

If you normally wear perfume, cologne or aftershave, make sure that you don’t go overboard. If you use too much, it could overwhelm the employer and make for an uncomfortable interview. You want their focus to be entirely on the interaction with you. This is not a time for distraction. Everyone reacts differently to perfume and cologne. Assume that your favorite scent may have a negative effect on others. When in doubt, leave it on the shelf or in your purse.

5) Make sure your clothes fit and are ready to go.

I can understand and appreciate that you might not wear your formal interview clothes very often, but at least try them on ion advance of the big day and make sure they fit properly. Especially if you have had recent weight change – which the stress of a job search can often cause. Knowing that you look your best is important both for your confidence and your comfort throughout the interview. Make sure you look as great as you are.

Follow these five common sense tips, and you look your best at your next interview.

It can’t hurt and may very well help.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.

Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

battle plan for auditors

How to Be Productive With Your Job Hunt

There’s no getting around it: hunting for jobs is a pain. It’s time consuming, stressful and occasionally disheartening. Worst of all, it’s easy to lose focus, potentially keeping you unemployed for even longer.

However, there are certain steps you can take to be more productive with your job hunt and avoid losing focus. You’ve probably heard this before, but just in case: when you’re unemployed and searching for a job, you need to think of your job search as your full-time job. Treating your search this way makes it much more likely to yield results.

Here are some tips that you should consider:

  • Plan out your days. Just as you would with an average work day, plan out what your days look like while on the job hunt. You might reserve certain days for networking sessions, or set aside blocks of hours looking job huntingfor jobs online. You should also reserve time to tweak your resume, fill out applications, write letters, etc. Stay organized with your planning so that you start to get yourself into a routine; that makes it much easier to stay focused.
  • Track everything. Keep a thorough spreadsheet of all your job seeking activities. Track the jobs that you’ve applied for, when you applied for them, who your contact person was and when you followed up. You should also track all of the networking contacts you’ve made and when you had correspondence with them. Update this spreadsheet regularly to make sure that you’re staying organized.
  • Take advantage of technology. Use social networking or job hunting sites to your advantage. Many of them even have email alert systems when jobs that match your searches or your qualifications show up. You can get alerts as soon as listings are posted, so you can have an inside track on applications.
  • Revise your resume and cover letter for each application. You won’t find great results if you use the same generic resume and cover letter for every position you pursue. Research the target organization and what they’re looking for in an applicant so you have a better understanding of how to frame your application materials.
  • Keep your schedule arranged like you would at work. Get up early, stay well groomed and dressed, take lunch breaks and call an end to your job hunting activities by a certain time of the day. This will make your transition into your eventual new job a lot easier, and also keep you more productive during your search.

Getting that important work position is critical. Take these and other steps that each increase the probability of a successful pursuit. Good hunting!

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.

Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

take a hike

Ever Been Told to ‘Take A Hike’?

On January 1, my wife Kris and I decided to take simple steps (literally) each day towards a wellness goal we share. That is, we’re walking a minimum of one mile every day for this entire year.

365 miles minimum. One year.

That’s just about the distance between Boston and Baltimore for you US east coasters, or from San Francisco to Los Angeles in California (if you stay inland and walk down Interstate 5 – which is DEFINITELY not advised!).

Now, if you were to tell me to start walking in Boston and not stop until I hit the suburbs of Baltimore, I’d probably tell you to ‘go take a hike!’

But instead, if you asked me to walk just one mile each day – which takes me just under 20 minutes – for one year to accomplish the same extraordinary goal, well them I’m all in.

In fact, many days Kris and I find time to walk quite a bit more once we get started. And we’re tracking our results. Being the two CPA nerds that we are, we built a basic Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to track our progress. Today is Memorial Day in the US – May 26 this year. That’s day 146 according to my spreadsheet. And so far we’ve walked 158 miles (including today’s two miles right after breakfast). So I guess I’m almost halfway to Baltimore or LA. And I know that as the summer weather gets even better, our numbers will improve as well.

Of course walking to get your heart rate up a little bit is good for you. But I’ve found another benefit that I really didn’t see coming.

Like many of you, I work very long hours. Often as many as 70 hours a week.

That’s just the nature of being self-employed and pursuing work that I love. I also travel a lot for both business and personal reasons. As a result I’ve found that time to exercise is often difficult to carve into an already packed day. And taking a few minutes each day to clear my mind and let creativity take over almost never seems to occur as I’m constantly staring at the next deadline.

Well, I’ve found that literally walking away from my desk for 20 minutes solves both problems. Result: a little exercise and a major clearing of the mind clutter that occurs without conscious effort as the rhythm of each step takes place. Every time, I come back to my work or my next appointment refreshed, more alert, and more open to the possibilities that were there in front of me all the time.

To keep up with this goal, I’ve walked through snowstorms, down long hotel hallways, around the internal decks of a cruise ship, in shopping malls, across hotel parking lots, and far too often in crowded airport terminals. (The United terminal at Dulles in Washington DC is just about a mile from end to end – good planning on the architect’s part!). If you’re lucky, all you’ll have to do is walk around your neighborhood or office building.

Now, as with any new physical undertaking – even the modest one mile daily walk – make double sure that your body is ready. If you’ve been away from physical activity of any kind, if you have a history of health challenges, even if you just live at high altitude like I do, make sure your doctor agrees that you are ready for this change in your daily routine. And for those who simply can’t walk a mile each day, think about something you can do in its place. Something extra you’re not already doing that can provide the same benefits of Better! physical and mental health in even the tiniest of ways.

Then wipe away the easy excuses, push away from your desk or TV, and find a place to stroll for 20 minutes.

To me, our mutual goal in business and life is Better! Better tomorrow than today; better next week than this week; better next year than this year.

Simply – Better! Every day.

Let’s take a few Simple Steps towards Better! health together. I’ll even join you each day. Let’s keep track together.

Two Challenges for You

  • We all have a list of things we know we should do, but never seem to get to. Exercise is on that list for many, many people. If you are sitting and reading this right now – and you KNOW you should get some exercise take a hiketoday, what’s the real reason why you don’t? Think about it and own up to it. Busy? Tired? Lazy? The kids? The weather? Don’t have the right thing to wear? It’s crowded at the gym? Whatever it is, be honest with yourself and acknowledge it. Now push all excuses to the side because they simply don’t matter. If you’re physically able, get up right now and go for a 20-minute walk. Take the kids with you – they could probably use the exercise as well. I’ll wait for you right here.
  • Give yourself the gift of five minutes of absolute peace and quiet. Allow your mind to drift towards just one choice you could make today that will point you toward better health. Think about what you consume, how often you make your body work, what causes you recurring negative stress. And then just make one decision that will help you ‘feel’ Better! Then take action on that one decision today. Just one new action. Repeat this exercise tomorrow and every tomorrow until it becomes your favorite five minutes of your day – five minutes just for you. What a great gift to yourself.

Let Me Know What You Think

My purpose is to give you ideas you can use on your terms to advance your performance towards your goals. Please let me know what you think. Just click here to leave your own Better! ideas. And if someone you know might benefit from our ideas for Better! results, please send them the link to my website www.JohnHallSpeaker.com and have them sign-up for free to receive the blogs, videos, white papers, and other special offers we’re building right now. Or just send me their email address, and I’ll reach out for you. Best wishes for Better! results on your terms –

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

 

 

 

 

 

 

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events.

Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”