While there are many prevention and deterrence steps you can take, here are three critical components of any business anti-fraud program.

3 Key Components of an Anti-Fraud Program

Somewhere out there, your business is probably being targeted for fraud. Internet-based hackers, international organized crime organizations, and even a small percentage of employees all see your business assets and information as too tempting to ignore. But what should you do to deter these barbarians at the gate – or already inside your business?

Managing business fraud risks requires your daily attention. It’s a ‘cat and mouse’ endeavor where the smarter we get, the harder they have to work to get us. While there are many prevention and deterrence steps you can take, here are three critical components of any business anti-fraud program.

  • Build a culture of honesty within your organization. Ethics starts and ends with the actions of leaders. From the boardroom to the factory floor, every leader must not only talk, they must demonstrate exactly what ethical While there are many prevention and deterrence steps you can take, here are three critical components of any business anti-fraud program.behavior looks like in their business habits.  Formalize the rules of acceptable behavior in a code of conduct. Be clear about what is not allowed as well. Address confidentiality, harassment, use and protection of intellectual property, avoiding conflicts of interest, and other ethical issues. Be clear about relationships with third-party suppliers, customers and contractors.
  • Perform a meaningful fraud risk assessment, and brainstorm how to mitigate fraud risks. Fraud risk assessment starts with an open discussion of what can go wrong. Recruit every employee into the brainstorming process. Address theft, manipulated financial and operating results, and shadow deals with third parties. Make sure every employee knows what can go wrong in their areas of responsibility, and tell them it’s their job to make sure fraud doesn’t happen on their watch. Help them implement or strengthen anti-fraud controls. And openly recognize their positive deterrence behavior.
  • Provide useful anti-fraud skills training. Creating a culture of honesty and ethics is step one; step two is fraud risk brainstorming. But none of it matters without useful anti-fraud skills training. Many organizations speak to their staff about fraud awareness. But if you are expecting them to fight fraud, you have to go much further and show them exactly what fraud looks like in the transaction records they see every day. There’s simply no short cut to meeting this essential need. Yet this is the one step that most business organizations skip. Provide anti-fraud skills training in a classroom setting, in small staff meeting discussions, in organization newsletter articles, and using webinar, conference call and other simple technology (Skype, Apple FaceTime and others). Most effective of all but often overlooked is one-on-one coaching of staff by supervisors at every level. Don’t keep fraud examples hidden from your team; bring what can go wrong out into the light where all can learn and react appropriately. Help them be successful in meeting your fraud risk management objectives. Encourage them to speak up and make it as safe as possible to report suspicions.

Obviously these three ideas are just part of a comprehensive anti-fraud campaign. But they are three critical components you must have in place.

If you have questions about what you should do to fight fraud exposures in your organization, just let me know and we’ll talk it through. Call me at (970) 926-0355. Or email John@JohnHallSpeaker.com and we’ll get the discussion started.

 

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.”

Fraud Prevention for Small Organizations

Fraud Prevention for Small Organizations

Peter looked at me across the conference table and asked the most important question of the meeting: “How can we prevent this from happening again?” As the executive in charge of a $2 million not-for-profit, he was hit hard by the theft. Never had he suspected hat his trusted bookkeeper would steal – especially with the community-focused mission of the organization. But Peter also understood that he simply couldn’t expect to prevent all wrongdoing, especially with tight budget limits for staffing and resulting inadequate formal controls.

Fraud Prevention for Small Organizations

Fraud Issues & Answers for Not-for-Profit Organizations | The not-for-profit business environment has many unique fraud risks – including fund raising pressures, proper use of donated funds and government grants, the need to report positive program results, and plain old theft and abuse. The need to balance a mission focus, public scrutiny, inherent trust, and limited staffing all combine to create exposures to wrongdoing that demand vigilance. As a result, many not-for-profit Board members, managers and staff are finding they simply don’t have the skills (or time!) necessary to fulfill these responsibilities.

So we turned our attention to deterrence rather than pure prevention. Here’s one of the suggestions I encouraged Peter to act on without delay:

Clearly State Your Fraud Risk Management Expectations

Visible, vocal leadership is a must in any organization, but is especially important in smaller businesses, not-for-profits and governmental units. Leaders have to put a stake in the ground and once and for all tell people what is expected. Here are the important talking points for that discussion. Use them as a script if necessary.

  • Every organization has the risk of misconduct, wrongdoing and fraud. We need everyone’s help to fight this problem.
  • Each manager and employee should know what could go wrong in their areas of responsibility. A general knowledge of business fraud risks must be supplemented with a detailed understanding of what could go wrong on my watch.
  • Do your best to prevent it from happening in transactions you process, review or approve. Don’t give your signature away; within reason be sure to check details. A simple mantra before approving anything is, “When in doubt, DOUBT!”
  • Catch problems early. It’s unreasonable to expect that every detail will be checked every day. But all details should be spot checked as part of any business quality initiative. Just partner your anti-fraud efforts to the existing culture of doing things right! Anti-fraud isn’t extra work; it’s core work.
  • Speak up when you suspect something doesn’t look right. Staff should be assured that they are not alone. They should be encouraged to ask for help when they suspect something isn’t right.

Why not say these five things to your team the next time you have everyone together for a meeting. Even in the smallest organizations, effective Fraud Risk Management relies heavily on recruiting your entire employee and management team to know what can go wrong where they work, to double-check details before approving documents, and to speak up when something looks odd, strange or curious. Let me know if I can 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.”

how to establish influence at a new job

How to Establish Influence at a New Job

So you’ve got a new job. Congrats! But now you face the challenge of adapting to your new workplace and building your reputation and influence within the organization. This can be a pretty daunting task to even the most seasoned supervisors and employees, but it’s important that you dive right in and start carving out your role and reputation without delay.

As you concentrate on mastering the tasks required during the first few weeks of your new position, it’s important that you also gain an understanding of how the organization works as whole and determine the cultural dynamics of the workforce. This will help you gain momentum quickly as you work to build legitimate influence and provide measurable value in your new position.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

1. Become the go-to person for whatever you do

When you introduce yourself to other people within your new organization, you should establish yourself as an authority in your position and offer to be of assistance. When you make the introduction, explain what your role and responsibilities are and why others should come to you when they need assistance with something in your realm of expertise. Once you’ve build yourself up as an authority in one particular area, people will start establish influence at a new jobseeking you out for assistance even in areas outside of your job description. The goal is to be in demand because of how good you are at whatever you do.

2. Make friends in high places

Seek out people who are well respected in your new organization This person could be your direct superior, a project manager or others who are well respected regardless of their position or length of service. Arrange time to chat, and let them know that you’d love to have their advice as you acclimate to your new position. Having an influential person in a mentorship or coaching role will help you to build your skills and influence. Start with your new boss; it’s always a good idea to find ways to help them meet or exceed their goals.

3. Really listen to coworkers

Get to know your coworkers and their goals, challenges, and responsibilities. Find ways to help them be successful. Go out of your way to help them when they need assistance. You can only build influence if you have the admiration and respect of the people that you work with. But remember: this isn’t about building paybacks due to you; it’s about being seen as an invaluable resource.

4. Invest constantly in your most important product – YOU

Work each day on improving your skills in these critical areas.

  • Core business, administrative and time management skills
  • Technical skills required of your current position and desired future positions
  • Interpersonal and communications skills

All three areas are critical to your success. Study, practice, ask for help, and improve every day. Let others will see how dedicated you are to mastering your number one product – YOU!

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.”