Your Past Is Not Your Future

Your Past Is Not Your Future – Better! Results Tip #2

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Terri Said, “I’ll never be able to get the top spot here. Pursuing goals like that just isn’t part of where I come from.”

Yikes! What a limiting statement to have about yourself and your abilities. And it certainly caused an abrupt change in our performance coaching conversation.

Of course Terri could get the top spot. There are no guarantees, but there are steps she can take every day to increase the probability of that happening. To position herself for success however she defines it.

But if her starting point is a deep-seated believe that she can’t or won’t ever be able to because of where she comes from, she’s pretty much dead in the water before taking the first step.

Building on Where We’re From

We all come from somewhere. We all have many pluses and minuses in our background. Family, friends, health, nationality and race, beliefs, finances, language, education, contacts and a thousand other factors. All are the foundation points from which we jump forward – that is, if we choose to jump.

Here are two of my favorite quotes on this topic. Both frame this issue with great clarity and precision.

First, from Brendon Burchard at his High Performance Academy seminar I attended in the spring of 2015:

Your background is your starting point. No more or less.

The second quote from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer has traveled with me for many years:

Your past is not your future – unless you want it to be.

Two great insights from two great thought leaders. Brendon is young and energetic. One of the great motivators and influencers of our age. Dr. Dyer – who had more influence on my thinking than any other human except my parents – passed on in late 2015. But not before leaving us with the wisdom of the ages.

If you’re giving me the honor of reading my articles or attending my Webinars or live events, I’m giving you a hard shove right now to invest a few precious moments of Internet research on both of these interesting men.

Your Call To Action

Let’s pledge together to draw a line in our lives that distinguishes the before, the now, and the yet to be.

Let’s acknowledge and celebrate our past as the foundation for future success.

Let’s take stock of where we are right now: our strengths, weaknesses, bright spots and blind spots.

Let’s leave behind once and for all the limiting beliefs and distracting habits that draw us in like quicksand and do nothing more than hold us back.

Then let’s choose to carry forward the positive habits, beliefs and other factors from our past that will serve us in the future as we pursue our goals.

One last quote as a tribute to Dr. Dyer:

“If you focus on what’s always been, it will always be.

Focus instead on what could be.”

Let’s explore ‘what could be’ together. Let me know how 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 38-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 Tip #50: The Three Key Components of an Anti-Fraud Program

Fraud Prevention Tip #50: The Three Key Components of an Anti-Fraud Program

Somewhere out there, your organization is probably being targeted for fraud right now. Internet-based hackers, international organized crime organizations, and even a small percentage of employees all see your assets and information as too tempting to ignore.

But what are the three most important things you must do to deter these barbarians at the gate – or already inside your business?

Fraud Prevention Tip #50: The Three Key Components of an Anti-Fraud Program

How to Prevent Business Fraud: 8 Ideas That Work

The goals of anti-fraud efforts are prevention and immediate detection. While no anti-fraud system is foolproof, the 8 ideas in this program are critical to managing fraud risks in your business. And there is a cumulative effect – the more of them you apply in your business, the greater the chance of success. Providing turn-by-turn instructions for business leaders and owners, this program is short on theory and long on practical ‘how-to’ instructions on what you should do and what gets in the way. You’ll benefit by building a stronger defense against the risks of wrongdoing, misconduct, theft and outright fraud. Using the tools, checklists, talking points, and sample anti-fraud policies included in the program, you’ll be able to apply the ideas right away with minimal cost and maximum effect.

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.

1. 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 behavior looks like in their business habits. And the CEO must personally lead the pack.

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. Tell people what you expect of them. Be clear about relationships with third-party suppliers, customers and contractors.

2. 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. Bring it out into the open. 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. Openly recognize their positive deterrence behavior.

3. 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.

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 38-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 Tip #49: How to Deal with Employee Theft

Fraud Prevention Tip #49: How to Deal with Employee Theft

Anti-fraud efforts usually lean towards managing external threats. But your largest exposure is from employees simply because they are already inside your circle of trust.

When we find out that a trusted employee has been stealing from the organization, it can be really difficult to know how to proceed. The theft in question could be anything from taking inventory or supplies for personal use or for resale, adding fictitious costs to travel and other out of pocket reimbursement requests, putting false information on time sheets, engaging in intellectual property theft, or profiting from shadow deals with suppliers, customers or contractors.

Fraud Prevention Tip #49: How to Deal with Employee Theft

THE ANTI-FRAUD TOOLKIT
Let’s be honest. The simple fact that you are considering The Anti-Fraud Toolkit says a lot. It tells me that you are a special person. A true leader in the anti-fraud effort – regardless of your position in the organization chart, your length of service in the business environment, or what your technical specialty areas might be. You are unique in your intention to attack fraud risks – and to do something about it.

Simply put, there’s no one size fits all solution to addressing theft and other fraud by employees. But you have to act. You simply can’t allow the disease of deception to take root in your business.

Here are three suggestions to get you pointed in the right direction.

• Get Help. It’s a rare business leader who has sufficient background in fraud issues to handle cases of employee theft by themselves. Get the help you need to protect all involved, including honest employees. Start with the legal, accounting, human resources and technology experts who are already part of your core business support team. Get advise from qualified professionals – ideally before you’re faced with a fraud event. Outline a comprehensive response plan now before it’s needed. Then execute it objectively should an event be detected.

• Don’t Delay. It’s time to park your disbelief and anger, and get started on taking care of the problem. Employees who steal have no place in your organization. It’s time to stand behind your policies of zero tolerance for cheaters. You’ll need to proceed efficiently and professionally towards a solution that balances the facts of the case with the desire to get it all behind you. But be careful not to let uncertainty and indecision get in the way of what needs to be done. Get help, then take action.

• Learn from What Happened. OK, you got taken by a trusted staff member or manager. It happens, so it’s important to get past the issue at hand and move forward having learned important lessons. Think about how controls could be tweaked without getting in the way of efficient business practices. Analyze how you could be a better overseer of transactions and activity without holding up progress. Recruit your honest employees into a stepped up campaign to make sure it never happens to you again.

When trusted employees steal from the organization, it violates everything you and the many other honest team members hold dear. Out of respect for the honest majority, get help, take action, and adjust daily practices based on lessons learned.

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 38-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.”

 

 

Adviser Leadership Management Director Responsibility

Fraud Prevention Tip #35: Write About Your Fraud Risks and Better Practices for Managing These Risks

One of the easiest (and least expensive!) ways to teach your employees about how to manage their fraud risks is to write about it. Short ‘how to’ articles published in organization electronic portals, websites and newsletters are the perfect place to provide direction.

These articles should all address one common theme:

How do I know?

Here are a several questions to go a few levels deeper:

  • How do I know what I’m about to sign is correct?

    Consulting Skills for Professional Auditors

    Consulting Skills for Professional Auditors

    The traditional definition of internal auditing is gone forever. In its place is the expectation that we will supplement our compliance, information verification and control testing responsibilities with value-based ideas for operational and technical improvement. This seminar shows participants how to add measurable value by moving from internal auditor to internal consultant on every audit project. Included will be suggestions on how to blend traditional auditor responsibilities with a more consultative approach. Participants will learn a foundation in the fundamentals and on the job application of Internal Consulting Skills in an auditing environment.

  • What should I be asking myself before approving this document?
  • What details should I check and how can I check them efficiently?
  • How should I react if something doesn’t look or feel right?

Using these and similar questions as your shell or outline, draft and publish one article each calendar quarter for a year or two. That gives readers time to digest the advice and apply it in their daily habits before moving on to the next risk area.

Start by addressing fraud risks that are common or systemic throughout the organization. Examples might include good questions to ask before approving:

  • Invoices from suppliers
  • Out of pocket travel or other cost reimbursement
  • Purchasing card transactions
  • Time sheets
  • Journal entries
  • Work orders
  • Wire transfer requests
  • New customer applications
  • Job candidate documents
  • Monthly or other periodic Applications for Payment from contractors
  • Other documents unique to the organization

Don’t get bogged down in long explanations of theory or governing regulations. Get to the point and provide use full direction. Use this test. If the employee or manager had a one-sided laminated checklist in front of them on their desks as they were reviewing this document, what would be on that checklist?

With their pen in their hand as they are about to approve the transaction, I doubt they would be seeking theory or regulations. They just want to know what to check before signing.

That’s the content of your article right there. No more, no less.

 

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.”

 

 

criminal background checks

Fraud Prevention Tip #28: Seven Tips for Small Business, Small Government and Not for Profits

Fraud Issues & Answers for Not-for-Profit 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. Leaders are waking up to this shortfall in skills and teaching everyone what they need to know to handle fraud challenges. This program does just that – shows participants how to manage their fraud risks in the not-for-profit business environment.

Smaller organizations and many not-for-profits face the inherent risk of insufficient staff and limited control resources. These special challenges require special effort by anti-fraud leaders. Here are seven ideas that will help.

1. Create a written Code of Conduct that addresses routine and non-routine situations staff will encounter in performing their work. Provide examples, short cases and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Be wary of boilerplate terminology. Focus instead on meaningful real-world guidance for conduct.

2. Due to limitations in staffing and inadequate segregation of duties controls, managers should compensate by spot checking and re-performing the work of subordinates. Make this ‘quality check’ a daily habit.

3. Require that approvers carefully review all disbursement documentation prior to approval. Verify details, ask questions, and when in doubt, choose to doubt and follow up until a valid verifiable conclusion is reached.

4. Have bank account and credit card statements sent unopened directly to the chief executive. This executive should review all statements in detail as soon as they are received.

5. Verify the existence and legitimacy of all first-time payment recipients.

6. Make everyone take uninterrupted vacations or other time away from their jobs. Have other staff fill in for them and complete their work while they are away.

7. You simply must perform meaningful criminal background checks on employees and many volunteers. There’s no easy way around this one. Those terminated for cheating at past employers know they need a new job right now. No delay. And prime targets for new jobs for these folks are the smaller business, governmental entity or not-for-profit that everyone knows has limited resources and staff to check backgrounds.

Comply with the privacy, anti-discrimination and other applicable laws. Get competent legal advice and find a way to get these reviews done! (see Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions for one source of guidance)

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.”

 

 

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