As a smart and competent proprietor of a business who has a number of smart and competent people working in key positions, you probably think you might not need to take steps to deter fraud. Everyone knows stealing is bad, correct?
It’s also true, you might believe, that you – as the owner, the man or woman at the top – can bend or break the rules as you see fit while your workers are expected to toe the line. That’s just the way things are, correct?
Wrong and wrong.
“Your actions determine the message you are sending to your employees about fraud,” says David Anderson, principal of David Anderson & Associates, a Philadelphia forensic accounting firm that provides a full range of fraud investigation and fraud deterrence programs in the Delaware Valley. “If you don’t have a strong fraud deterrence program in place, and if you engage in questionable activities yourself, then you’re sending an incorrect message.”
Anderson notes two recent cases of fraud where employees said company management created an environment where fraud was deemed acceptable. In one case, a defendant said her employer never said fraud was wrong. This, to her, was unspoken approval of the illegal acts. In another case, the defendant said when he saw the company president fraudulently running personal expenses through the business and claiming them as business deductions, he felt it was okay for him to defraud the company as well.
“Whether you are a business owner, a corporate executive or an elected or appointed official, your employees look to you for cues regarding what is and what is not acceptable behavior regarding fraud,” Anderson said. “What kind of messages are you sending?”
Anderson said corporate leaders must make fraud deterrence a key objective by sending employees a strong message that fraud is unacceptable. Those leaders then need to practice what they preach.
Among the steps Anderson outlines are that companies should establish a clear fraud prevention policy and publicize it to employees through employee handbooks, manuals, training, memos, etc. Employees must be told that fraud investigation is an ever-present aspect of your business and that steps always are underway to unearth fraud.
If you suspect your business has fallen victim to fraud, Anderson recommends you contact a Certified Fraud Examiner to conduct a comprehensive fraud investigation and determine the extent of your losses. A Certified Fraud Examiner from a firm that provides forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley can help you establish a fraud deterrence program to help protect your company in the future. Always remember the message you send by the example you set can be a powerful deterrent.
If you require the services of a Certified Fraud Examiner, or any other forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, please contact the Philadelphia forensic accounting firm of David Anderson & Associates by calling David Anderson at 267-207-3597 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About David Anderson & Associates
David Anderson & Associates is a Philadelphia forensic accounting firm that provides a full range of forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. The experienced professionals at David Anderson & Associates provide forensic accounting, business valuation, fraud investigation, litigation support, economic damage analysis, business consulting and outsourced CFO services. Company principal David Anderson has more than 30 years of experience in financial and operational leadership positions and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Valuation Analyst.