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While it is very essential to have a bookkeeper in any business organization, due to the importance of recording the day-to-day financial activities that take place for proper decision making, it could be detrimental to the growth of any business organization, if the book keeper is involved in embezzling or misappropriating funds that belong to the business organization. It is often very difficult to pin-point such embezzling activities of the book keeper, if the book keeper is granted unrestricted access to the books of the company and as such, is able to perpetrate such acts to the detriment of the business organization.

It must however be noted that, book keepers are professionals that can be duly trusted with the duty of keeping the books of a business organization without any instance of embezzlement or misappropriation of funds. Moreover, to nip any suspected act of embezzlement or misappropriation of funds in the bud, the following can be watched out for in the book keeper of your organization as tell-tale signs of stealing or fraudulent activity.

  • Resistance to routine audit

The conduction of routine audit is an internal control system that ensures any discrepancies in the financial records kept by the book keeper of your business organization is fished out and dealt with appropriately. It is usually conducted without prior notice to the book keeper. If however, the book keeper is always resistant to such routine audit as an internal control system, you could suspect that such a book keeper as a skeleton in the cupboard.

  • Pressing financial burden

While the presence of pressing financial needs such as Medical bills, School bills, Lose of job by the book keeper’s spouse, drug dependence, carefree lifestyle and so on, do not confirm your suspicion of dishonest activity of your book keeper, they could be indicators of possible embezzlement or other fraudulent activities.

  • Living above means

If you find out that your book keeper is living a life that is much more above the expected lifestyle, such as the purchase of exotic cars, vacation at gorgeous places, living in an overly expensive house, without any other means of finance you know about, then, you might suspect that your book keeper is up to something with the books. This suspicion would however, hold true if you are fully informed about the financial life of your book, that is, if you are doubly sure that the book keeper does not have other means of livelihood apart from the salary your business organization pays hourly, weekly, at the end of the month or quarterly.

However, there are ways in which the possibility of fraud could be kept at bay. Find below, some tips you would find useful in preventing fraud:

  • Do not give the book keeper absolute control over the books

To avoid a situation where the book keeper is the ‘alpha and omega’ of the financial records of your business organization, which gives room for fraudulent activity, it is advised that you adequately divide the financial duties and responsibilities among the employees of your business organization, in such a way that the person who collects checks and cash deposits from the clients is not responsible for making bank deposits and the person who reconciles the bank statements should not be the one to write the check. All these are internal control systems, which makes use of the fact that, the higher the number of employees involved in the financial activity of your organization, the lesser the possibility of fraud.

  • Use software

It is advised that, software should be used in recording and making financial transactions. With the manager or owner of the business organization being the administrator of the software, limits could be placed on the activity of each employee using the software. Therefore, the possibility of fraudulent activities could be kept at the barest minimum.

  • Outsource

To prevent fraudulent activities within your business organization, it is advised that you make use of experienced book keeping and accounting services. By outsourcing your book keeping and accounting needs, you could be rest assured that the books of your business organization would be treated with utmost accuracy and honesty.

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