Internal controls are important to prevent error and ensure integrity of your financial data as well as minimize the risk of fraud. A good system of internal controls protects both the company and its employees. In designing a control system, you should take into consideration whether the cost of a particular control is reasonable in terms of the benefit you want to achieve. Segregation of duties may be the most desired internal control but may not always be attainable if you are small.
Here are some quick tips to mind your control over cash:
Tip #1 Record client payments in a cash receipt log.
Ideally, the person that opens the mail and records the client payments in a log and the person that makes the firm deposit are two separate employees. If you cannot segregate these duties, implement a reporting mechanism that the bookkeeper (or secretary) must provide you with a daily log of client payments received.
Tip #2 Require a W9 from all accounts payable vendors.
To avoid paying fictitious vendors, require a form W9 from all of your vendors. This won’t prevent a dummy company from
being set up in your system but certainly will help. Require all of your checks be signed by the owner with appropriate back-up documents for review.
Tip #3 Retain a 3rd party to conduct your bank reconciliations or at the very least have the outside company review the books at least quarterly. Don’t have the person that makes the deposits and applies the receipts also do the bank reconciliations. Segregate duties where you can. When you are small, that is nearly impossible so put some checkpoints in your systems to avoid fraudulent behavior. Get outside assistance.
Tip #4 Use an outside service to process your payroll.
Remove the tax reporting liability from your responsibility. Have all payroll registers sent to owner/Managing Partner for review. Look for unauthorized salary adjustments, overtime or ghost employees.
Tip #5 Unauthorized purchasing on firm credit cards or accounts. It is not uncommon for personnel charged with the purchasing of supplies to add personal items to the “cart.” Intentional or not, have a system in place to make sure you are reimbursed for personal items purchased on your account.
Fraud can occur in any organization. Unintentional errors can too. Every business, no matter the size, should have steps in place to detect fraud and “audit” their financial information. The use of an outside bookkeeper/accountant is the small business person’s professional resource to ensure that operations are as they should be.
Who is minding your cash?
B2 Can Help!
Our financial management professionals are assisting clients strengthen their internal controls by performing Internal Control Reviews. Let us take a look at your processes and provide you with a report on how well your company is doing. Our reviews are affordable, efficient and do not disrupt your normal operations. Call us today and let us help you mind your cash.
THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT HELP YOU NEED
As a full-service management consulting firm, we partner with our clients to deliver solutions that help solve their most complicated needs. Utilizing decades of industry experience and functional expertise, we can assist you in establishing internal controls to validate the integrity of your numbers and circumvent theft. B2 Management & Consulting goes beyond the norm to develop new insights, drive results, and help grow your business.