The Top Five Areas to Monitor for Employee Fraud

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The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) ‘Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse’ published its Global Fraud Study in 2016
. According to the Executive Summary by ACFE Global Fraud Study in 2016, a typical organization loses 5% of revenues in a given year as a result of fraud. Corporations of different sizes incline to have different fraud risks. In big corporations, corruption was predominant, while check tempering, payrolls, and stealing were twice more common in small businesses.

Frauds are often more common in small businesses as they lack special security checkups and foolproof systems. A small business may have installed accounting software, but the accounting software for small business may lack many functions reserved for software purchased by big corporations. Even though a good accounting software may have been purchased for a small-sized business, there still remains a chance of fraud. Usually, in a smaller company, a single person is trusted for operating accounting software and business bookkeeping.

Focus on these areas in a small business to minimize small business frauds:

  • Expense
  • Procurements
  • Payments



Frauds are made through these channels

1.  Frauds through Purchase Order
2.  Misuse of Business’ Credit Cards
3.  Frauds on sales and receivables
4.  Payroll Frauds
5.  Information systems and critical data stealing

1.  Frauds through Purchase Order

  • Employee purchases goods that he intends for personal and private use.
  • The employee makes a vendor’s account in which he pays fraudulent invoices.

Frauds through purchase orders can be traced by checking if the same person makes purchase orders and approves payments for those orders. It can also be detected if there are various split purchase orders within an allowed limit.


2.  Misuse of Business’ Credit Cards

  • Many businesses give corporate’s credit cards to its employees when they are going on a business trip. When the credit card bill arrives, do not blindly sign the bill. Before signing, check the outlets where this card had been used. Your business money should not be used for any unapproved items or excursions.
  • Many frauds fall into a double billing fraud type. An employee uses the business credit card for making an expense. Then he again submits the receipt for the same expense to reimburse the money. There should be a strict procedure to keep a check and balance on double billing frauds.

3.  Frauds on sales and receivables

The employee develops a personal contact with the sales representative and gets a commission on that.

Fraud tests can spot customer accounts which are receiving unusual discounts, customer’s account having higher memos, customer’s account with high credit terms, and when the shipment address of sales is same as employee’s.


4.  Payroll Frauds

Payroll frauds can be of the following types:

  • Payroll of a person who was terminated or died still exists in payroll section
  • Payroll of a person who does not exist at all
  • Adding overtime payments in the payroll without permission or reason


5.  Information systems and critical data stealing

Employees can steal and misuse critical data from the information system of a company. They can sell the customers’ data and information related to address and contact numbers to a third party.

To check for any data stealing from your business database, run specific tests on the computer system. The test will detect the accounts who had accessed the database from their company’s accounts. Check out if this employee had the authority and permission to log in to company’s database.

If an authorized employee makes frequent logins to the system and there is no such apparent need, monitor closely. Run tests to access if any data was copied and moved.

There is a special software which runs discretely to detect emails carrying critical and important data of the company.


No business is immune to fraud or theft. Employers should closely monitor the activities of their employees. They should focus on the above five areas that act as a channel of fraud by the employees. Employers must strictly monitor the bookkeeping, especially, to prevent fraudulent activity.

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