Accountant fraudulent schemes. What a business owner needs to know to keep everything under control
The work of an accountant in Russia is “both dangerous and difficult” – unfortunately, these are the realities of Russian business. Most accountants honestly do their job, but there are also many who are not ready to bear the burden of responsibility for someone else’s business for one salary. They are looking for additional ways of enrichment. Ivan Birulya, Security Director of SurchInform, talks about accounting fraud schemes, methods of combating and preventing
In Russia, accountants are often untouchable. There are two reasons for this. The first is full ownership of information about financial flows and business processes, and at the same time about the ins and outs of the company and its management. The second reason is the reluctance of managers to delve into the numbers and understand the “complex” documents. This situation involves creating an atmosphere of complete confidence for constructive work – if you are lucky with the chief accountant. And a complete loss of control over the business – if no luck.
No matter how competent a professional works in your company, do not make him untouchable. People to whom the most sensitive information is available and who have the right to sign must be under special control. At least for reasons of insurance against elementary errors that even highly qualified specialists make.
What can we say about what opportunities the abundance of information gives for fraud. One of our clients was forced to fire the chief accountant and financial director, with whom he worked for more than 10 years (!), They decided to open their own competitor in the wake of the crisis in the industry. All information for quick access to the market they had in the free, legitimate, access. Other fraud schemes in the arsenal of dishonest accountants are also more than enough.
1. Banal theft
Let’s start with the simplest “Russian fun”. Depending on the level of adventurism, accountants steal either long and little by little, or once, but with a significant amount. Such scams fall into the news and they amaze the public the most.
The scheme of petty theft of cash, which the accountant can practice for a very long time, is an incomplete posting of money to the cash desk or theft, covered by fake expendable cash orders. But often the fraud accountant is not even puzzled by the creation of schemes. Just taking a little / a lot of cash from the safe is still a popular method, especially if the accountant is responsible for the “black” cash desk in the company.
Despite the automation of payments, there are also many ways to steal money from an account. Most Popular:
money transfer to a one-day company;
transfer to a counterparty who is preparing for bankruptcy (by conspiracy);
concealment of the receipt of money in an account with payment of the same amount to the account of “your” company
Documents that can prove the guilt of a fraudulent accountant tend to disappear at the right time. Very often, accountants become victims of street-theft or “attack” viruses. One of our clients caught an accountant trying to adjust financial documents. True, the motive in this was not to hide the traces of the crime, but to take revenge on the “offender”, the employer, who refused to raise his salary.
2. Dead souls and manipulations with hospital, advance reports
For small companies where employees are reckless, such a risk is unknown. In large companies, it’s easy to hide “dead souls”, non-existent sick leaves, and business trips that haven’t gone anywhere in salary sheets and expense reports. If the company has a large staff turnover, you can ascribe to the payroll the names of the dismissed or even nonexistent employees.
Another option: to ascribe a large amount in the expense order, and a smaller amount in the payroll. Serious fraud is always committed in collusion with other employees of the company. This, on the one hand, complicates the task of prevention and detection, on the other hand, on the contrary, it makes it easier because collusion leaves traces. For example, in correspondence.
3. Manipulation of inventory
This is also a popular method of fraud. Several schemes. For example, the cancellation of goods, for which it is enough to only draw up the corresponding act. Write off a batch of products with an “expired” or “fully amortized” computer – depending on what is bad.
In another scheme, the accountant needs an accomplice in the person of a warehouse employee. He “forgets” to capitalize part of the goods without presenting claims to the supplier, and writes off the difference in the framework of natural loss. Sometimes the devil is in such details that the leader will not guess. The base for theft can be a banal difference in units of measure of goods: in one document in pieces, in another – in dozens of pieces.