Protect Yourself from Fraud

With the increase in identity theft and fraudulent activity in the last year, it is safe to say that this, unfortunately, will become an increasing trend with companies. Cyber attacks are becoming more and more advanced, although simple methods are still used to steal information for fraud and financial crimes. So how can companies help prevent identity theft, and protect their costumers? [Read more…]

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Tips for Cybersecurity

It seems like everywhere we turn there is a story about cybersecurity. Hackers are trying to undermine the security setup to protect companies from attacks. We know that hackers are more sophisticated and are changing their techniques to stay ahead of the technology developed to keep them out. It is a vicious circle because technology is working to thwart the threat of attack. In this day and age of computers and technology how can companies, large and small, keep ahead of the ever present threat of cyberattacks.

Many times the threats vary in how they come. Some can be highly sophisticated and others are surprisingly simple, but all cyberattacks are targeted to do one thing, gain information and data to use later. There are many tactics that are used in cyberattacks including phishing scams, large data breaches, and viruses. Educating both employees and consumers is one way to help prevent some of the attacks. Everyone needs to be in charge of cybersecurity practices to help prevent future problems.

The following are ways other industries and smaller companies can improve their  cybersecurity:

  • Involve Everyone: This issue is not just and IT issue. Everyone is responsible for maintaining the companies security.
  • Be Constantly Alert: If you do not think it will happen to you, it probably will. You have to believe that you will be attacked and be prepared for what comes.
  • Have a Plan: There needs to be a written plan so if the company is attacked then there are steps and procedures in place to help fix everything. Also, practice to make sure everything work the way you want it to work.
  • Update Regularly: Make sure the products or companies used to protect you company is up-to-date and your defenses are up.
  • Extra Security for Sensitive Information: Build extra security around sensitive data, including personal information, to prevent problems. Help employees to prevent accidental exposure of data.
  • Integrate Information Security with Risk Management: This allows more people to be watching for problems and it can help keep control on problems that arise.
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How to Reduce Internal Fraud

In all businesses, having effective internal controls is very valuable. How do you know that your practices are effective? What can you as a business owner do to deter fraud in your business? Having effective internal controls will help your business keep up with the fast pace of the changing business practices. The following questions can help companies examine their internal controls to help prevent fraud.

Which businesses need to protect themselves against fraud?

No company, big or small, is immune to fraud. All the companies that have experienced fraud have one thing in common: they did not think that they were susceptible to fraud.

Businesses, especially smaller businesses, require employees to perform multiple tasks are at a greater risk of internal fraud. Businesses that cannot separate “conflicting tasks” increase the chance of fraud. When these tasks are separated, perpetrators are required to work together to steal from the company, which is harder to do then a single person doing all the tasks.

In larger business with more staff, tasks are separate, but perpetrators will still look for loopholes in the system. When owners are lax with monitoring, and given the opportunity weaknesses are exploited.

What Condition Motivates Internal Fraud?

When a perpetrator meets poorly designed and monitored internal controls, fraud happens. Companies should work to design proper controls, and be attentive in monitoring their effectiveness. The controls should be adapted to changing practices in the business, and not be ignored when the business becomes too busy to implement them. Owners need to be aware of internal controls and make them propriety to deter employees who might commit fraud.

How Can Companies Prevent Internal Fraud?

To help reduce the chances for fraud, companies must take a “top down” approach. Modeling and exhibiting the greatest degree of integrity set the tone for the company. Owners that do not uphold any level of integrity with aspects of the company cannot expect their employees to do so either.

When assessing controls, companies should identify areas with the biggest risk. Implement controls to shore up vulnerabilities uncovered in the assessment. Have a certified CPA audit financial records and procedures to determine where weaknesses are in the company. If the CPA specializes in fraud, this is especially helpful in determining what controls should be implemented to prevent fraud. Controls should be monitored and review regularly to truly reduce the likelihood of fraud.

Here at Crowley & Halloran CPA’s, our consultants would be happy to help you plan and manage your business budget. Click here to request a proposal.

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Global Opportunities: Small Businesses Make the Leap

Crowley Halloran Conference RoomIn today’s business environment, the more ways a company can share their product, the better for the company. Markets all over the world hold potential for small business, but what does it take to get into the foreign markets? Can small business take advantage of the global opportunities? The answer is yes. The global economy has never had more opportunities for small business, and with a strong global financial strategy, small businesses are competing in foreign markets.

To succeed globally, small businesses need to create a global financial strategy. Small businesses will face common issues and a few roadblocks in the global market, but having a well-defined plan can make the difference between being successful and failing in the new market

Some questions to consider when creating your plan are:

  • What performance indicators need measured for both financial and operation purposes?
  • How will accounts receivable and payable be set up and managed?
  • Is there enough support for multiple locations and countries?
  • How will the company keep control over the global financial process?
  • How are local tax regulations and requirements managed for each foreign location?
  • How are different currencies handled in foreign locations?

Being able to answer these questions and any other unique question regarding your company is the best way to start.

Some strategies that help in making a successful transition are setting up multi-entity accounting, understanding foreign tax laws and codes, managing multiple foreign currencies, and having local human resources. Businesses with multi-entity accounting have consolidated their business processes. By consolidating business processes, the company will eliminate duplicate work, create a standard workflow, and be able to support the demands of a more complex business model. Hiring a local accounting firm to help with all the local tax codes and regulations would be extremely useful when breaking into the global market. They will be able to navigate your business through the different regulations, and be able to keep up with the different currency fluctuations. They can also be part of your management team that will take care of the day-to-day running of the business.

Ventures into a new market are exciting new opportunities for small businesses. With a proper plan and a good management team, anyone, even a small business, can take advantage of the global business opportunities.

Here at Crowley & Halloran CPA’s, our consultants would be happy to help you plan and manage your business budget. Click here to request a proposal.

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