Avoiding Embezzlement – Are you on the List?
We seldom conduct direct mail campaigns. It can be expensive, and the return is just not there. When we do, it’s a small selective list, and we use creativity to reach the intended party. Additionally, we emphasize it’s not a mass mailer, but has a well thought out reason behind it. We ask for two considerations. One, keep our information close at hand. Two, consider a fraud-risk assessment for the company or organization.
A thorough fraud-risk assessment can identify where your company or organization is most vulnerable. If you act on the recommendations, you can reduce the risk of embezzlement. If you never have the assessment performed, maybe you’re operating on borrowed time? We still encounter business owners who believe having a CPA, having hope and an insurance policy is the end all to avoiding embezzlement. These are knowledgeable, seasoned entrepreneurs, visionaries and skilled marketers.
Recently, I was speaking to a highly educated membership group. The membership seemed surprised that CPA’s typically do not look for fraud or embezzlement. Remember, your CPA does important work and if they bring up some anomaly in your business, don’t be so quick to dismiss it. It could be you have embezzlement at hand.
Back to the direct mail campaign – In July, 2014, we mailed specific letters to twenty-five (as I mentioned, it’s a small number) specific Atlanta area business owners who we felt were most vulnerable to fraud. None of them responded to our call. Sadly, one company on that list recently experienced large scale embezzlement. If you’ve read our past articles, you understand the cost of embezzlement goes far beyond the calculated dollar amount.
Now, maybe our mailer never made it to the owner, or maybe it did but was quickly dismissed. We never blame victims; however, as I scan over the list, I wonder “who else” and “what if…”.
Zane Kinney, CFE, PI