Audits the way to stop theft

March 29, 2014

Has anyone else noticed how many people have lately been caught stealing money from the accounts of private and public organizations?

As expected, many of these crimes have been committed because of addictions to drugs or gambling, extortion payments or financial distress. What amazes me is how long these thefts appear to go on before anyone realizes that “there’s something rotten in Denmark.”

As I see it, much of the fault rests with the administration of these organizations for not having regular audits. In many cases, a professional auditing firm is not needed when the ledger is quite simple to reconcile. The practice of allowing only one person to have the complete responsibility of making deposits, issuing checks, and using debit cards should end. At least two signatures should be required for all transactions. Financial reports must be given at each meeting of the organization, and the accounts must be open for inspection by the general membership. Any clear deviations from accepted accounting practices must require the confiscation of the accounts and records, and an immediate audit.

Surely knowing that the financial records are subject to scrutiny at any time would go a long way to discourage the theft of funds.

Nothing is perfect, but granting financial officers complete trust with very little oversight is an invitation for people in distress to take whatever they want with little fear of discovery. Any organization that does not closely monitor its finances is inviting criminal activity.

Ronald J. Yamka



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