Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper: A Warning Sign

Betty Bookkeeper Headshot

Dear Diary,

Betty Bookkeeper HeadshotToday sucked… and I mean, straight up sucked.

There I was, minding my own business, when in walks the boss with a receipt. On the receipt are stamped the letters C.O.D. It was from one of our vendors that apparently hasn’t been paid in so long, they’ve changed our account from credit to C.O.D.

“What is this, Betty?” the boss asked me. “Why has ABC Hardware turned our credit account into a Cash-on-Delivery account? I’ve been with them for five years, and they’re saying we’re three months behind in our payments. I told Bill – the boss over there – that it can’t be right. We’ve never missed a payment with them, but their bookkeeper swears we’re late. What’s going on?”

I looked at him as innocently as I could, and shrugged. “It has to be a mistake, Boss. I’m certain we’re current.”

“Can you call them and fix this, please?”

“Sure. No problem.”

Then, the boss practically tosses the bill at me and storms out of my office.

I picked up the phone line, figuring he’d probably be watching the extension from his office to make sure I called, but I didn’t bother dialing the number right away. I knew the truth – we were behind. I should have made that payment a while ago, but I knew if I sent it, the checking account would go in the hole. Since I wasn’t quite sure how far behind we were, I figured I’d better check.

Typing a few things into the computer, I saw that we were about $1,200 behind. That wasn’t too bad. So I did actually call the bookkeeper over at ABC Hardware. When she got on the phone, I said, “Hey, Jane. How’s it going?”

“Betty,” she said coldly.

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A few choice words ran through my head, but of course I kept them to myself. “Listen, Jane. I just got reamed by my boss about some notice he got from your company. He said you made our account a C.O.D. account. What’s up with that?”

“Well, Betty, you’re company’s late in paying us. And it’s not the first time.”

“Well, Jane… I just mailed a check for $1,200 a couple days ago. Have you checked your mail today?”

“’The check’s in the mail?’ Really, Betty? You’ve used that one before. And then we never got the check. So my boss decided to make your account C.O.D. from now on. Besides, you owe us $3,100 – not $1,200.”

No kidding. “Are you sure about that? I only have invoices for $1,200.”

“I’m sure. In fact, I emailed you and faxed you hard copies of the invoices several times over the last couple months.”

The temptation to hang up on her was irresistible, but I didn’t. “Well, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what happened to the invoices. And I did send you $1,200 just a couple days ago. So, what’s it going to take to forget this whole C.O.D. thing?”

“If you want the account to revert back to a credit account, you need to pay the balance in full immediately. That’s the only way.”

“Okay. I can do that. I’ll put a check in the mail today.”

“No, that’s alright. I’ll come and pick it up.”

Of course you will, you snotty… “Okie dokie. How about five o’ clock? I can have a check for you by then.” And the boss will be gone by four, so he’ll never see the real balance due.

“Fine, see you at five.” Then, she actually hung up on me.

Long story short, I had to scramble and figure out a way to pay $3,100 without letting the boss know what was going on. It took me a bit, but I finally figured out that I could write a balance transfer check from one of the new credit cards I opened in the company’s name…a credit card that goes to the Company P.O. Box the boss doesn’t know about.

I told the boss it was just a misunderstanding, and that Jane actually found our payment in the mail that day…so there should be no problem from now on. The boss went back to thinking I’m a genius, and Jane showed up at 4:45 – Eager twit.

All I have to say now is: Man, that was a close call!

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Why This is a Warning Sign

superhero_edited_no_maskA lot of small business owners don’t realize it, but when a credit account is changed to a C.O.D. account, that’s usually a BIG warning sign that “the business is suffering”. (Notice, I’m NOT saying anyone’s embezzling…this is quite simply a sign that the business needs to handle their finances better, and possibly their cash better as well.) Most vendors that offer credit to their preferred clients are loathe to take that line of credit away if it means they might lose a business as a customer. Usually, the only reason a vendor would change a credit account is if there is a history of serious delinquency or bounced checks. So the minute any vendor demands a COD payment, realize that your company’s credit history is on shaky ground and become proactive.

How to Know for Sure

Should the above scenario happen to your company, don’t go running to your bookkeeper first. Instead, ask the bookkeeper at your vendor’s company to print up a Statement of at least 90 days to 6 months so that you have a record of EXACTLY how your bookkeeper has been paying them. Look it over and take note of how far apart the payments are. Are there any amounts that were subtracted and added back on? (That could be the sign of a bounced check.) Most credit accounts require a minimum of one payment a month, while some require more. Ask the other bookkeeper what the terms are for your company, and THEN approach your bookkeeper.

Before you make any accusations, however, there is one more thing you can do to double check your bookkeeper. When you have the Vendor’s Statement for your company in hand, ask your bookkeeper for the last three bank statements. Also, ask for a “Check Detail” listing all of the checks for the same three months. A good bookkeeper will know exactly where those bank statements are and will be able to give you both documents in less than 10 minutes. (The key is to ask for this information immediately and DO NOT let your bookkeeper put you off ‘til the end of the day…they can cover their tracks if given too much time.) Then, when you have the Vendor Statement, the Check Detail, and the Bank Statements in your hand, do a quick check for the following:

  • Highlight the check numbers listed on your Vendor Statement.
  • Find the corresponding check numbers on your Check Detail printout. From here, you will be able to tell exactly when the check was supposed to have been printed and then mailed. The dates should be a week apart if the vendor is in town…up to 10 days if the vendor. (Of course, the time it takes to cash a check also depends on how big the vendor is.)
  • Now check the bank statements for the same check numbers. Do the dollar amounts actually match, and when were the checks cashed? Sometimes, the other company may hold onto the check for any number of reasons, but it will give you a good idea of how long the check cashing process takes with THAT particular vendor…and how long your bookkeeper may be holding checks.

Your Bookkeeper May Be Embezzling if…

Now, before I tell you exactly what to look for as far as embezzling goes, let me just say one thing. This does NOT 100% mean that your bookkeeper is embezzling. There can be reasons for any discrepancies you find. However, if you do find the following discrepancies, don’t be stupid and sit on your hands either. Ask an accountant or an independent bookkeeping company for help immediately. Make a backup of your bookkeeping program without the bookkeeper’s knowledge, and put that aside…(you may need it later).

And whatever else you do… DO NOT…I repeat… DO NOT confront your bookkeeper with what you find. If your bookkeeper IS an embezzler, the MINUTE you accuse them of anything, they will WIPE their hard drive, and your bookkeeping program, and they will destroy any evidence of embezzlement you may have in your office. Be certain first, and then do a cold hard lockout. The minute you KNOW – without a doubt – that they’re embezzling, DO NOT let them back in the office, and disconnect the bookkeeping computer from the internet. (You don’t want them logging on remotely to destroy your bookkeeping program.)

  • To know if your bookkeeper might be embezzling, look at the Check Run and look at the Bank Statements. Do the check numbers and amounts match? Bookkeepers can always go in and change the check names and amounts later on (which they will do if they want to show the boss an inflated bank balance), but the Bank Statements will give them away every time.
  • Another thing to pay attention to…are the checks being cashed months after they were written? If they are, then your bookkeeper was sitting on them for some reason (probably to make sure they didn’t bounce)…but keep in mind, YOU may have told your bookkeeper to hold those checks. That happens a lot, so don’t make any accusations unless you’re sure you did NOT ask the checks to be held.

Again, this is just a warning sign, but it’s a good sign to look for. Do not ignore it.

 

Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper (Day 112) – Theft by Signature Stamp

Betty Bookkeeper Headshot

Dear Diary,

Today the boss went on vacation and guess what he gave me…the Signature Stamp.  I couldn’t believe it when he handed it to me.  I think my smile was from ear-to-ear.  Doesn’t he realize how stupid it is to give me the signature stamp?

“Are you sure you want to give this to me?” I asked all innocent like.  In the back of my mind, I was already calculating how much money I might be able to get now that I had this new stamp.

“Of course.  I trust you,” he told me with an amused little smirk.

That smirk told me everything I needed to know.  My question had just convinced him that I was the sweet innocent young lady he had come to know so well.  Because – fool that he was – he sincerely believed that everyone was as open and honest as he was.

I almost felt bad about stealing from him.  Almost.  But then I would remember that I was making less money than everyone else in his company…everyone except the receptionist.

“I don’t know.  That’s a lot of responsibility,” I commented in the best hemming-and-hawing voice I could manage.  “I really don’t want to let you down.”

“It’ll be fine,” he assured me with a light pat on my shoulder.

Then he strolled out of my office.  An hour later, he left the office for good.  He was off to the Caribbean for the next two weeks.

I waited an hour after he left just to make sure he wasn’t coming back.

And then…

Over the next week…

  • I signed some IRS paperwork with that signature stamp.  Whether or not the IRS paperwork is accurate…?  Who cares.  At least it’s filed.
  • I opened a new cell phone account with his signature stamp…got the “Unlimited Text and Talk” package…for my whole family.  My daughter may only be 8, but she loves her pretty new pink cell phone.  And of course, I love my new iPhone.
  • I also got a new Business Gas Card Account.
  • I downloaded a new bank account application from online, signed it with his signature stamp and faxed the paperwork back .  Got instant approval.
  • I sent out several applications to local vendors to get lines of credit.  They all got approved.  I now own a chainsaw from the local hardware store (because I can), an electric lawnmower from Lowes, solar panels for the garden from the local garden supply store, and $300 window blinds from Home Depot.
  • I ordered a bunch of magazine subscriptions in his name and sent them to my house.  (I really love Cosmo.)
  • I walked into Office Depot and paid for a whole bunch of office supplies with a blank company check and his signature…including a new printer for my kids and a portable scanner for… I guess for the “heck of it.”
  • I went to the bank with a check made out to Cash.  (That was an easy $500.)
  • I paid my new car’s DMV bills with his check…and got my husband’s car smogged.
  • I signed a few petitions in his name.  He’s now a Democrat that actively supports breast cancer funding.
  • I also got a PO Box in his name at the local Mailboxes Etc. office.  All that new paperwork will never even come to the office.
  • …And I did a whole bunch of other stuff, although I can’t remember them at the moment.

You know what the best thing is, Diary?  When he comes back, he’ll have no idea what I’ve done.  Most of the paperwork will go to the new PO Box I opened in his name.  And even if he comes back and asks to see the bank statement for the first time ever, he still won’t know what I’ve done.  I can explain away the DMV and car-related bills as “work needed on one of the company vehicles,” the Office Depot check as “supplies we needed” and the Cash check as “Petty Cash” issues that came up.  All the rest…well… there’s just no way he can find out about that stuff.   At least none that I can see.

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How to CATCH this Kind of Theft:

You can’t.

You can’t catch this kind of theft because you’ve given them a free pass to steal from you.  And since your bookkeeper has access to all of your most personal information – social security numbers, DOBs, Tax ID Numbers – you’ve just made it super easy for them to take anything they want in your name.   That means – YOU are responsible LEGALLY for EVERYTHING they’ve done.  The IRS says you owe money, and they have your legal signature on file…then you have to pay it or try to fight it.  It’s your signature. And if you lose, you have to pay penalties and interest on top of the paperwork they’ve filed.

Okay – you CAN catch this kind of theft, but you’ll need a professionals help after the fact to find out what that bad bookkeeper did.  Now you can PREVENT this kind of theft by NOT giving your signature stamp to anyone who has access to your checks, credit cards, or any kind of personal information.  Maybe that person is your office manager or receptionist.  Maybe you can give it to your accountant and make your bookkeeper go to them to get your signature.  Either way, by adding a second person to the mix whenever you go on vacation, thus giving the second person you’re signature stamp, you are taking steps to actively prevent embezzlement while you’re away.

AND REMEMBER – IF YOU EVEN SUSPECT BOOKKEEPING FRAUD, ASK YOUR ACCOUNTANT FOR HELP.  You’re not crazy.

Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper (Day 30) – The Double Payday Scam

Dear Diary,

Today was payday – the second since I’ve been here.  I figured it was about time to test the Double Payday Scam – to see if my boss would actually catch me.

So, I started the day by doing the Payroll.  Just like two weeks ago, I created and took all of the paychecks to the boss to sign.  He signed them, with only the occasional request to see a corresponding timecard…then he signed mine without question.

I took the checks back to my office and set mine aside.  Then, I printed up another paycheck that I took back to him.

“What’s this?” he asked me, glancing briefly at my double payday.

“It’s a replacement check.  I double-checked my income and realized that I had entered my withholdings incorrectly, and QuickBooks took out too much in taxes.  So I voided the other one and reprinted this one.”

“Okay,” he said, shrugging and then signing my check.

And just like that – Double payday.  If he had asked me to produce the voided check, I would have gone back to my office and voided the first check… but since he didn’t, he’ll never know.  Even if he opens the bank statement (which let’s face it, he probably won’t), he’ll see the extra paycheck and think he’s just looked at the same check twice.

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How to Catch the Double Payday Scam:

All a small business owner has to do to catch the Double Payday Scam is to ask to see the voided check, or to insist that you will void all checks personally.  They can then refile the checks, and you have protected yourself… it’s that simple.

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Click Here to Read the previous entry:  Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper (Day 14) – The Carnage Begins

Click Here to Read the Next Entry:  Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper (Day 40) – Stealing the Boss’s Identity

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Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper (Day 195) – The IRS

Betty Bookkeeper Headshot

Dear Diary,

Today I got a notice from the IRS.  Luckily, the receptionist passed the letter to me unopened before the boss saw it (she didn’t know what it was), and he doesn’t know it’s here.

Opening the letter, I was shocked.  The IRS said that the company owned payroll taxes on the paychecks for the last three months that I’ve been here, and since we hadn’t paid when we were supposed to, we now owe penalties and interest.  Apparently, payroll taxes are due within three business days of cutting payroll checks, and the IRS considers that money “they’re money.”  All I can say is…”WHOOPS!”

So now I have a dilemma.  Do I show the boss the letter and have him cut the check right away?  Or, do I just hide this letter and try to deal with it a little at a time, without the boss knowing?  Obviously, the first choice comes with the unfortunate consequence of the boss coming to believe that I don’t know how to do my job when I do (I mean – Seriously!  It was one simple mistake).  The latter choice means that he continues thinking I’m brilliant, and that the company is doing better in my hands…

Hmmmm…choices, choices.

Although, now that I think about it, I see a third option here.  I could always continue to fill out the payroll tax forms, but instead of cutting the IRS checks, I could just take the payroll tax money and enter the taxes as “Paid” in the bookkeeping program.  The boss will think that I’m paying the taxes, and I can make a little extra on the side.  Then, if the IRS does ever come calling, I can just explain it away as, “the bookkeeping program must have made an error in calculating the payroll taxes.”  After all, it’s not like the boss would expect me to stay on top of all the interest rates.

And how often does the IRS come calling?  I mean, Really?

You know what they say, “Ignorance is bliss.”

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Keeping a Clean Bill of Health with the IRS

I’ve often told my clients, “The IRS is an unforgiving mistress.”  Would this piss the IRS off to hear?  Sure…but I think they would rather keep their intimidating reputation than have people painting them as sweet and kind.

The facts are these…The IRS considers themselves debt collectors for the people.  The money that a business is supposed to pay does NOT belong to the business, but to the business’s employees the moment those checks are cut (at least in the IRS’s point of view).  What that means is, they will NOT negotiate on when you can and cannot pay payroll taxes.  You should pay it within three business days of the checks being cut, PERIOD.  And if you ask employees to hold off on cashing their checks until you can get some money in the bank account, you could suffer fines as high as $25,000 per Employee Check.  (Imagine it…your business is strapped for cash, and so you ask your employees to wait a week to cash their checks.  Then you fire a bad employee.  What will they do?  They’ll run to the IRS and report you, and BAM – bye, bye business.)

The point I’m dancing around here is that – YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE IRS!  You – whether you’re the bookkeeper or the business owner – need to make sure the taxes get paid on time.  Since payments can now be made over the phone directly from a checking account, the business owner will likely never see a payroll tax check to cut.  That means, the business owner needs to check up on their bookkeeper and make sure the taxes were paid, or you could suffer huge fines.

To Make Sure the IRS Taxes are Being Paid

This step merely comes down to one thing yet again. Open your bank statements and look at it.  You will probably see the payments listed near the top, detailed out as an EFTPS payment to the IRS.  It’s that simple.  If you don’t see the payments cut as often as payroll is cut, get it taken care of immediately.

One Last Note for Small Business Owners

The mistake of not paying the payroll taxes is VERY common with a lot of bookkeepers.  The biggest reason is that many bookkeepers are office managers that were handed a company’s check register and told to “take care of it.”  So, just because payroll taxes may not have been paid at your company, doesn’t mean your bookkeeper is an embezzler.  It could just mean that they aren’t on top of everything they’re supposed to be doing yet.  Make sure your bookkeeper is on top of the IRS forms, and definitely talk to your accountant for help.  That’s an accountants main job – to deal with the IRS.

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Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper – (Day 97) The Shell Company Scam

Betty Bookkeeper Headshot

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Dear Diary,

Another day, another dollar…or at least, another stolen dollar.

Well – I’ve had my own company for about two weeks now and I’ve made a couple thousand dollars skimming off the deposits.  The boss hasn’t noticed.  As far as he’s concerned, all of the invoices are paid, and I’m doing my job incredibly well.  In fact, I just passed the three month trial period, and the boss gave me a $0.50 an hour raise.  When he told me that, I felt like saying, “Really?  A whole $0.50 an hour.  You’re too kind.  Now I can buy that car I need.”  But instead, I didn’t.

Still, I do need a new car.  Fifty cents an hour is only an extra $1,040 per year.  That’s not even going to pay for a cup holder.  My car is breaking down and dying in the most inconvenient places, so I really just want to get a new car.  I don’t really need anything fancy, but the best cars are at least $20,000.  I need to figure out how to get a bigger down payment.  I want to put down at least $5,000, but the way things are going, that’s going to take a couple more weeks.  I have no idea if my car can make it a couple more weeks.

I thought about starting another business, but I don’t really want to pay another $100 or so for the licenses…plus, the time it takes to go to the bank and get another account…I’d rather not.

But I did come up with another idea.  I wrote a check to Johnson Hauling for $1,500.

“What’s this check for,” the boss asked me when I gave it to him to sign.  I had been hoping he wouldn’t notice it, since I slipped it in with a bunch of other checks.  But since he had…

“That’s a new vendor we’re using,” I told him.  “We needed to haul away a bunch of left over trash and remnants from the newest renovation project, and they were the best deal.  They delivered a trash can to the project, then hauled it away when they were done.”

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In case I didn’t mention it, the company I work for buys, renovates and sells houses.  So paying $1,500 to haul away remnants was not that uncommon.

“Okay,” he said, distracted as he signed the next check, and then the next.  Finally, he handed me the pile of checks and gave me a dismissive wave of his hand.

I left the office triumphant.  The truth was, I didn’t need to create another company because Johnson Hauling is my husband’s company.  The check that he had just written, I was able to cash at the bank because I’m a signer on the Johnson Hauling bank account.  My husband will never know that I got this money because I can just cash the check.  And the boss has never met my husband, so he has no idea that my husband and I have different last names.  The result… I am now $1,500 closer to buying my new car.

I think I’ll go test drive a Toyota Prius.  It’s a very energy efficient car.  After all, it’s my moral duty to save the planet.

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A Little More Information About This Kind of Scam:

This scam is commonly referred to as a shell company scam because the embezzler is paying a valid company for services that were never rendered or products that were never delivered.  Thus, the company is solid with a banking history while the transaction is nothing but air.  Any teller will cash that check without qualms and hand over the money to whomever’s name is on the account.

This scam is also often pulled when a payment is made to an individual or an employee.  The embezzler’s excuse might be that this person was just a subcontractor for the day and was paid under the table.  Many times, the embezzler will even go so far as to pay someone they are friends with, and then let the friend take a portion of the embezzled funds.  They can steal for a long time this way without getting caught, especially because the owner gets used to seeing that name.

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To Stop This Scam:

It’s important to do your homework.  If you don’t recognize the name of a company, or know anything about the transaction that took place, then ask questions – lots of questions. Ask who ordered the product or services.  Whoever requested the order – sometimes it might be another employee – it’s important to ask them why they placed that order.  Ask to see a Purchase Order, Shipping Receipt, or an Invoice from the company.  Go and look at the service that was done or the product that was delivered.  Talk to someone at the company for which the check is written too and make sure that they actually delivered the product or service.  A good rule of thumb is this… If the payment is for a new account – whether a vendor, employee, subcontractor, or customer – demand proof.  Make contact, or ask for paperwork.

Warning Signs:

  • If someone is colluding with the embezzler to steal from you, they may look you straight in the eye and lie about what they’ve done for your company.  That’s why it’s important to go with your gut when you meet someone.  If you don’t like them, “fire them.”
  • Also, if you ask for paperwork and it doesn’t have an address or phone number, be suspicious.  Valid companies automatically put their contact information on all their paperwork because they want to make sure they get paid – and if you can’t call them with questions, you won’t be paying.  So, ask for the invoice or statement, and be very, very slow at paying anyone you’re suspicious of.  Let them call you and demand payment when in doubt.

Diary of a Bad, Bad Bookkeeper: (Day 149) The Collusion Scam

Betty Bookkeeper Headshot

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Dear Diary,

Today was a not-so-great day.  Apparently, I have a partner now.  I never intended to have a partner, but it appears I have no choice in the matter.  Here’s what happened:

I was in my office (innocently shredding checks), when I suddenly heard a man say, “I know what you’re doing.”

Quickly slipping the leftover checks back into my desk drawer, I looked at him with my most innocent expression.  “What do you mean?” I asked sweetly.  It was Ernie, one of the flooring installers that handled the bigger clients.  He was considered the boss’s second-hand man.  “What do you think I’m doing?”

“You’re destroying the evidence.”

Crap.  How did he know? But I decided to play it cool.  “What evidence?” I scoffed.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Those checks you’re shredding are the checks you’ve forged.  Am I right?”

“Why would you say that?” I demanded, pretending to be affronted.

“Because I’ve seen all the signs before.  The new car…the fancy clothes.  You order lunch all the time instead of bringing it from home like the rest of us do.”  He glanced down the hall behind him, then stepped into my office, lowering his voice as he did.  “I know what you’re doing…and I want in.”

In?  Was he nuts? “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yeah, you do.  And you can either cut me in, or I’ll rat you out.”

Cold chills ran up and down my spine, and my palms were actually sweating.  I could tell by the smug look on his face that he knew he had me between a rock and a hard place.

“Look,” he continued, propping himself onto the edge of my desk and leaning toward me.  “You don’t have to tell me everything you’re doing.  I don’t really care.  I just want a piece of the action.  And I have the perfect way to do it.”

I narrowed my eyes.  “Oh yeah.  What’s that?” I asked.

“Simple.  I have a friend that runs his own construction company and can get us plenty of jobs.  You cut some checks to his company with an additional amount of money, and he’ll pay the rest of the money back to us.  The boss won’t ask questions because he’ll be able to see that the work is getting done, and we can make a tidy sum on the side.  So what do you say?  Should I call my friend?  Or should I call the boss?”

“The boss won’t believe you.  He trusts me 100%.”

“He trusted his last bookkeeper too – until I accused her of a few things.  And I’ve been here for seven years.  Who do you think he’s gonna believe?”

And just like that, I had a new partner.  But at least if we’re both stealing, he can’t accuse me of anything without me making a few accusations back.  I won’t be going down alone if he decides to betray me.

On the plus side, it is a quid pro quo situation. I help him make a little extra money, and he gets me new carpeting in my entire house.  I think I want purple…

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How to Stop the Collusion Scam:

Spotting and stopping the Collusion Scam is really difficult.  For one thing, the invoices that the bookkeeper receives will match the checks going out.  That makes embezzlement even more difficult for an auditor (or auditing accountant) to find because there’s legitimate backup and everything appears to be “on the up and up.”  For another thing, the money being paid out will not have your bookkeeper’s name on it, and the money they’ll be taking home will be coming from one or many of their colluding partners.

Therefore, to spot and stop this scam, you need to trust your gut.  Pay attention to who is hanging out in your bookkeeper’s office.  Most bookkeeping positions involve staring at a computer all day, and if someone is spending more time than necessary or usual, take note.  Begin observing that employee as well and see who they recommend as “work associates.”  Keep an eye out for how many checks they receive each month, and if those payments seem a bit high.  Also, look for signs that those employees are spending more money than they’re making.  Oftentimes, an employee’s spouse will make a lot more money than the employee, but there will be a consistent spending pattern if that is the case.  It’s the sudden changes you want to look for.

Also, since one of the easiest ways to stop embezzlement is to be the only person who opens bank statements as they come in, you want to keep an extra watchful eye out for checks to vendors or customers that also seem “a little too high.”  If you feel like a company is making too much money for various projects…shop around.  Call that company’s competitors and see what they would charge.  And stay open to switching vendors.  Because the truth is – you never know when someone is going to decide to steal from you…”by any means necessary.”

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