Hire Right, But Don't Stop There!
Getting the right people is the first step. But then follow these guidelines:
- Check references, do background checks.
- Have a written policy and procedure manual, including an ethics statement; update it, enforce it, and have all employees sign that they have received a copy, read it and understand that failure to abide by it will be grounds for termination and possible prosecution.
- One positive step to protect your business from fraud is to create a formal Employee Handbook spelling out all policies, procedures and your expectation of ethical behavior.
- Create a simple, straightforward ethical code of conduct for your firm. Include things like honesty and fair dealing, specifics like employing relatives, accounting for expenses, confidentiality.
Sample Business Ethics Statement
"Our customers are the reason we exist.
Our success depends on meeting our customers' needs, treating them fairly and honestly and providing excellence in both products and services.
We are committed to the highest ethical standards and demonstrate consistent integrity in all our interactions with customers, suppliers, stakeholders, co-workers and the community."
- Include in the Handbook, along with the ethics statement and policies, some work rules. See our discussion of work rules.
In the Business Tools area is a sample work rules that you can use to develop a set of rules that are appropriate for your business.
- Enforce the separation/rotation of duties among employees.
- Don't be too trusting. Skepticism is a useful tool.
- Open all the mail yourself.
- Sign all the checks yourself, if at all possible.
- Remove any and all temptations.
- Set a good, honest example. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) calls this setting the Tone at the Top!
- Keep an open line of communication with employees at all level of the business. And don't stop there. Keep in touch with customers and suppliers as well.
- Security is a daily task . . . like housekeeping! Protect passwords . . . don't keep them under your keyboard or taped to your monitor! And please, don't use your pet's name or your kid's name or your birthday. Change locks occasionally.
Defensive Detection & Documentation
Prevention: Your Best Option
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