For the last few years, it has been a common sight to see numerous incidents of criminality, corruption and fraud in organisations.
Almost every few months, a new scandal is being unveiled in some form or the other. Financial crimes in organisations are becoming a serious threat. Criminals continue to look for new targets and opportunities to make money illegally.
For chartered accountants, understanding the problem is only half the battle won. The other half is in keeping criminals out!
Here are 5 ways that chartered accountants can stop criminal activity coming into their organisation:
1. Develop policies for sensitising workers to criminal activity
One of the first steps any organisation should take towards curbing criminality is making everyone within the organisation understands what activities are illegal and how they can be avoided.
If financial crime is rampant or is beginning to crop up, in your organisation, chartered accountants can work with management to develop policies for sensitising workers to such criminal activities.
Make sure workers are aware of this, whether it’s part of their induction training or whether you include it in internal memos. This will help prevent in-built criminality in your company.
2. Seek the causes of criminal activity
It’s not enough to know what criminal activities are occurring in your organisation. Chartered accountants must also seek to understand the reasons behind them. Why do people resort to these illegal acts?
For example, you might realise that most of the financial crimes committed by members of your workforce are motivated by their greed. In cases like these, you might wish to implement a strict code of conduct so as to prevent such perpetrators from indulging in further criminal activity.
In essence, accounting professionals should seek to understand what is happening before they can come up with solutions that can be applied across the board.
3. Secure and monitor financial data properly
Many criminals get their source of illegal information by making use of security loopholes in computer systems or networks that contain confidential information.
For example, a company’s financial data can be very sensitive and if it is not properly secured, a criminal might steal the information illegally. Accounts professionals must seek to plug any loopholes in security to stop criminals from making use of internal data for illegal means.
In addition to this, chartered accountants should also work hard on maintaining the confidentiality of sensitive information and ensuring that it is only made available to those who need to access it.
It is also important for a chartered accountant to control who has access to accounts.
4. Prepare a plan of action if an incident occurs
In case a crime does occur in the organisation, accounting professionals must be ready with a well thought out plan of response. This becomes all the more critical for larger organisations with many members or locations.
It’s important to make sure that company employees are updated about what they should do in case an incident occurs, whether it involves reporting the matter to the police or informing management about it. This will help prevent any further escalation of risk within your organisation.
5. Implement a risk matrix
To ensure that the strategies they are employing to keep criminal activity out of their company are working, it can be helpful for chartered accountants to implement a risk matrix.
For example, you could check the type of incidents happening in your organisation and rate them on a scale of ‘highly likely’ to ‘highly unlikely’. This will help you and your company to focus on areas where crime is likely to be occurring.
With this knowledge, you can then prioritise the steps that need to be taken in order to prevent criminal activity in your company.
This includes implementing controls for auditing, monitoring, implementing policies with sensitisation campaigns, tightening systems controls for safe data handling and ensuring that your organisation is prepared to tackle any incidents of crime head-on.
So, there you have it – the most effective ways in which chartered accountants the organisation’s own fight against crime.
The above tips can be used to create an effective blueprint for stopping criminal activity in its tracks and ensure that your company remains safe.