As many of our blog readers know, at Edoc, we partner with our clients and our suppliers. In our latest series, we’re highlighting some of our partners, including the expertise they bring to the table. This week, we interviewed John Eberhart, Partner, Director of Accounting & Auditing at Cassady Schiller & Associates, our CPA firm.
Read on to discover what Eberhart says is the difference between prevention and detection when it comes to fraud, as well as the top 5 ways you can work to prevent fraud in your organization. (Then be sure to stay tuned to learn more about our Edoc Back Office Coach offering, which supports many of the prevention efforts described here.)
Edoc Service, Inc.: Can you share your role with readers?
Eberhart: I am an audit partner with Cassady Schiller and Associates, a Cincinnati based CPA and advisory services firm. In my role, I am responsible for the coordination and delivery of assurance services provided to our business clients, which comprise of commercial companies, not for profit organizations and employee benefit plans.
In addition to providing assurance services to my clients, I provide business advisory and consulting services, including assistance with mergers & acquisitions, compensation planning and financial/cash flow forecasting.
Edoc Service, Inc.: Can you share the difference between prevention and detection when it comes to fraud?
Eberhart: Prevention is the first and most effective line of defense against fraud. Organizations should implement procedures and controls that help prevent fraud from occurring in the first place.
For example, if you want to prevent an employee from issuing a company check to himself, establish an appropriate level of review and approval in the disbursement process so that that person isn’t in a position to commit the fraud. Detection is the second line of defense.
Even well designed prevent controls cannot completely mitigate the risk of fraud. As a result, company’s need to implement detect controls. For example, in the event an employee is able gain unauthorized access to the Company’s checkbook, the Company may be able to detect any unauthorized disbursements by having someone independent of the disbursement process review the Company’s bank account activity on a timely basis.
Edoc Service, Inc.: And what are some of the top internal controls companies should consider implementing to prevent internal fraud?
Eberhart: Here are 5:
- Establish the correct tone at the top
- Segregate duties
- Periodically rotate job responsibilities
- Require authorization for transactions
- Secure access to company assets
Edoc Service, Inc.: When it comes to internal fraud, what else might surprise people to know?
Eberhart: Most fraud is detected by tips from fellow employees. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to fraud as they tend to have fewer resources that large companies to prevent and detect fraud.
About John Eberhart
John Eberhart is the Partner in charge of Accounting & Auditing at Cassady Schiller, a Cincinnati based CPA & Advisory firm. Prior to joining Cassady Schiller in 2010, he spent several years in corporate accounting roles with totes Isotoner and Convergys. Earlier in his career, John spent ten years with Ernst & Young, including 3 years with Ernst & Young’s German practice.
Throughout his career, John has worked with a diverse group of companies ranging from small to large, domestic to international and privately held to publicly held, primarily in the manufacturing and retail sectors. In addition, John has extensive experience auditing employee benefit plans. Specializing in accounting, financial reporting and internal controls, John has extensive experience with mergers and acquisitions and preparing companies for initial public offerings. Drawing from his prior experience as a controller, John enjoys working with his clients to find practical solutions to complex accounting and business issues.
Kim Sykes is a marketer and content creator at Edoc Service Inc, a total virtual company.