Using Data Analysis to Catch Fraud

If you’ve ever thought you might need to find an auditing firm, this story might encourage to take the next step. Recently, a team of forensic accountants, who serve as financial detectives, started going through refunds that were issued by a national call center and found something might be askew. There were too many fours in the data, and it was their job to find out why.

It wasn’t that long ago that a subtle anomaly like that would have easily slipped by unnoticed, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, employee fraud is estimated to cost the country an estimated $300 billion a year, so forensic accountants are coming up with new ways to catch those who are trying to cheat.

In this case it seems, there were several hundred operators across the nation that were authorized to issue refunds up to $50, anything more than that required the permission of a supervisor. Due to the large number of refunds issued, there was the opportunity for theft, so the accountants took a further look into the validity of the payments using a test called Benford’s law.

The test is based on the fact that low digits are expected to occur far more frequently than high digits. According to the law, ones should account for 30% of leading digits, while each successive number should represent a progressively smaller proportion, with the nines coming last.

For certain operators, the refunds weren’t following this law. The accountants discovered a huge spike in the number of fours, leading them to believe there were a lot of refunds issued just below $50. They ultimately identified a number of operators who’d issued fraudulent refunds to themselves, friends and family members that totaled several hundred thousand dollars. Before the analysis took place, no one had a clue there was a problem.

Companies that find an auditing firm, employing them to examine their accounts, can potentially save an organization thousands of dollars, making capital markets more efficient and ensuring that if there is any cheating going on that it’s addressed right away.

Read the full article about how they caught fraud on the WSJ.

If you’d like to find an auditing firm contacting can help you get started in ensuring the financial health of your company in the most stress-free manner possible.

Importance of an Honest Bookkeeper and How to Find the Right One

trust is an important factor when you need to find a bookkeeper

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In a world where trust is a luxury that can be hard to find, being able to work with someone you can put your faith in is especially treasured. While this is true in for any industry or position, it’s even more so when money is handled and the future of livelihoods and a business could be at stake.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find headlines revealing that yet another bookkeeper is being charged with stealing thousands of dollars – sometimes by making off with cash payments, taking inventory or even through elaborate skimming schemes.

If you find a bookkeeper that is dishonest or incompetent, it can cause your organization to lose money or even set it up for financial disaster. A single miscalculation or a misplaced decimal point can be catastrophic. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s better for you to handle the job yourself. If you’re the owner of the business, your time is better spent on taking care of tasks that you do best, like growing your organization – and, if you don’t have extensive experience and training in bookkeeping, you could easily make mistakes yourself, damaging your own business.

If you think that you can find a bookkeeper that’s trustworthy by hiring a friend, your spouse or another family member, keep in mind that that’s often not the best idea either. Unless they have an extensive background in bookkeeping as a professional, there’s a good chance that your books will be incorrectly completed, and some mistakes can have devastating effects on your cash flow.

The good news is that for every bookkeeper that is doing it wrong, there are many more that are honest, competent and doing business the right way. The easiest way to find a bookkeeper who can be trusted to do the job right, is to turn to who can help you find the very best one for your business by utilizing sophisticated search features. Not only will you be able to choose the one that’s right for you and your organization, over the long run you’ll likely save a substantial amount of money that you can reinvest back into your business.

Debra Doble Featured Accountant in Pleasanton, California

If you need to find an accountant in Pleasanton, California, but don’t know where to start in order to find the right one, you’ll be happy to hear about our next featured accountant. Debra Doble has been a partner with Sallmann, Yang & Alameda since 1999 and previously managed a local CPA firm for 12 years. She offers a wide range of outstanding accounting services for individuals as well as for businesses.

Business accounting services

Running a successful small business requires an extensive amount of time and energy, which must be used optimally in order to succeed. Utilizing business accounting services offered by Debra Doble can help you take your business to the next level. She can assist companies through their full lifecycle, from initial formation to succession planning or dissolution.

If you’re just starting out, she can offer advice surrounding business formation including the preparation of a business plan, cash flow projections and bank negotiations.

Doble can also prepare three types of financial statements, Compilation, Review and Audit, which can be an excellent tool to help ensure your business is run more effectively. She’s available to help with all types of needs, including budgets, pension plan accounting, accounting system design and more.

Tax planning and preparation

Debra Doble can also prepare your federal and multi-state returns as well as tax projections, estimated tax payment calculations and extensive year round tax planning to minimize or defer taxes. She can eliminate the stress that comes at tax time while ensuring you’re in compliance as well as maximizing deductions.

Retirement and estate planning

Individuals can benefit not only from Doble’s tax planning and preparation services, but with retirement and estate planning. Whether you’re just starting out or have been planning for many years, she can help you evaluate your goals and guide you to your desired results. She can also help you plan out your estate in order to ensure that everything is allocated the way you want them.

If you’d like to find out more about Debra Doble, and how she might help you, just head to her Good Accountants featured profile. That’s the quickest and easiest way to get in touch with this outstanding accountant in Pleasanton, California.

Michael S. Fedele: Featured Accountant in Homewood, Illinois

You’re in luck if you need to find an accountant in Homewood, Illinois. Our next featured accountant, Michael S. Fedele, may be just the professional you need, offering a wide variety of accounting services that can help you and your business achieve success.

Fedele founded his organization, Fedele and Associates in 1996. It’s since become a leader among small accounting firms throughout the Chicagoland area, combining quality with affordability. He serves publicly and privately owned clients in many different industries from construction and real estate to medical, educational institutions, manufacturing companies and more.

Financial auditing

If you’re in need of financial audits, Fedele is one of the best you can turn to, specializing in this service by performing the highest quality financial audits as well as outstanding reports with full disclosures in the notes so that you can present your company to creditors and third parties in a professional and impressive fashion.

In connection with financial auditing, his firm has extensive experience with some of the most difficult accounting and reporting problems for big and small companies throughout many industries. Fedele and Associates can help you reorganize your business, increase revenue, reduce costs and streamline your operations to help it become more profitable.

Tax services

Fedele also provides a wide range of tax services that goes far beyond simple tax preparation. He can help with everything from money and tax saving strategies to estate tax preparation, consultation and wealth maximization. Whether you have unfiled tax returns, are facing an audit, tax liens or other issues, Fedele can help resolve your problems and get you back on track.

Full scope business strategies

Whether you’re just starting your business or are at any other point in its lifecycle, Fedele can provide services that will help you achieve success, including everything from new business set up and development to business strategy consulting and solutions, full service payroll, operation streamlining strategies, fraud investigation and research, and much more.

If you’d like to find out more about Michael S. Fedele and how he can help you, the easiest way to do that is through his Good Accountants featured profile. Get in touch with this outstanding accountant in Homewood, Illinois today, and you’ll likely wish you hadn’t waited so long