QuickBooks Can Help You Avoid Accounting Fraud

cybersecurityUse The Right Tools for The Job

Following on the heels of our last article on general accounting fraud, Stapley Accounting also talked with us about tools available in QuickBooks Online to help prevent fraud. As a Quickbooks Certified Advisor, they know the program and its many functions. Here’s what they told us about the tools currently available.

Quickbooks Fraud Tools

1. The Audit Trail

The audit trail is a report you can generate to track any changes made to the deposits made through the system. The audit trail report will log all changes to transactions, such as payee and dollar amounts. You will be able to see when changes were made to your records at a glance.

2. Missing Checks Report

All your checks are numbered, so if someone cashes a fraudulent check, there will be a gap in the check numbers. This report will zero in on those gaps and alert you to when checks may be in circulation that aren’t being recorded in your system. If someone steals a check from you, you’ll know.

3. Voided/Deleted Transaction History

Many frauds will try to cover their tracks by deleting records. This report will keep track of any transactions that have been voided or deleted. If someone tries to take money from a transaction and hide it by deleting the records, this report will expose the activity.

a man checking accounting records for fraud
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko

4. Reconciliations Discrepancy Reports

Because online banking makes it possible to check our accounts daily, we often forget about monthly reconciliation for bank and credit card accounts. This report will help you keep up with those monthly reconciliations. Compare your banking records with your business records to search out discrepancies in where money is going. It helps maintain your oversight over your business transactions and gives you an extra layer of protection from fraud.

5. Bank Feed For Credit Cards

If you use this tool to create a credit card liability account for each of you business credit cards, you can monitor any transactions by downloading a record of those transactions at any time. You won’t have to wait for a statement from your bank or credit union to see what’s being done. This lets you catch unauthorized transactions faster and prevent them from being hidden from you.

6. Customize and Restrict Permissions

As we send in our previous article, controlling access to your system is critical to making sure nobody is in a position to cover their tracks on their own. QuickBooks has a function that lets you customize the permissions of every user registered to your company. You can dictate what they have access to and what they can edit. You can, for example, make sure the people who enter transactions into the records do not have permission to authorize them. By controlling those permissions, you keep any single person from being able to fraudulently authorize money transfers.

Bonus Tip: Keep Your Software Updated

look in the settings tab for software updatesLike all software, QuickBooks is just a set of instructions for a machine to follow. It doesn’t have the capacity to spot suspicious activity unless it follows steps known to it. It also can’t help catch anything if someone manages to break its security protection and access the system with additional permissions. This is part of the constant cybersecurity war software manufacturers face.

Cybercriminals are always finding new ways to exploit the code to gain unauthorized access, especially for programs that control money. In response, software companies are always creating new updates to correct security vulnerabilities they discover. To make sure your system is safe, you need to keep up to date with the latest patches. QuickBooks Online users will find their system handles these updates automatically, but if you’re working with the desktop version, you might need to manually update the system. Be sure to check and make sure your system is always updated with the latest version to keep yourself ahead of cyber-criminals.

Be Aware of Accounting Fraud

All of these tools are useful, but you still have to pay attention. That means you have to be aware of and watch for accounting fraud. While having all these tools at your disposal makes it easier to manage you can still overlook something if you get careless. As we said in the previous article, one of the best ways to keep on your toes is to know your employees. Have a strong working relationship with your accountant and bookkeeper. That way, you will have better insight into the behavioral signs that signal something might be up.

Good business is knowing the people who work for you just as much as it is knowing your business’s records.