Protecting Business Assets

Over the years, our firm has assisted many small businesses who have been victims of theft. Sadly, many of these small companies were not able to financially recover from such a loss, and, as a result, were forced out of business.

What can be done to help small businesses?

We often wonder, if the times were different and these damages occurred today, would we be able to implement internal controls to assist in the prevention of the losses and ultimately preserve these business owner’s assets? I believe that with today’s technology, we have the tools to help small businesses with this task. The “cloud” provides a level playing field for all businesses and these benefits, such as the separation of employee’ tasks, are no longer solely available to large companies. By utilizing cloud-based software while integrating different processes, we can separate employees’ duties, thus providing better internal controls and making it more difficult for individuals to have total control over all of the business’s assets. Providing employees with role-based permissions limits their access to specific assets. Role-based permissions are extremely useful to small firms that have only a single employee.

The cloud can provide companies with the necessary tools that save time as well as money. Businesses can provide all of their vendors with a secure fax number to send invoices instead of receiving bills in the mail at their office or post office box. This approach eliminates the need to pay an employee to receive the mail, open the envelopes, enter the information into accounting software and ultimately issue a check. Outsourcing your accounts payable processes can provide even more control over the company’s workflow while eliminating the cost of paying an employee.

Issuing paper checks are a risky proposition

Many businesses still pay their vendors and workers with hand-written or computer-generated checks. In today’s society, this is an insecure and inefficient way to pay any transaction. Each check issued contains enough details to provide fraudsters with the necessary information to access your bank account. Case in point: Every check you issue to your many vendors contains your bank’s routing number, your company’s bank account number and the owner’s signature. Finally, these documents need to be mailed. Postal rates continue to rise. Your mail should only be given to a postal employee or delivered to a secure mail facility. Driving to a mailbox can be costly. No one should ever leave checks in an insecure mailbox outside their office. Additionally, parcels can get lost in the mail and late charges can be incurred.

Is there a better way of doing business?

Yes, there is a better, faster and simpler way to do business.

Online banking provides a secure way to pay all bills via your bank’s bill-pay system. Paying bills electronically is safer and quicker than issuing payment by way of a written check. A downside can occur when your bank’s electronic payments system does not integrate with your business’ accounting records. It is a time-consuming process to manually enter the same data multiple times, especially when many checks are issued every month.

Outsourcing your accounts payable has many advantages.

  1. A company does not have to deal with the time-consuming process of data entry and issuing payments
  2. Management retains total control over the A/P process
  3. The procedure is secure
  4. Outsourcing can be used to segregate employee’s duties, thus providing more internal controls
  5.  Employees can then devote their time to more productive tasks like customer service
  6. Cash flow is better managed
  7. Bills are paid by the due date, thereby eliminating costly late charges
  8.  Digital records are available 24/7 and from any Internet-enabled device

Cloud-based tools that are available today can assist business growth by providing valuable internal controls and needed workflow efficiencies. By leveraging these cloud-based tools, companies can position themselves to be more competitive.

Patricia Cuchiaro