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How to ensure that your accountant is being honest.

Having an honest accountant is key to the success of your company. We have all read horror stories in the newspaper and seen them on the news about how a dishonest accountant managed to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions of dollars, from companies through simple yet fraudulent accounting deceits. This crime has brought down many a company or an organization, and even though a dishonest accountant can be caught, the damage caused is essentially impossible to repair.

When it comes down to it, you ultimately have to trust your accountant and that she or he knows what to do and will be honest when it comes to your company or your organization's finances. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow in order to ensure that your accountant is being honest.


Steps to ensure that your accountant is being honest with your company finances

1. Hire the right accountant by taking preventative measures.

Your relationship with a reliable and an honest accountant begins with the employment process itself. When you are looking to hire a new accountant, there are several ways that you can approach the situation that will help you find one who is honest.

When interviewing candidates for the position, make sure that the candidate is accredited. Check up on references to make sure that the licensing organizations and the accounting schools listed on the applicant's resume really do have record of the applicant's time. If licensing or graduation was recent, ask to talk to instructors about the applicant.

Ask the applicant extensive questions about experience. Has the applicant had a lot of different jobs? This could be demonstrative of a problem, or it could be indicative of excellent performance. Call up previous employees. Ask about any problems or concerns, even suspicions, about the honesty of the applicant. If any hesitancy is noted by previous employers, then it is time to move to the next applicant.

2. Install oversight measures and procedures to ensure honesty in the accounting department.

Complete transparency is key and vital when it comes to your accounting procedures and departments. As an employer, or as a manager of an organization's office, it is up to you to consistently and frequently review the numbers produced by your accountant.

Never assume that accountants will not make mistakes. Require monthly reports to be filed by your accountant or your accounting department. Don't just let your accountant hand over a few sheets of paper; ask to have each and every figure explained to your carefully. If you have any questions or feel confused about a particular figure, ask for complete explanation and clarification.

Require complete and extensive documentation for all expenses and all incoming profit. All receipts, for purchasing orders, purchasing cards, payroll expenses, and petty cash funds must be kept and carefully recorded.

You should also have several levels of oversight that ultimately end in you, yet include an oversight committee. If an accountant is required to regularly report, and to back up all figures with documentation, then you can be better prepared to trust your accountant.

As an employer or as a manager, it is also your responsibility to be well informed about all of the different types of expenses and profits that are going on within your organization. Knowing the terminology and being fully involved in all aspects of the organization ensures that you don't have to rely completely on other people to explain things to you. This reliance on others offers the opportunity for dishonesty and manipulation on the part of your accountant.

Education and information are the keys to ensuring that your accountant is honest.

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