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How small business owners can prevent white-collar crime

As a small business owner, you are likely already taking steps to prevent crime within your company. You may take actions to curb shoplifting, sexual harassment and burglary. However, you should not neglect the threat of white-collar crimes. White-collar offenses impact approximately 36 percent of businesses, and 25 of households, according to research from the National White Collar Crime Center.

It is possible for your employees to partake in various white-collar offenses, such as embezzlement or fraud. You and other executives may also inadvertently commit offenses such as tax fraud, money laundering and forgery. No matter how white-collar crime occurs within your organization, you may be ultimately liable for it as the owner. Take notice of these tips to protect against white-collar crime in your business.

Implement audits

Audits can go a long way in preventing any mishandling of company assets. It is best to use independent, third-party accountants to conduct these audits. Ideally, these audits should occur at random times so potential offenders do not expect them and attempt to hide illicit behavior. This ensures one person does not have too much power over the finances and bookkeeping at your company. 

Use verification systems

If you rely on one employee to handle all checks, contracts and financial transactions, you may want to consider implementing some type of verification system to keep things in order. One good strategy is to require two signatures on documents regarding finances. This makes sure that more than one individual is aware of disbursements. 

Be truthful and transparent about finances

It can be tempting to stretch the truth about company financials, especially during times of cash-flow problems. Whether seeking loans, creating financial reports or paying taxes, it is vital to be honest about your finances at all times. 

You may want to consult professionals to enact a white-collar crime prevention policy that tackles the unique issues your business faces, but these guidelines are a good place to start.