Is Your Business Fraud-Proof?

No small business owner wants to believe that their profits could be disappearing under the table – and certainly not by employees they trust. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) 2014 Global Fraud Study revealed that organizations lose a median of 5% of revenues each year due to business fraud. And it’s not just revenue.

Businesses also suffer indirect costs, including decreased employee morale and productivity as well as effects on their brand and reputation. Bigger companies have learned that if they want to succeed, they have to do the things necessary to prevent fraud before it happens.

As a small business owner, you may have limited time and resources to dedicate to the cause, but with even just a little effort, you can take the following steps to fraud proof your business just as effectively as the big guys:

Hire competent & trustworthy employees.

Learn as much as you can about a potential employee’s character through background checks (criminal history, civil history/fraud-related lawsuits) their employment history, education and references.

Implement internal checks & balances.

When two or more employees are responsible for the financial duties, it helps to eliminate the risk of a single employee embezzleing funds without anyone noticing.

Perform audits.

Periodic audits, whether scheduled or unscheduled, are the best way to detect and deter fraud. Schedule an external audit at least once a year.

Implement an anonymous reporting policy.

Create an environment where employees can feel safe to anonymously report suspected incidents of fraud within your company without feeling like they are risking their job or peer relationships.

Enforce mandatory vacations.

An employee who never takes time off work is a red flag for fraud. Safeguard your company by implementing a policy that requires all employees to take at least five consecutive days of vacation each year.

Take Security to the Next Level with Sage 50

Sage 50  has features that are designed to help you protect your business:

  1. Built-in audit trail – Keep a transaction history so you can see when a person enters, edits, or removes data. This not only helps you find mistakes and determine appropriate employee training, but also alerts you to fraudulent activity that may require action.
  2. User profiles – Specific profiles will ensure employees only have access to certain areas. If you have a lot of employees, create role-based profiles to save time.  Either way, select from over 100 specific areas to give add, edit, view-only or no-access rights. To get there, go to System -> Set Up Security Now.
  3. Internal accounting review – This feature searches data for potential mistakes or fraudulent activity and allows you to generate comprehensive reports. To use this feature, go to System, in the Data Integrity section find Internal Accounting Review and click on Run Report.

When it comes to preventing fraud, it’s your job to foster a culture that places an importance on honesty and integrity. Don’t take a lax approach. Your employees are watching you; set an example as a leader and stick to the policies and procedures put in place. This will help everyone get on the same page when it comes to preventing and eliminating fraud.

 

 

photo attribution: © tashatuvango/depositphotos

Affordable Care Act Reporting Requirements

Are you up to speed on the mandates, penalties and new reporting requirements for individuals and businesses? If you’re a business that employs fewer than 50 people, you may not be aware of (or even understand) the punitive business provisions that do not apply to the roughly 96% of business owners like yourself.

How do Mandates/Credits Affect Me?

Businesses with fewer than 25 employees, can qualify for a credit of up to 50% in 2015, if you meet the following requirements:

  • Have fewer than 25 full-time employee equivalents (FTEs)
  • Not be a member of a controlled group with more than 24 FTEs
  • Have average annual wages for FTEs less than $50,800 (inflation adjusted)
  • Pay 50% or more of the cost of employer offered qualified health plan (QHP)
  • Offer QHP through a SHOP Exchange (for years after 2013)
  • Have not previously claimed the credit in two consecutive years (after 2013)

For businesses with 50 or more employees, the penalties are phased in: To be subject to a penalty in 2015, you must have employed 100 full-time and full-time equivalent employees in 2014. In 2016, that number drops to 50 full-time and full-time equivalent employees in 2015.

What you need to know about reporting employee health care benefits

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) means a new set of tax forms for business owners, and it’s now a requirement to report the types and extent of coverage being offered to employees. While 2014 was an optional year for reporting, that all changes for 2015 as the ACA’s reporting and coverage mandates will be enforced, and business owners like yourself need to understand exactly what is required.

Sage 50 can help you track and report health insurance information and the required 1094 and 1095 forms are expected to be available in time for year-end reporting in Sage 50 Pro, Premium and Quantum editions 2014 or higher.

Form W-2

You must report the cost of health care coverage under an employer-sponsored group health plan in box 12 using code DD.  The amount should include both the portion paid by the employer as well as the portion paid by the employee. This requirement has been in effect since 2012 and was meant to provide employees useful and comparable consumer information on the cost of their health care coverage. Sage 50 allows for easy reporting employer-paid health insurance on W-2 forms.  

Section 6055

Insurers, government agencies and employers of any size who sponsor self-insured group health plans must use forums 1094-B be and 1095-B to report the minimum essential coverage they provide to the IRS and to all covered individuals

Section 6056

Any applicable large employer regardless of whether it’s a tax exempt or government entity must use forms 1094-C and 1095-C to report the health insurance coverage offered to the IRS and to their full-time employees

Understanding all of the rules associated with the Affordable Care Act can be confusing. The good news is that incorrect filings will not be penalized for calendar year 2015 filing (reported in 2016) if you file on time and make a good faith effort to comply.

The Power of Customized Reporting

Put the Power of Customized Reporting to Work for You

If you’re like most small business owners, you might oftentimes find yourself feeling overwhelmed when it comes to effectively managing accounting, inventory, customers and employees. That in itself can be a full-time job.

Add running reports and analyzing all your business data to that task list and it can be down right daunting.  We are all familiar with added stress, which can also lead us to question whether we’re making sound business decisions. Are we even looking at the right data?

With the right accounting methods and software, you can rest easier. One of the most trusted is Sage 50 Quantum. It offers one of the most comprehensive reporting solutions available to small businesses,  providing access to all business information in one place. Sage 50 Intelligence Reporting (formerly knows as Sage Business Intelligence) works just like the Microsoft® Excel we’re all used to, and it’s right there within Sage 50 Quantum accounting software. (Did someone say, “pivot tables”?)

Custom Design Almost Any Report You Need

Is this different than the customized reporting feature already in Sage 50? Yes. Sage Intelligence Reporting (IR) is a supplement to the 140+ reports already available within Sage 50. And IR functionality is included Sage 50 Quantum.

When you finally get that report just right, save it and it will update real time… every single time you need it. Even combine auto reports and dashboards with KPIs – even from multiple divisions, modules and companies!

Sage 50 even has a report designer that makes life oh, so easy. With its drag-and-drop feature, reporting is simple, flexible and fast because you have the ability to customize your financial report layouts instantly.

Put the power of Sage Intelligence Reporting to work for your business so you can:

  • Get faster answers to your business questions
  • Access business metrics reports when and where you need them
  • Provide fast, invaluable detail for intuitive decision-making
  • Stay on top of cash flow
  • Gain insight into your unique customer behavior
  • Identify cross-selling and up-selling opportunities
  • Streamline operations and improve efficiency