Five prac­ti­cal steps to pro­tect your busi­ness from in­voice fraud

Australasian Timber - - ASSOCIATIONS -

IN­VOICE FRAUD has be­come preva­lent, with sto­ries of fake in­voices and email fraud hit­ting the news al­most daily. Small-to medi­um­sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) with­out au­to­mated in­voice man­age­ment soft­ware can be at risk of suf­fer­ing in­voice fraud. said, “SMEs are at the great­est risk of in­voice fraud, es­pe­cially as many con­tinue to rely on pa­per­based pro­cesses and spread­sheets to com­plete sup­plier in­voice ad­min­is­tra­tion,” says Matt Goss, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, ANZ, Con­cur.

“In­voice fraud can have sig­nif­i­cant ram­i­fi­ca­tions and ham­per the busi­ness’s abil­ity to op­er­ate by sti­fling cash flow.” Con­cur has iden­ti­fied five prac­ti­cal tips to pro­tect the busi­ness from in­voice fraud: 1. Be cau­tious with new sup­pli­ers If the com­pany has not worked with a sup­plier be­fore, ad­min­is­tra­tive staff should be ex­tra vig­i­lant. Take the time to check in with the per­son who or­dered the goods, and en­sure the sup­plier de­tails and in­voice to­tals match the agreed costs. 2. Be cu­ri­ous and sus­pi­cious Run an in­ter­net search to check that the sup­plier is a le­git­i­mate busi­ness and look up their ABN on the gov­ern­ment web page (http://www. abr.busi­­dex.aspx). A sim­ple step like call­ing the phone num­ber pro­vided on the in­voice can help alert you to scams. 3. Be wary of a change in process Any time a sup­plier no­ti­fies you of a change in bank­ing de­tails, com­pany name, or ad­dress, val­i­date the new de­tails di­rectly with the main con­tact at the sup­plier. Where pos­si­ble, work with the per­son within the busi­ness that or­dered the goods or ser­vices. 4. Re-ex­am­ine cur­rent in­voice pro­cesses Re­view how the ac­counts payable (AP) team pro­cesses in­voices. As­sess if there are op­por­tu­ni­ties to move the more fal­li­ble, pa­per- and spread­sheet-based steps to a sim­pler, au­to­mated model. Sup­plier changes can be ap­proved and mon­i­tored in an au­to­mated AP model. Aside from sav­ing a con­sid­er­able amount of time, cen­tral­is­ing in­voic­ing and pay­ment de­tails will re­duce the avail­able con­tact points where fraud can oc­cur. 5. Spend time on re­port­ing Run reg­u­lar re­ports to see what types of in­voices are be­ing paid each month, and for how much. Scru­ti­nise what is be­ing spent and where, and look out for ab­nor­mal­i­ties. If any big-ticket items stand out or the busi­ness has spent more in a cer­tain cat­e­gory than nor­mal, it may be worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing. With an au­to­mated so­lu­tion, busi­nesses can run th­ese re­ports quickly and fre­quently. Util­is­ing one AP plat­form will also let busi­nesses spot key trends and dis­crep­an­cies. “Some of the key signs of in­voice fraud are: dif­fer­ent bank de­tails on in­voices, bills for di­rec­tory list­ings, ad­ver­tis­ing, do­main name re­newals, of­fice sup­plies, or tax lodg­ings that the com­pany did not or­der or place. It is im­por­tant for busi­nesses to be vig­i­lant, re­view their in­voic­ing pro­ce­dures and reg­u­larly mon­i­tor in­voices to avoid this type of fraud,” Mr Goss said.

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