Stop, Look, and Listen

Reading Between the Lines of Office Communications

By Joseph R. Dervaes

joseph-dervaes-50x50.jpg   Fraud’s Finer Points   

There’s never enough time to explore every angle on an engagement. Skilled fraud examiners understand this limitation and prioritize their work accordingly. They also make it a habit to stop, look, and listen for red flags when communicating with staff.

Fraud comes in many shapes and sizes, and there can be a wide variety of attributes to pursue when searching for clues. Detection tools can include analytical procedures or scanning documents and accounting records. But sometimes we overlook the obvious. In this column, I want to focus on the office environment – specifically, how staff members communicate with you and your team. You must continually observe your surroundings and listen to not only what staff members are saying (or not saying) but also the tone of these communications. If fraud is present, what employees are communicating (and not communicating) could point you to the heart of the problem.

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