SUBMITTED BY Drew Gillow

All it takes is one unethical employee to defraud a company of nearly $1 million. One British company learned that lesson the hard way, but you don’t have to. Read on to find out how your company can protect itself from fraud.

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An employee of a City of London company who processed fake invoices worth £670,000 (approximately $922,000) was sentenced to two years and six months in prison for conspiracy to defraud. Shazeb Iqbal, 23, pleaded guilty to processing 29 fake invoices between July and August 2017 which appeared to come from the personal assistant to the CEO of his employer. The company conducted an internal investigation and discovered that all of the fake invoices, which purported to be from various companies, were processed instantly by Iqbal. This was suspicious as most invoices were not usually processed until hours, or even days, after being received. Alarm bells were raised, and thankfully Iqbal was brought to justice.

As we have discussed in previous posts, the three keys to effective anti-fraud solutions are:

  • Data integration
  • Automation
  • Analytics

An Accounts Payable Invoice Automation (APIA) system has the ability to do all three. When accounting and finance teams have access to well-documented, auditable data and comprehensive reporting, they are able to notice anomalies like a pattern of instant approval of invoices from a single approver. APIA offers more accurate data capture, workflow automation, and improved controls and adherence to policy through a well-constructed approval matrix.

All actions taken on individual payables, including how long it takes for an individual to process an invoice, are tracked and possess an easily accessible audit trail. Regular audits are essential to noticing patterns and uncovering fraud. Automation provides quick and easy digital access to all of the documents and data needed for these audits. Not only do authorized users have the ability to track invoices, note escalations, and run reports, but they can do so anytime, from all over the world, and even from their mobile devices. It’s because of diligent and watchful internal auditors that the fake invoices and their uncommonly fast approval was noticed and brought to the attention of the authorities.

Whether or not you have thousands of employees or just a few hundred, it only takes one bad person to commit fraud on a large scale. Do you have the internal policies and procedures in place to detect fraud? If not, the right APIA solution could go a long way towards protecting you and your company.

Contact us for more information about how APIA can offer you data integration, workflow automation, and enhanced analytics.
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