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Whistle-blower hotlines are vital to deter business fraud.

Byline: Rosemary Lamaestra

Of that 40 percent, 53 percent of the tips were provided by employees of the victimized organizations.

Unfortunately, those with knowledge of criminal or unethical behavior often fear being identified or retaliated against, so a reporting program with anonymity is paramount. Tipsters also need to know that reports of suspicious activity will be promptly and thoroughly evaluated.

Small companies have fewer employees in place to act as checks, so the risk of misappropriation of assets escalates.

Often, employers have a level of trust in their employees because of length of service and familiarity so what happens when one employee suspects or knows that another employee is stealing?

Where do they turn? Whom do they tell?

OUTSIDE SOURCE

People are resistant to being labeled as the one who went to the boss.

This is where an outside source for anonymously reporting wrongdoing is a priority.

The Report to the Nations states "telephone hotlines are most popular, but whistle-blowers use other various reporting mechanisms as well, including email, web-based/online forms, mailed letters and faxes."

EFFICIENT PLAN

Small organizations do not have abundant resources to invest in anti-fraud programs, but there are ways to build an efficient whistle-blower program. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

SET AN EXAMPLE, TRAIN

Whistle-blower programs are not a tool exclusive to large organizations. Small and mid-sized companies, too, are victims of loss through theft, accounting irregularities, misconduct and violations of law.

Employees look to the officers and owners of an organization for a code of conduct that is above board and ethical.

So, first, train employees on ethical behavior from the start, and regularly reinforce the message at meetings.

Then, offer a safe recourse for reporting unethical behavior.

MUST-HAVE

Hotlines are a way to provide 24/7 access, with a range of service levels, dependent on your needs and what you can afford.

But one thing is for sure you cannot afford to not have a whistle-blower hotline.

Rosemary Lamaestra, Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner, is a manager with Regan, Levin, Bloss, Brown & Savchak PC (RLB Accountants and Consultants) in Allentown and a member of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She can be reached at rlamaestra@rlbaccountants.com.View the full article from Lehigh Valley Business at http://www.lvb.com/article/20180709/LVB01/180709907/whistleblower-hotlines-are-vital-to-deter-business-fraud. Copyright 2018 BridgeTower Media. All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Lehigh Valley Business
Date:Jul 9, 2018
Words:405
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