How to Hire a Forensic Accountant
Michael Blake, Director of Brady Ware & Company and Host of the Decision Vision podcast, interviews Randy Domigan, Director of Brady Ware & Company, on different types of fraud, why a normal financial audit doesn’t usually detect fraud, and signs your business might be a victim of fraud.
Randy Domigan, Brady Ware & Company
Randy is a Certified Fraud Examiner and can identify the warning signs and red flags that indicate evidence of fraud and fraud risk. He uses his expertise to help dealerships improve fraud prevention, detection, and deterrence. He has been trained to uncover and illuminate fraud when it occurs, and even more importantly to deter fraud before it starts. In addition to his fraud expertise, Randy has over 20 years of experience in tax and financial planning and internal control consulting.
Michael Blake, Brady Ware & Company
Michael Blake is Host of the Decision Vision podcast series and a Director of Brady Ware & Company. Mike specializes in the valuation of intellectual property-driven firms, such as software firms, aerospace firms and professional services firms, most frequently in the capacity as a transaction advisor, helping clients obtain great outcomes from complex transaction opportunities. Mike is also a specialist in the appraisal of intellectual properties as stand-alone assets, such as software, trade secrets, and patents.
He has been a full-time business appraiser for 13 years with public accounting firms, boutique business appraisal firms, and an owner of his own firm. Prior to that, he spent 8 years in venture capital and investment banking, including transactions in the U.S., Israel, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.
Brady Ware & Company
Brady Ware & Company is a regional full-service accounting and advisory firm which helps businesses and entrepreneurs make visions a reality. Brady Ware services clients nationally from its offices in Alpharetta, GA; Columbus and Dayton, OH; and Richmond, IN. The firm is growth minded, committed to the regions in which they operate, and most importantly, they make significant investments in their people and service offerings to meet the changing financial needs of those they are privileged to serve. The firm is dedicated to providing results that make a difference for its clients.
Decision Vision Podcast Series
Decision Vision is a podcast covering topics and issues facing small business owners and connecting them with solutions from leading experts. This series is presented by Brady Ware & Company. If you are a decision maker for a small business, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at email@example.com and make sure to listen to every Thursday to the Decision Vision podcast. Past episodes of Decision Vision can be found here. Decision Vision is produced and broadcast by Business RadioX®.
Visit Brady Ware & Company on social media:
Intro: [00:00:01] Welcome to Decision Vision Podcast, a series focusing on critical business decisions, brought to you by Brady Ware & Company. Brady Ware is a regional, full-service accounting and advisory firm that helps businesses and entrepreneurs make vision a reality.
Michael Blake: [00:00:21] And welcome to Decision Vision, a podcast giving you, the listener, clear vision to make great business decisions. In each episode, we’re discussing the process of decision making on a different topic. Rather than making recommendations because everyone’s circumstances are different, we talk to subject matter experts about how they would recommend thinking about that decision.
Michael Blake: [00:00:40] My name is Mike Blake. And I’m your host for today’s program. I’m a Director at Brady Ware & Company, a full-service accounting firm based in Dayton, Ohio, with offices in Dayton; Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Indiana; and Alpharetta, Georgia, which is where we are recording today. Brady Ware is sponsoring this podcast. If you like this podcast, please subscribe on your favorite podcast aggregator, and please consider leaving a review of the podcast as well.
Michael Blake: [00:01:05] Today, we’re going to talk about hiring a forensic accountant. And forensic accounting is always fun to talk to because in the accounting world, they always have the greatest stories, the greatest war stories. I mean, who doesn’t love a story about white collar crime? Unless you’re in it, I guess, then, it’s not so great. But if you’re sort of a third person, it makes the best cocktail story. So, pro-tip to the listeners out there, if you’re ever, sort of, at a mixer at a CPA firm, and you don’t know who to talk to, ask who the forensic accountants are because they have the best stories by none.
Michael Blake: [00:01:43] Yeah, forensic accounting is a very specialized area of the accounting profession, and it’s one of the most difficult decisions in terms of deciding whether or not you’re going to hire a forensic accountant because by definition, when you’re considering hiring a forensic accountant, you think that, potentially, there’s been, at least, a major mishap, and in many cases, you suspect that a crime has been committed often by somebody that you trust.
Michael Blake: [00:02:18] And so, I can tell you from talking to my clients who I’ve referred to forensic accountants over the years, it’s a major hurdle to, then, make that call to say, “Yeah, I need to get this checked out. I need to have somebody really come in, and look under all the rocks, and, hopefully, find nothing. That would be a great outcome. But then, if something is going to be found that we know exactly what it is and we can make it from there.”
Michael Blake: [00:02:42] And so, to talk about that with us is Brady Ware’s resident expert. Joining us today by phone from the Gem City Dayton, Ohio is Randy Domigan, one of my business partners at Brady Ware in Dayton. Randy works in a variety of accounting, auditing, and consulting engagements, as well as corporate and individual tax areas. He provides services to closely-held businesses in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, dealerships, retail, distribution, professional services, transportation, and real estate. He leads our firm’s fraud services practice and assists with recruiting and training of new team members, and serves as the head of the firm’s Insurance Services Group Technology Committee.
Michael Blake: [00:03:26] Randy is a member of the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. He also serves as a chair for the Better Business Bureau’s Eclipse Integrity Awards Committee and is active for the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and the Miami Valley Venture Association. Randy is a 1994 graduate of Wright State University. After working three years in another regional accounting firm in Dayton, Randy joined Brady Ware in July of 1997. Randy, thanks so much for taking your time out of tax season to join us for a little bit today.
Randy Domigan: [00:04:03] Yeah. Thank you, Mike.
Michael Blake: [00:04:05] So, I’ve kind of gone through your intro but I don’t think the intro necessarily does it justice. So, talk a little bit about your role at Brady Ware, and how much forensic accounting, and maybe chasing down white-collar criminals is a part of what you do.
Randy Domigan: [00:04:24] Yeah, absolutely. So, as Mike said, I am a director with the firm. And I do work out of our Dayton office. I do head up our fraud and forensic practice. And as part of that, I do spend a good portion of my time typically outside of our tax season, which is kind of our January through April timeframe. But outside of that timeframe, I spend a lot of time working with companies to primarily strengthen their internal controls.
Randy Domigan: [00:04:53] I do get involved in cases where fraud has occurred, and I do have to go in and do investigations. What I try to do because I see the ill impacts of that on businesses and how much it can destroy a company is I really try to get out, and get in front of these things, and work with companies to help strengthen controls, reduce risk, and really find ways to to prevent fraud from happening in the first place because that’s really where you want to be. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of needing a forensic accountant, which, of course, they can do, but you want to try to be on the front end of the this and try to put preventive measures in place to keep it from happening to begin with because, unfortunately, once it happens, usually, there’s never a real good result.
Michael Blake: [00:05:40] Yeah. Once that bell gets rung, it’s very hard to unring it.
Randy Domigan: [00:05:43] Absolutely.
Michael Blake: [00:05:44] And, I got to be candid. I did not know that about the forensic accounting role. I’ve worked in other firms as well, and all they ever talk about was finding stolen money or dealing with lost profits, and damages, and so forth. But it had not occurred to me, but it makes sense now is that the other side of that is putting in internal controls and preventative measures, so that the other side of that identity that you have is, we hope, never called upon.
Randy Domigan: [00:06:14] Absolutely. And part of that is bringing awareness to what the issue is because you don’t know you need a forensic accountant until it happens to you typically. And so, trying to educate people on the front end, and show what some of the risk factors are, and bringing awareness about it is part of the battle in trying to fight fraud, so companies can implement risk management policies ahead of something happening. And I’ve even had cases where I have gone out to do some of this consulting and looking at kind of where their business risks are in, and where their controls are, and how they’re set up where I’ve actually found fraud that has already occurred, and the company was completely oblivious to it.
Michael Blake: [00:06:59] I can imagine that led to some uncomfortable conversations.
Randy Domigan: [00:07:03] Yes. it did. Absolutely.
Michael Blake: [00:07:05] So, can anybody with a CPA do forensic accounting or what is their specialized training to become a specialist as you are in that particular field?
Randy Domigan: [00:07:18] Yeah. No, that’s a great question, Mike. So, in addition to being a CPA, I’m also a CFE, which stands for Certified Fraud Examiner. So, when I originally got interested in fighting fraud and getting into that aspect of my career, I had actually been involved on an engagement where some employee embezzlement had happened, and I went in and was basically just trying to figure out what happened. It’s like where the money was stolen from and the different ways that the individual was able to steal the money. And it really just fascinated me.
Randy Domigan: [00:07:52] And so, I started looking at other ways to help sharpen my skills in that area because just with my auditing background, it really wasn’t sufficient to really cover all the aspects that go into being a forensic accountant and a certified fraud examiner. You need to understand some of the laws surrounding how fraud is prosecuted. You need to understand what some of the things that lead people to commit fraud, what some of those risk indicators are. And so, I went ahead and went to an organization called the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, became an associate member, and started looking at a lot of the classes and things that they offered in order to become a certified fraud examiner. And as a result of that, there’s an examination I had to take and several classes. And I came out at the end of that and really started to make that part of my practice area.
Michael Blake: [00:08:56] And how long ago was that?
Randy Domigan: [00:08:59] I did that back about 10 years ago.
Michael Blake: [00:09:02] Okay. So, you’ve had a decade of experience in dealing with these kinds of issues. So-
Randy Domigan: [00:09:08] Yes.
Michael Blake: [00:09:11] Does all fraud look alike? Is there basically one flavor of fraud, and fraud is just fraud, or does it come in different forms and shapes?
Randy Domigan: [00:09:20] Really does come in different forms and different shapes. I mean, the term fraud can mean a number of different things. You can have fraud in the medical industry where you have people submitting false claims to insurance companies. And I mean, it just covers so many different things, tax fraud and refund fraud. It’s huge.
Randy Domigan: [00:09:47] The area that I tend to focus on a little bit more tends to deal with occupational fraud, which is one of the most common occurrences of fraud. Occupational fraud, basically, deals with employees, directors, just individuals within a company that commit fraud. And it can be fraud from any direction. Typically, it relates to like something around a cash disbursement or something like that. It could be related to payroll. There’s just a number of different things where fraud can be committed against an organization, but it’s typically asset misappropriation, and that can take a number of different forms.
Randy Domigan: [00:10:36] So, what are a couple of different forms? What are, kind of, the flavors of asset misappropriation? And, I guess, to the simple mind like mine, asset appropriation means stealing stuff, right?
Randy Domigan: [00:10:51] Correct. So, one thing would be cash disbursements fraud. So, if somebody were to write a check to themselves or to a fictitious organization that they controlled that was an unauthorized disbursement, that would be an example of a cash disbursement fraud. Another way, another example that would be if somebody paid themselves through payroll, either an extra paycheck, they modified their pay rate, where they could be paid more money than what they were entitled to or what had been authorized and approved, again, that’s an asset misappropriation because they’re taking funds that have not been authorized to be taken.
Randy Domigan: [00:11:39] Another way could be inventory theft. They just, actually, just go in and take something right off the shelf at a store or within the organization. There could be equipment. Anything like that would relate to an asset misappropriation. And that’s, again, probably, the most common type of fraud that I tend to get involved with.
Michael Blake: [00:12:00] I was talking to somebody who does inventory tracking for hospitals not long ago, and they’ve got a company that facilitates that. And, apparently, one of the biggest — I don’t know if you’re doing medical work or not, but if one of the things that I learned is that for a given hospital, hundreds of thousands of dollars of stuff just walks out of the hospital. It’s not like bottles of aspirin either or stethoscopes. It’s like significant equipment that just sort of goes missing. Have you experienced that or heard of cases like that?
Randy Domigan: [00:12:35] Yeah. It does tend to happen in large medical facilities. I don’t typically get involved with those as much. Most of them have been focused around companies where they’ve had an employee just internally, well, a lot of times, involved with the accounting area where they’ve got access to those funds in some way, shape, or form. It could be that they are one of the authorized check signers. It could be that they are or they have access to online banking, and they wire money out of the account. And so, a lot of it is stuff that they can turn quickly into something that they can use. I don’t see as much inventory theft, but it does happen because there is a market for those things. And most of those things can be easily sold and turned into cash.
Michael Blake: [00:13:29] So, if these people that that that commit fraud, I think, the psychology here is interesting. I’ve had some experience with it just observing forensic accountants, kind of, across the hall and in valuation of other places. What’s the profile of the person who commits fraud? Are they somebody that’s they’ve already been out of jail three and four times, already kind of a known risk, or is it more somebody that that maybe the first crime they’d ever committed, at least, on record?
Randy Domigan: [00:14:00] Well, it can be both. That’s why if companies are hiring individuals into a position of trust, it’s really important to go through a very formalized and very detailed background check to make sure that somebody that you’ve got coming in hasn’t already served jail time, hasn’t been arrested, or anything else for one of these other crimes. So, to answer your question, on the other end, yes, it can happen to just about anybody unfortunately.
Randy Domigan: [00:14:35] Different circumstances come up in people’s lives that can give them the motivation that they would need to commit fraud. There’s what’s called a fraud triangle that has the different aspects of fraud that lead somebody into committing fraud. And the first thing is motivation. And there’s a number of things that can lead to motivating somebody to commit fraud.
Randy Domigan: [00:15:01] It could be that they’re living beyond their means, and they need additional money to help support what they’re spending. Might have had a medical incident, or a loved one that was hurt in a car accident, or they developed some disease where the medical bills just keep coming, and they have to find a way to cover those bills.
Randy Domigan: [00:15:20] It could be just bad credit. They might have had a bankruptcy. They might have been divorced that just really threw their finances into turmoil. There’s also things like alcohol and drug abuse or gambling. Just things like that where people have this additional need for funds that they’re not able to get just from what they’re earning in their paychecks every week. So, those types of things can motivate people to commit fraud initially.
Randy Domigan: [00:15:50] The second step is you know for them to justify it. People will justify it in their head by feeling that they are worth more than maybe what they’re getting paid. They see maybe somebody else in the company that’s making more money, and there’s maybe some jealousy there. They say, “Hey, wait a second. This person is making this much. I contribute more than what they do. I should be making more money.” So, that’s how they kind of justify it in their head.
Randy Domigan: [00:16:17] And the other thing is the opportunity. The opportunity presents itself. It could be that there’s a weakness in the control system that allows them to do it without it being detected. And that’s usually a big thing. And most people know their jobs very, very well, so they know what what’s looked at, and they know if they try something whether or not they would get caught or not. And so, it might start out as, “Hey, I just took a little bit here or there, and nobody said anything. Nothing ever comes up about it.” And so, it starts going further, and it gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and it can just snowball into something very, very large.
Michael Blake: [00:16:56] So, all right. So, now, I’m listening to this podcast. As a listener now, I’m afraid someone is stealing money, somebody is taking money out of the till, writing fake invoices, walking our laptops, whatever it is. As a business owner, how can I keep my eye out for warning signs that fraud might be going on? Are there any kind of telltale symptoms that you can share?
Randy Domigan: [00:17:24] Yeah, absolutely. So, one of the things business owners definitely need to be in tune with is what their employees have access to and looking for changes in their employees’ behavior, lifestyle, things like that. So, if I’m a business owner, and I know that I am paying my accounts payable person just, say, $50,000 a year, and they drive up in a $100,000 Mercedes car, that might be a red light that goes on to say, “You know what, something doesn’t look right there.”.
Randy Domigan: [00:18:05] And there could be a very good reason for that. However, it’s those kinds of things that you just need to be aware of and aware of changes to your employees. If you see a behavior change or you see physical symptoms of something that don’t look right, that should be something that you would look at and maybe say, “You know what, I should probably look a little bit more into that.”
Randy Domigan: [00:18:29] Another sign would be if you are having unexpected cash flow issues that just don’t make sense. I mean, your sales are up from what they were last year, and you would think your profitability is up, but you can’t meet payroll for some reason. You’re like, “Wait a second. Why don’t we have enough money in the bank to make payroll?” or “Why can’t we pay our vendors on time?” And it just doesn’t make sense to you, or you see just unexpected financial trends in your financial statements that don’t make a lot of sense. That’s when you know there could be a sign there that something’s going on, and you need to look into it and investigate it.
Randy Domigan: [00:19:08] When you when you described that, it sounds to me like financial fraud looks an awful a lot like data breaches in that the data breach is rarely, if ever, a one-time occurrence, and the one you hear about or by the time you hear about it, it’s really not one incident, but it’s likely something that has gone on, sort of, in a low-key, hard-to-detect way over an extended period of time. Does fraud often act like that as well? You wind up being the boiling frog, and you don’t realize it until you’re not a live frog anymore>
Randy Domigan: [00:19:49] Absolutely. And the sad part is, a lot of times, when fraud occurs, it’s people who the owners trust in it and, a lot of times, have been with the company for a long time. And, again, it starts out small. It’s, “Hey, I did a little bit here and a little bit there, and nobody noticed. Nobody said anything. And I figured out, hey, I can exploit this a little bit more. And I find different ways to do it.” And it starts getting bigger, and bigger, and bigger by the time you get to it.
Randy Domigan: [00:20:21] And, sometimes, it goes, “I had one case that had gone on for 20 years and I had no clue what was going on. And on an annual basis, if you look at it, it’s like, okay, well, it wasn’t enough to really damage the company in any way.” But in the aggregate, if you look at, say, at 100,000 over 20 years, that’s a lot of money that the company has lost to fraud. And it was all because it was this person that was in a trusted position of authority within the organization that exploited our weakness that was there.
Michael Blake: [00:20:54] Yeah. Yes, you’re right. And then, you think on top of that, if that $100,000 had been reinvested in the company or reinvested elsewhere, there’s a multiplier effect too of lost returns.
Randy Domigan: [00:21:08] Absolutely.
Michael Blake: [00:21:09] So, in your experience, is fraud more likely to come from the top part of the organization, say, at the CFO controller level, or in middle management, or kind of down in the shop floor cash register level, rank and files, more places where it’s more likely to occur, or does it kind of occur all over the place?
Randy Domigan: [00:21:31] It can really happen anywhere. The larger frauds tend to happen at the higher levels of the organization. So, if you have like, say, a chief financial officer that has access in the ability to cover up a fraud for an extended period of time, those can get very, very large, unfortunately. If you have somebody on the shop floor that’s stealing from you, and they’re stealing scrap metal, or parts, or something, and they’re selling them in the black market, yeah. I mean, you’re probably not going to notice any major financial impacts from that, but it’s still going to be impactful because you’re missing inventory, you’re not getting the money back from that scrap, and things like that. So, yeah, but it can happen all over.
Michael Blake: [00:22:18] Now, a lot of companies, of course, are subject to formal financial statement audits according to GAP. Is it reasonable to expect that over the course of the audit that fraud will just be detected over the due course of a well-performed financial audit?
Randy Domigan: [00:22:39] Yeah. Unfortunately, it’s not likely that a normal financial statement audit is going to detect most types of fraud. Audits are just not designed to detect fraud. I mean, there are aspects of the audit that will get an understanding of how the controls and things are set up. And if they see a glaring weakness in the control system, they should be designing their audit procedures around that to detect something.
Randy Domigan: [00:23:06] However, some of these things are so well hidden, and they’re not large enough to really be caught in the financial audit. Most of them aren’t. I mean, you have a very small percentage of them that would potentially get caught by a financial statement audit, but a forensic accounting engagement or audit really will dive deep into the specific areas where there is risk after an analysis is done. And so, yeah, just unfortunately doesn’t. And a lot of people think that because, “Hey, I have an audit done. I should be really good, and I don’t have to worry about fraud occurring.” That’s just not the case.
Michael Blake: [00:23:45] Yeah, I think that’s right. And my recollection is if you carefully read a standard financial audit engagement letter, there’s typically language that says, “We’re not necessarily going to detect fraud. That’s a separate exercise. If we stumble upon it, great. But don’t rely upon this exclusively to find that kind of issue.”
Randy Domigan: [00:24:06] That is correct.
Michael Blake: [00:24:09] So, okay. So, let’s say now that I’m a business owner, I commission a fraud engagement, and I find something. What typically happens then? Do you call the cops, and they just sort of cuff the person, they walk him out of the store, or what happens then?
Randy Domigan: [00:24:31] Yeah. I mean, I think, it’s going to vary depending on what type of fraud it is. I mean, obviously, if it’s something very egregious, and somebody is continuing to do it, and if you don’t get them removed immediately, further damage is going to occur to the company, then, yeah, you’re going to want to take some immediate steps to get that person out of their ability to do that.
Randy Domigan: [00:24:54] However, most cases, if you hired somebody to come in and kind of do a fraud checkup – that’s kind of what I’ll call it – and they happen to discover a fraud, first thing you should really do is get an attorney involved that has got experience in dealing with this kind of matters. And you need to look specifically for an attorney that has experience dealing with fraud situations because there are various federal and state laws that cover fraud.
Randy Domigan: [00:25:25] Now, again, if it’s somebody that you found stealing money out of the till, obviously, you get them out of there immediately because you don’t want to continue to incur losses as a result of them taking that, or stealing inventory out of the back room, or something like that. But this is really more for having somebody that’s in a position of trust that might be stealing through the payroll system, or the cash disbursements, and things like that that I described a little bit ago.
Randy Domigan: [00:25:55] You really want to have somebody get involved that knows the different areas that they can be attacked to try to recover the funds because, obviously, the end result is you want to try to recover as much as you possibly can. Unfortunately, with most fraud, the people spent the money already. And so, you have to have other ways to try to collect, and attorneys know how to go about doing that. And so, you definitely want to get them involved on the front end.
Michael Blake: [00:26:21] Yeah, I’ve noticed that. That’s very unfortunate about the people that commit fraud, they’re not very good savers and investors.
Randy Domigan: [00:26:29] No, they aren’t, unfortunately.
Michael Blake: [00:26:30] They never invested into a wise portfolio, diversify stock and bonds, and have real estate, and stuff. They’ve bought a Tesla, or they paid for a cruise to Easter Island, or they bought like a solid gold trailer, or something like that. It’s rarely something you can just say, “Well, I’ll just write you a check, and pay you back, and off you go.”
Randy Domigan: [00:26:53] Yeah, first class plane tickets for a trip to Europe. I mean, those are the kind of things that typically the money is spent on.
Michael Blake: [00:27:00] Yeah, you kind of mentioned the psychology. So, I would imagine that attorney that you call, or maybe it’s more than one attorney because I got to imagine there’s employment issue too, if you accuse somebody of fraud, and then you’re going to fire somebody for cause, you better be right, or you’re in a world that will hurt yourself, right?
Randy Domigan: [00:27:21] Yeah, absolutely. That’s why you really want to try to get those attorneys involved quickly to mitigate risk to the company in any potential additional losses.
Michael Blake: [00:27:30] Now. what if I suspect fraud, I bring you in, and you come back, and you say, “You know what, all this stuff is explainable. I mean, yeah, you ought to improve some processes and some transparency, but doesn’t look like anybody stole anything.” Is there a risk of fallout within the organization after you’ve done that, if you kind of hit the nuclear button, and then you’ve got other organizational problems to solve, or can you do that in a way that’s discreetly, so you can kind of get in and out, and very few people know you’re even ever doing that or suspecting anybody of fraud?
Randy Domigan: [00:28:11] Yeah. No, Mike, that’s a great question, and it’s something that we run into a lot, especially when the owner wants to just kind of have a checkup done. Come in, and kick the tires, and see how the controls are set up. And if you find something, let’s talk about it. That’s how a lot of the engagements go.
Randy Domigan: [00:28:28] So, if you’ve got somebody that’s good at working with employees, and the narrative comes out as to why somebody is there, and somebody is asking questions, and looking at some different things, you can definitely get around some of those concerns of having the organization just have major shakeup because somebody’s been here investigating a fraud or something like that. So, there are definite ways that you can go about that to mitigate that with employees and personnel within your organization. You just have to make sure that you have the right person that kind of talk through what your narrative is around it.
Randy Domigan: [00:29:11] So, a lot of times, it can be, “Hey, we’re looking to redo our insurance policy, and they want us to look at some of our controls, and policies, and things like that.” It could be that, “Hey, this is done in conjunction with our year-end audit, and they’re doing some other steps to look at some different things.” I mean, there’s a number of ways you can go about it to help mitigate any of that fallout.
Michael Blake: [00:29:36] Now, are there certain kinds of businesses that are more vulnerable or less vulnerable to fraud than others?
Randy Domigan: [00:29:48] Mike, just about every business could be susceptible to fraud. Now, if you do everything in your company, and you write all your checks, you take care of all the accounting, you ship all your merchandise out, you have nobody else involved in it, and you’re kind of a one-man shop, you probably don’t have to worry about too much fraud occurring within your organization. But as soon as you bring on somebody else, even if you’re a pretty small company, you have susceptibility.
Randy Domigan: [00:30:15] And, unfortunately, for smaller companies, they tend to have larger frauds occur because they do have maybe one person doing a lot of the different jobs that, typically, in larger organizations, they can move around to different people to help increase the controls around a lot of those key areas to try to mitigate fraud risk. But even with a small company, there are some very, very practical things that business owners can do to help mitigate the risk. And there’s a couple more things that might have to be added to their plate or even other employees’ plates, but it’s very easy to do without adding additional cost or headcount into even small organizations to help really mitigate fraud risk.
Michael Blake: [00:31:05] Well, that’s a great entrée then because I’m sure our listeners would like to understand, is there a short, kind of, punch list of things that owners can do fairly easily to reduce their exposure to fraud?
Randy Domigan: [00:31:23] Yeah, I would say that there’s definitely some things that they can do. I mean, where you see fraud that has gone rampant, it’s typically because there is very little oversight by the owner on any of the financial records. And it does happen a lot in small businesses. You have a business owner that is out trying to do sales, is out trying to make sure that if it’s a manufacturing that all the products are getting where it needs to go, the methods of distribution that they’re managing, shipping, and all those other different things. And the last thing that they want to have to worry about is, “Okay, who’s paying the bill? Then, did we get all the money collected from our customers?” and things like that.
Randy Domigan: [00:32:04] But when there’s no oversight there at all, that’s where the risk exponentially increases. And so, yes, there are definite things that business owners can do that would help mitigate that risk. And, again, it’s not a lot of additional time that they would have to spend in it, but some very simple things that you could go through. And, really, it just depends on each business. So, it can’t just be some blanket saying that, “Okay. Well, yeah, if everybody does this, that’s going to reduce your risk for fraud.” Yeah, there probably are a couple general things that you could do, but each company is just going to be real different because they’re going to have different levels of employees, different levels of knowledge, different facets within their business where they’ve got risk for fraud to occur. So, really needs to kind of be specific to each company when you look at it.
Michael Blake: [00:33:02] Right. Because the nature of the fraud that can occur is going to be different from a burger restaurant to, say, an auto dealership.
Randy Domigan: [00:33:09] Absolutely.
Michael Blake: [00:33:12] Okay. So, we’ve covered a lot of ground today. We probably could cover a lot more, but time is finite. So, if somebody wants to contact you for more information, can they do so? And if so, how can they find you?
Randy Domigan: [00:33:27] Absolutely. The best way to contact me is probably through e-mail. My email addresses is firstname.lastname@example.org. And it’s R-D-O-M-I-G-A-N @ Bradyware.com. You can also contact me at my Dayton office. The number is 1-800-893-4283, or you can visit our website at www.bradyware.com, and you can go through the services link, you can find fraud there, and there’ll be a link directly to me on that website as well.
Michael Blake: [00:34:09] All right, very good. Well, that’s going to wrap it up for today’s program. I’d like to thank Randy Domigan of Brady Ware so much for joining us and sharing his expertise. We’ll be exploring a new topic each week, so please to tune in, so that when you’re faced with your next business decision, you have clear vision when making it. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider leaving a review at your favorite podcast aggregator. It helps people find us, so that we can help them. Once again, this is Mike Blake. Our sponsor is Brady Ware & Company. And this has been the Decision Vision Podcast.