Monday, September 01, 2008

Book Review: Essentials of Corporate Fraud

I've had this review sitting in my To-Do box for a while, but I finally decided to get it taken care of before CEDIA Expo starts, and I end up putting it off for another week.

Regular readers of Lee Distad's Professional Opinion will be familiar with forensic accountant and professional fraud-buster Tracy Coenen. While Essentials of Corporate Fraud was published last March, I finally got around to ordering my copy a few weeks ago.

Essentials of Corporate Fraud is written to an intended audience of executives and small business owners, and as such delivers a fairly concise summary of different methods of internal fraud, at both the employee and the management level.

Identifying employee dishonesty is something near and dear to my heart, as it's a task that I've been required to do many times in my past career as a manager. Ms. Coenen does a good job of summarizing both a wide range of fraudulent activities as well as the warning signs and red flags that often point to such activity.

Most of the fraud types outlined in Essentials of Corporate Fraud are clerical, material, or in the case of frauds perpetrated by senior management, accounting-based. The majority of my personal experience in identifying and dealing with internal fraud relates to commission fraud: salespeople gaming the system to inflate sales commissions. While such schemes are often very easy to spot, sometimes they aren't. As such, I would have like to have seen her address that aspect of business fraud in some depth as well.

Overall, Essentials of Corporate Fraud is a good basic primer for both identifying fraud, as well as improving your company's safeguards against fraud. It's a brief, easy read, and it's extremely relevant to my client businesses: small privately owned AV integration firms. I won't hesitate to suggest it to my clients as recommended reading.

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