Is There a Security Threat in Your Back Office And Accounts Department?

Recruitment agency owners are always concerned about the security of their database as the client and candidate details are the life blood of any agency. However, TBOS have heard some horror stories where accounts teams and other staff who were trusted to run the back office have committed fraud or theft and kept this from the directors until too late.

Most agencies overlook the security of the accounts department but, by putting in some simple processes and checks, it’s possible to ensure that all funds are accounted for correctly and minimise any risk to the company directors.

TBOS has implemented its own security procedures covering back office and accounts administration for the agencies we manage and we wanted to pass on some methods you may want to consider:

  1. BANK ACCESS AND AUTHORISATIONS
    Banking systems nowadays have the capacity to set up multiple users who each have individual permissions and limits. This can be of great help to directors who want to authorise the payments due without having to enter the payments themselves. TBOS ensures that for agencies where we manage online bank account access, we have at least 2 users for each bank account, one permitted only to enter payments and the other only to authorise payments (accessible by management/directors). We also require that all payments must have proof of bank details as normal, with an invoice as back up.

  2. PROTECT YOUR PASSWORDS
    Maintaining a log of all user names and passwords is important for all systems and portals. It ensures the continuity of the company should someone be ill, leave unexpectedly or be removed from the business. You don’t want to use the same password repeatedly or to rely on one individual’s memory; instead, directors should have a documented password log which itself is password protected so they can access any of the online systems. It’s also important to update passwords if someone leaves on bad terms.

  3. FRAUD/DUMMY INVOICES
    When your agency has an invoice finance arrangement, it’s vital that invoicing is done correctly based on approved timesheets. Monitoring invoices as they’re created and checking that the amounts matches to the invoice finance arrangement ensures that your back office aren’t pulling more money than is available and causing you to be over funded.

  4. COMPANY CREDIT CARDS AND PETTY CASH
    Company credit cards and petty cash are prime targets for staff abuse so monitoring the spend and ensuring it reconciles is important. Make sure that staff with company credit cards are aware they can’t spend on personal items and that any funds paid incorrectly will be taken from wages. It’s also a good idea to try and avoid having a petty cash tin as this also can be open to abuse.

  5. BACK OFFICE CONTINGENCY PLAN
    The back office of your company is as important as the sales team; if you don’t have anyone to invoice, conduct credit control or make payments, that knocks out the value of making a placement. You should always have a “hit by a bus” contingency plan, meaning if your accounts team cannot be in the office that there are manuals and checklists in place to allow someone to take over in their place. This allows the business to continue to function during a crisis, allowing ill staff a chance to recover, or buying time to find replacement back office staff.

It’s important to review all of these procedures in order to avoid any nasty surprises; whether that be that a staff member has been steadily siphoning money off from the company, abusing the company credit card, or simply that a key member of staff leaves suddenly or has to be let go, leaving you with no way of accessing your own systems. Make the time to continuously review these procedures and watch for new potential problems.

TBOS has helped a large number of agencies outsource their back office and accounts and, as part of our business process, we constantly look to improve the security procedures of our team and our client companies. Also, by outsourcing your back office and accounts, you move the responsibility to our team and ensure continuity of service every working day.

For more on how you can outsource your back office to TBOS, please don’t hesitate to contact us.