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One of the responsibilities of any half-way decent Finance Department is to monitor bank accounts – so that if there are any fishy transactions flowing through they can be caught and investigated in a timely fashion. Today I caught a “fishy transaction” – seems a cheque to one of our vendors was somehow “hijacked” and altered so that it would be payable to an individual instead of a company. As the cheque cleared yesterday, and I got the clearing report this morning, I was able to identify the fraud.

I pointed out to my manager that we have a fraudulent cheque. She was pleased that it was caught quickly and that the bank has been informed (so that we can have the funds returned to our account and the bank can do their own due dilligence and investigate this fraud). Seems my co-workers do not monitor their bank accounts on a daily basis, like I do. So now they are flapping about, worrying that they may have allowed some fraudulent cheques to go through.

One of the most important aspects of being a decent accountant is the ability to spot deviations. When performing actual vs forecast analysis, monitoring G/L accounts, calculating depreciation, completing bank reconciliations – all of these “activities” require an attention to detail and the ability to see trends; so if the average monthly bank service charge is about $400, and there is one month this shoots up to $1K then this is something which needs to be investigated.

Accounting can be very interesting as in many cases, atleast at higher levels, a lot of it consists of investigating and analysing. The tedious aspects are generating many variations of reports (income statements) as they are time consuming and much of the time don’t really add any true value. Data entry can be tedious as well, but that’s what assistants are for. 🙂

Anywho, now my colleagues are wetting themselves, trying to backtrack and see if they missed anything which they should have been keeping an eye out for.