In Pennsylvania alone, there are 63,345 not-for-profit organizations that employ over 15% of the state’s workforce. These organizations generate almost $132 billion in annual revenues.
However, many not-for-profit organizations do not have the budgets -- or staff -- to allow for appropriate segregation of duties to prevent and deter fraud. As a result, not-for-profit organizations may be vulnerable to fraud from employees or vendors. There are various internal controls that organizations can implement, even with limited resources, including:
Being vigilant and proactive – Management needs to be involved and simply pay attention
Keeping records – Track all transactions, donations, grants, expenses, etc.
Using sound hiring practices – Check references and conduct criminal history background checks for new employees
Stressing transparency with all stakeholders – Organizations need to communicate the cash inflows and outflows with all members, donors, board members
Focusing on proper tone at the top – Ethical culture should be established by leadership of the organization
Dividing the work – Rotate job duties, so that one person does not have control of all aspects of revenue collection, purchasing or spending
Nonprofits should realize that, despite being organizations that may serve the broad public interest, they are not exempt from fraud, and they can even be targets. A small, upfront investment in appropriate internal controls can prevent larger fraud costs in the end.
For more information on fraud prevention or detection, contact Brian Webster at [email protected], or any member of the Schneider Downs client service team.
You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours
The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].
Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.