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Fraud, Internal Controls, and Cash

43 Why It Matters

Fraud. Fraud and theft can be very dangerous to the health and survival of a company. This is an issue that companies of all sizes face. (credit: modification of “Road Sign Attention” by “geralt”/Pixabay, CC0)

Red triangles with the words “Fraud Alert” on them, all overlapping.

One of Jennifer’s fondest memories was visiting her grandparents’ small country store when she was a child. She was impressed by how happy the customers seemed to be in the welcoming environment. While attending college, she decided that the college community needed a coffee/pastry shop where students and the local citizens could congregate, spend time together, and enjoy a coffee or other beverage, along with a pastry that Jennifer would buy from a local bakery. In a sense, she wanted to replicate the environment that people found in her grandparents’ store.

After graduation, while she was in the planning stage, she asked her former accounting professor for advice on planning and operating a business since she had heard that the attrition rate for new businesses is quite high. The professor told her that one of the most important factors was the selection, hiring, and treatment of happy and productive personnel. The professor further stated that, with the right personnel, many problems that companies might face, such as fraud, theft, and the violation of the organization’s internal control policies and principles, can be lessened.

To emphasize her point, the professor stated a statistic from the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Restaurant Operations Report that restaurant staff were responsible for an estimated 75% of inventory theft.1 This statistic led to the professor’s final gem of wisdom for Jennifer: hire the right people, create a pleasant work environment, and also create an environment that does not tempt your personnel to consider fraudulent or felonious activities.


  • 1 National Restaurant Association. “2016 Restaurant Operations Report.” 2016.