We understand the specialized markets in which you operate and provide tailored solutions to meet your unique business needs.
Our comprehensive suite of business services combines industry expertise, market knowledge and professional insights.
MNP is a leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm in Canada.
Suite 2000, 330 5th Ave. S.W.
Submit an RFP
MNP careers are Different by Design. As an entrepreneurial firm, we truly believe there are no limits to where your career can go.
Professionals in North America are routinely defrauded. Sometimes I’m approached to investigate
suspicions of fraudulent behaviour in practices. More often a fraud comes to light that leaves the owner baffled and frightened because they never suspected it.
All practice owners must come to grips with two unfortunate truths: Fraud is significantly more common among professional practices than other small businesses — and fraudsters are specifically targeting professional practices.
You might think this seems unfair, because it is. But you need to be aware of the factors that make you an attractive target:
Fraud isn’t going away on its own, especially considering today’s economic circumstances. We often see what I call “serial defrauders” — office administrators who move from practice to practice, defrauding each in turn. But given the right conditions, anyone can succumb to the temptation to dupe your business. You must take steps to protect yourself.
To gauge the effectiveness of your fraud prevention systems, consider your response to each of the following statements:
If you cannot answer yes to at least six of the 10 statements, you’ll want to consider additional risk management procedures in your practice.
I’ve spent years trying to convince practice owners to implement stronger internal controls to prevent or detect fraud. Yet many are still hesitant. Not because they don’t see the value, but because they see the process as tedious, or confusing — or they simply want to spend their non-client time on other matters.
Rather than trying to force the issue, I’ve turned my attention to the role technology can play in making fraud detection more effective and efficient. I now recommend a program called
The Six-Month Checkup.
This process involves using data analytics to perform a rigorous examination of your banking, patient management, and accounting data on an alternating six-month rotation. Data analysis is efficient cost-effective and can provide you with important feedback on:
In other words, red flags for fraud for your professional practice.
Ideally, practice management software will track client visits and corresponding revenues, which will reconcile to recorded accounting and bank transactions. Analyzing operations, banking and accounting data can help identify red flag transactions and areas where you expect a reconciliation, but one doesn’t occur — or is forced to occur by a “plug” accounting entry.
Peripheral benefits to proactive data analytics include:
It’s important to recognize the methods employed in the
Six-Month Checkup do not, in themselves, prevent fraud from occurring. Rather, the process uses technology to deliver more robust oversight of your key business data without requiring a significantly greater time investment from you. It’s also a means of deterring would-be fraudsters from attempting anything, because they know you’re paying close attention to the business.
And this is far from trivial. Most instances of fraudulent behaviour are opportunity based and depend on you not detecting it over a relatively long timeframe. The simple act of knowing you’re committed to preventing fraud in the business is often enough to keep bad actors in line. And even if they do attempt something, you’re more likely to catch it early enough to minimize the potential damage. You’ll also make it easier to investigate the issue and implement policies to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
As the old saying goes, “the Devil’s in the details”. Details matter. Data analytics can be a successful solution to reduce the risk of fraud in professional practices, especially when the practice owners don’t want to remain mired in details themselves.
For more information or to learn how MNP can help protect your practice, contact Lisa Majeau Gordon, CA, CPA, CA∙IFA, CFE, CFI, CICA, CFF, National Leader, Forensics, at 780.451.4406 or
Suite 2000, 330 5th Ave. S.W.
Find an office near me