All About Financial Fraud

Business fraud can have a monumental impact on an organization. There are many types of fraud that go by different names, such as financial statement fraud, bribery and corruption and asset misappropriation. It is often the case that fraud instigated by an employee will involve more than one type of fraud. Also, business fraud is not always easy to detect because it does not always show up in a company’s official accounts system. In general, the most typical way to detect this type of fraud is by receiving a tip from an employee, a customer, or an outside vendor.

Here is an overview of the different financial fraud in business:

Asset misappropriation

Asset misappropriation is the type of fraud that involves a member of staff who uses their position to take from their employers. This fraud is often committed by those trusted to manage the interests and assets of a company, which can include board members, employees or directors.

This type of fraud activity can include theft of company formulas, patents, or sensitive data, theft of credit notes or vouchers, inventory theft, theft of money or check forgery.

Any company that suffers from asset misappropriation will experience cash flow issues in some form. Plus, it can also have a negative impact on staff morale and the company’s reputation. It is believed that over 90% of business fraud is related to asset misappropriation which makes it by far the most common issue. On average, the lost from this type of fraud is in the region of $150,000 per case.

Bribery and corruption

Bribery and corruption is the next most common issue related to fraud in a business environment. Even though this type of fraud is less common than asset misappropriation, the average cost of a bribery scheme is significantly higher, and likely to exceed over half a million dollars per case.

The type of schemes involved in this area are quite broad and can include substitution of inferior goods, manipulation of contracts, bribes to influence decision-making, shell company schemes and kickbacks.

Financial statement fraud

Financial statement fraud takes place less frequently, but is almost certainly to be the most experience per case. On average, this type of fraud can lead to a company losing up to $2 million per case. This fraud involves an entity or individual falsifying earnings or income statements in an attempt to make a financial gain for them.

This type of fraud can include manipulating a company’s records in relation to more favorable loan terms, an improvement in year-end bonuses, or influencing the stock price.

How To Make Your Business Thrive

A new year is here and along with it comes a new set of goals and purpose for your business. The trends of the year are already heating up, and your company needs to form early adoption to ensure you make the most of these moneymaking opportunities. Consider investing in these trends of 2018 to help your business startup flourish throughout the year.

Local Advertising

Reaching your local customers has never been easier or more important as localized advertising takes this promotional activity to a whole new level. Through advanced search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, you are able to make your business startup visible to the exact base of customers that have interest in your product. Using local landing pages, city keyword search terms, and the use of pages such as Google MyBusiness, you can allow your company to be found by those that are searching for a business near them. This personalized approach to reaching customers is hot for 2018 and is a sound way to market your business throughout the year.

Advanced Technologies

Hardly a day goes by without a mention of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), or Internet of Things (IoT). These technologies are allowing business startups to interface with their customers in a new and exciting way. Adding these advanced technologies into your business not only can improve the customer experience for consumers, but it can also streamline and make your operations more efficient.

Higher Wages

For 2018, you’ll see a surge in the minimum wage being paid to workers. Increasing your wage earnings for your employees can make your business a more attractive place to work and help garner talent that would otherwise not have been possible. Your employees are a direct reflection of your business startup and paying them a little more can go a long way in ensuring that you have a workforce that maintains your company vision and brand.

Remote Workforce

More and more employees are signing up a for positions that offer remote working environments. As your business grows, you can expand your presence globally through a remote workforce. This will allow your business startup to secure top talent from around the world and keep your operations flowing 24/7. You’ll be able to maintain a lower overhead with a remote team and give your employees a position that is highly desirable and sought after in 2018.

Millennials

The focus of the New Year is on Millennials as this large population of customers has come of age and has an immense buying power to wield with business startups. This gaggle of buyers is focused and ready to make buying decisions that can help to increase your business startup’s revenue. Understanding and honing in on this generation of consumers can provide a generous bump in your profits as you target them with technology-enhanced products and services that you market to them on the very channels they submerge themselves in. Emphasizing Millennials for 2018 can add to your business startup’s bottom line and increase your fan base and followers throughout the year.

Influencers and Experts

In 2018, the need to have a subject matter expert or influencer support your business startup’s products or services can boost your brand’s visibility with consumers. These experts have clout with customers and are often the reason that they choose your business startup over your competitors. Consumers are turning to subject matter experts and influencers to give them advice and provide them with the solutions to their everyday problems with your products and services. Th opinions of these experts matter to the masses and can help bolster your business startup in 2018.

Blockchain

If you haven’t heard of blockchain, you soon will as the technology is making strong headway in 2018. This technology allows for real-time, safe documentation and monitoring and can help your business startup become more transparent with your customers. The ability to hold digital transactions in a more friendly and accountable way makes blockchain a technology that can literally change the way that you do business in 2018 and beyond.

E-Commerce

The need for a brick and mortar store has literally become passé as consumers choose to do the majority of their shopping online. E-commerce is taking over, and more business startups are making a foray into online sales in lieu of a physical store location. Consumers are responding with resounding acceptance making it possible for your business startup to thrive in the e-commerce space and gain consumer loyalty with online sales.

Values

The trend in 2018 for businesses alike is a focus on values. Consumers are turning to brands that have the same values that align with their own and foregoing the ones that don’t. Outlining the values that your business startup stands for early on can give you traction with customers that are like minded and believe in the same morals as your company does. Keeping your values front and center with your customer base is a new way to attract clients to your business and keep them coming back for the long haul to buy your products and services.

Customer Experience

In 2018, the customer experience also becomes more important as consumer look to brands that provide them a positive buying experience. Interacting and engaging with your customers can help achieve loyalty with them. When buying from your business startup is an occurrence that a consumer enjoys, they are more likely to return to your business for a second, third, and fourth purchase. They spread the word that your business startup is one to frequent and keeps your company top of mind with many new customers.

Keep these trends in mind as your business moves in 2018 to help it achieve maximum success in the New Year. You’ll reap the rewards of staying on top of the trends that your customers are demanding and increase your revenue with vigor as you find these new ways to promote your business startup and interact with your customer base. Good luck and continued success in 2018!

How To Avoid Lies From Your Team

I was recently reminded of a story about Alan Mulally. One September in 2006, he walked into the offices of the legendary car manufacturer, Ford Motor Company, to assume the role of president and CEO. Before this point, he had been the chief that turned Boeing around from lackluster performance, and Ford was hoping he would deliver the same kind of magic to Ford.

At the time, Ford was on the brink of bankruptcy and things were grim for the American auto-maker. As he reflected in a subsequent interview, “In September ’06, when I arrived, the first forecast I saw for profitability was a $17 billion loss. And we achieved it.”*

Remarkably, the first meeting he had with his senior team produced a different picture for Mulally. During the meeting, Mulally patiently sat through presentations where senior company executives presented reports that looked great. Everyone, it seemed, was hitting their targets. He couldn’t believe it.

He then reminded them that they had wholly succeeded–at losing billions of dollars.

He then asked them to try again.

(Pause)

Finally, one executive spoke up and began to provide Mulally with the less than rosy picture, which happened to be the real and raw truth. The executive then asked for help.

What do you think happened next?

Do you think Mulally ripped into the executive?

On the contrary, he stood up and applauded the person who dared to tell him the truth.

The Most Valuable Player

As a CEO of multiple brands, I don’t want to hear from my team about how good we’re doing. Nothing is perfect, and I know it. I want to be challenged and want everyone on my team to do better, and the only way that happens is if all of us hear the truth. The most valuable player on my team is not the top salesperson, it’s the person who dares to bring ideas to the table where he or she sees room for improvement.

What Would You Have Done?

If you were faced with a turn-around situation of any kind and you walked into your first meeting as Mulally did years ago, what would you have done? The reality is that good management practice begins with the leader. Would you have done what Mulally did and publicly support the person that spoke up or would you have done something different, like shoot the messenger? Unfortunately, I’ve seen it happen too often. The best teams don’t only focus on what the leadership wants to hear; they trust in their leaders and the environment that allows them to speak about what’s not working so it can be improved.

Best Strategy to Make People Speak Up

Want to know what’s one of the best things you can do if you’re a manager and want your team to be frank and candid with you? Create the space and environment that fosters collaboration and discussion. That means that as a manager, you have to talk less and listen more. If someone brings you a challenge or an area in need of improvement, listen to what this person has to say. And, then ask questions.

Digging Deeper

I’ve been in sales for almost my entire life, and the best sales professionals and also leaders understand that listening is one of the best skills they can cultivate. However, along with being open to what your team has to say, you also want to dig deeper so you can gain a thorough understanding of an issue and perhaps even help develop strategic solutions. You can accomplish this by asking first, second and third level questions and you don’t have to know sales to get to the heart of the matter.

First, Second and Third Level Questions

When you’re presented with new information, get in the habit of asking questions and listen carefully to the responses. First level questions help you understand the situation and clarify the issue. They are top-line questions, that deal with what, when and how? Second level questions go a little deeper and are follow-up questions and primarily deal with why. These questions are asking for insight into why decisions were made. Finally, third level questions address emotion: fear of missing out or desiring reward. These questions are excellent to ask when you’re trying to understand the emotional barrier that has prevented a solution to a problem, such as a direct report that does not want to go around his manager when he has reported a problem, but the manager has not addressed it. A leader can uncover these emotions (and drivers for action and inaction) by saying things like, “If I were to look at this program for myself, do you think I’d see what you see?” Another one could be, “If you were given everything you needed to make sure the job got done, how would you do it and what would you need to get the job done?”

If you’re a manager, ask yourself if you’re the kind of leader who–had you been in Mulally’s place–shot the messenger when the person spoke up or if you would have listened so you can foster a business environment that supports transparency, accountability, trust, and teamwork. Get yourself in the habit of listening more and asking more in-depth questions, and it will go a long way toward helping you achieve excellent results.

How To Engage Customer With Email

Automated marketing and CRM software is a powerful tool that gets you more leads and sales by increasing your engagement with business prospects. Rather than sending the same one-size-fits-all marketing message to everyone, you can tailor and tweak your marketing to deliver a more personalized message to smaller groups of individuals. Personalization can be a labor intensive process. However, software automation does much of the work for you rapidly and efficiently.

Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools for many businesses. Consumers prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email. Email Marketing is also a way to reinforce relationships through special offers or bonus content and to keep your product or service top-of-mind.

This is particularly useful when email marketing, which you can make more effective by segmenting your lists according to individual behaviors, and then engaging each segment with personalized emails. Part of grouping customers for targeted email marketing involves knowing their calculated lifetime value (CLV). It computes how many customers you have, the average dollar for every sale, and other factors. By coming up with your CLV, you can predict the average value of your customers should you keep them around.

Retaining these customers can be done through targeted email marketing. The fact that around 80% of businesses utilize email marketing to keep customers means you’re not the only one who shares this belief. Sending customers emails that “speak” to them will generate better reception from them. As a result, it increases the chances of them staying with you as long as you provide them with excellent service.

However, even with the software’s help, the effectiveness of your campaigns will heavily depend on the content you write in your emails. Like blogging, email campaigns require content creation. So how do you do this on an ongoing basis? By understanding and mastering the different types of email. Here are three of them:

The FAQ Email

The barriers holding back some prospects from becoming customers are unanswered questions about your product, service, or policies. An FAQ email answers the questions you often get over the phone, in your contact forms, in email correspondence, and in your blog comments. While some people will directly approach you with these questions, many won’t and will sit on the fence. An FAQ email will clear up the specific difficulties or objections that hold these people back.

The Blog Post Notification Email

If you have a blog, you shouldn’t rely on your followers to seek out your latest post on their own. Too many things in their lives can get in the way of their remembering. Instead, you should take the initiative by sending an email to your list with an introduction to the topic covered by your post, followed by a link. Make an effort to “sell” the post in your email.

The Case Study Email

If you receive enthusiastic feedback from a customer, ask if you can write a case study about the person’s success with your product or service. Get the facts you need from the customer, write it up, let her review it, and then send it to your list. The case study email acts as a testimonial that includes in-depth detail about the customer’s personal experiences. By presenting it in a story format, you get all the elements of high converting content.

If you want to succeed with targeted email marketing, then you need to value what email marketing brings to the table. It’s one thing to acknowledge its benefits to your business. It’s another to take action on your email list by segmenting each one of them correctly. Doing the latter helps optimize your email marketing so you can send optimized messages to the right people, which will lead to higher conversions.