Financial need drives some embezzlers

In order to keep their businesses running effectively, leaders need to not only have the proper financial controls in place, but also know what they're looking for when it comes to fraud. By paying attention to some emerging patterns, managers may be able to better stave off theft.

According to Businessweek, a new study by the American Sociological Review revealed that most high-level, financially-driven conspiracies involve male employees. In fact, only 9 percent of people who commit these crimes are women. However, data from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) revealed that 45 percent of lower-level embezzlement incidents are performed by female workers, and these events can be very costly.

The source pointed out that the ACFE also asserted women who steal from their employers often do so out of need. This is one reason that they may swipe fewer funds overall: Once female perpetrators find themselves in more stable financial conditions, they tend to stop committing the crime.

If employers recognize that staff members are experiencing hardship early on, they may be able to offer help that ultimately prevents those individuals from taking matters into their own hands out of desperation. The Small Business Administration advised, however, that company owners don't substitute empathy for using audit solutions. Conducting frequent audits feels overbearing to some leaders, but professionals are more likely to embezzle when they perceive an opportunity to do so.

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