Need for small business fraud auditing and prevention addressed by newly accredited Michigan Certified Fraud Examiner

Grand Rapids-based CFE Doug Zandstra’s assertion that small businesses benefit the most from fraud auditing confirmed by the ACFE’s finding companies with fewer than 100 employees lose an average of $155,000 each year to fraud.

Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 9th -- After 24 years working as a Certified Public Accountant and Enrolled Agent Michigan CPA Doug Zandstra has earned his title as a Certified Fraud Examiner. This accreditation, which requires a minimum of five years’ relevant experience and continuing education, allows Zandstra to turn his skills in fraud and embezzlement auditing towards a market he feels is woefully underserved: small businesses.

“20 years ago, businesses had mechanical controls,” Zandstra points out. “All of that has changed. Today’s businesses move money electronically, and that makes small businesses much more susceptible to fraud and embezzlement.”  

For the past several years, Zandstra has been growing his practice in litigation support and forensic accounting, including embezzlement prosecution, asset detection, and business valuations.  Zandstra has been admitted to court hearings as a industry expert on many occasions, and he is known for his ability to simplify and communicate complex financial concepts.

“I routinely find red flags while preparing tax returns for plumbers, electricians, and contractors - red flags which add up.”

Zandstra cites recurring credit card charges for non-existent or outdated subscriptions, excessive administration fees for investment, and unbilled receivables and gaps in invoice and check sequences among a wide array of internal problems which can add up quickly for small businesses, for whom losses tend to be much greater.

A 2014 Global Fraud Study conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) showed that typical companies lose an average of 5% of their annual revenues to fraud. Companies with fewer than 100 employees are at significantly higher risk than larger corporations, which are more likely to have anti-fraud measures in place. According to the ACFE’s study, small companies lose an average of $155K each year due to fraud.

Proactive fraud protection is key, the study concludes. “Proactive detection measures — such as …internal audits — are vital in catching frauds early and limiting their losses,” the ACFE report reads.

Even the smallest business of just one person can benefit enormously, Zandstra has learned.

“Losses can add up quickly, but they can also be prevented,” asserts Zandstra. “Small to mid-sized businesses stand benefit the most from having someone like me perform a review of their accounting system,” Zandstra asserts. “A small company can be analyzed and preventive measures put in place inexpensively. Losses from inventory shrinkage, misappropriated assets, or skimming, however, can become impossible to recover from. A little prevention goes a long way.”

About Doug Zandstra, CPA CFE EA

Based out of his office in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Doug Zandstra leverages technology to meet the accounting and tax preparation needs of small to mid-sized businesses across the country.  His diverse accounting background includes hands-on bookkeeping, experience as a controller and a manager at both a top national CPA firm and his own small, independent firm. 

Mr. Zandstra’s accreditations include Certified Public Accountant, Enrolled Agent, and Certified Fraud Examiner.