Managing a Business/query..
Are there any ways and procedures that a small business owner could quickly double check an accounting system to ensure that the accounting and bookkeeping staff have not made mistakes besides using an auditor.
Also can you refer me to any reference materials that provide greater insights as to how a small business owner can set up a system with checks and balances whereby he or she can quickly verify and check over the accounting system managed by the accounting department.
It's a great question. I'm not aware of any particular reference materials but here are my thoughts and a bit on how I have done things in the past...
1. Don't be auditing your bookkeeper. Accounting is keeping score not playing the game. You, the business owner, are supposed to be "on your game" at all times, and double checking non-value-added work like accounting makes no sense. Let your external accountant do that every year. Even if you don't do a full audit, you can have them review some random transactions.
2. Cash is everything in your business. If you're going to watch something, watch that! I would be careful about who i give the ability to make disbursements (write cheques, e-transfer $, etc.). A few must do's for the business owner in the area of cash management:
i/ Unless absolutely necessary, only you should sign cheques and approve e-transfers.
ii/ ONLY you should open the bank statement when it arrives in the mail. Review all the cheques that the bank returns to you and make sure that you signed them.
iii/ If you have more than one person in your back office, assign different people to look after a/c payable and a/c receivable.
iv/ If it's practical, you should do all the banking
This is by no means comprehensive. I think a good external accountant (used sparingly to keep costs down) can be your best ally here. Make sure that YOU, and not the accounting staff, have the primary relationship with that person.