Bookkeepers and Accountants are Often Suspected
A profession with a large amount of responsibility is something of a double
edged sword. On the one hand, praise is heaped upon a person when things
are going well. On the other hand, that same person is the first against
the wall when things go south. A bookkeeper is one profession swinging
that sword every day.
Bookkeepers are tasked with keeping track of the numbers in a company.
It is a job that places an individual in charge of the most sensitive
and vulnerable part of any business – the money. This may seem like
a pretty straightforward job, but things get gradually more complicated
as the numbers get larger. Forgetting to carry a one or misplacing a decimal
might not be an error of tremendous significance in a business that earns
a modest income, but making the same mistake in a company earning millions
in profit and it will likely turn a few heads.
Bookkeepers who are keenly aware of the inner workings of businesses from
a financial standpoint may be eager to exploit the vulnerability to which
the position gives them access. A criminal bookkeeper might not always
start out with ill intent, but even the most disciplined and honest individual
may find himself tempted when handling enough money. The key to all of
their wildest and most expensive dreams is in their hands. Bookkeeping
crimes are the sort of thing with which most people can empathize because
they have felt in themselves elements of the very same desire driving
the criminal. It does not excuse the behavior, but the average person
understands, to some degree, why it would happen.
Unfortunately, this empathetic assumption can put a bookkeeper in a difficult
position. When money goes missing in a large company, people would logically
start their search at the bookkeeper’s trail of financial bread
crumbs. This may be the most sensible place to begin an investigation,
but it puts the bookkeeper on the front lines, regardless of whether he
has done anything wrong. Because he is placed in the foremost position
of trust, he is also the first on the chopping block in the event of any
suspicious financial circumstances, regardless of whether it is deserved.
Criminal bookkeepers who have mistreated the confidence placed in their
position have created an imbalanced level of scrutiny to be heaped upon
an honest bookkeeper. In the event of a mistake, how can you prove that
you didn't do it intentionally? In New York, there is a $1,000.00
threshold for felony charges. In a state with so much money changing hands,
this could be something as innocent and seemingly innocuous as a single
out of place digit. Should that digit result in missing money, it can
become a nightmare to prove that it was just an accident.