Small town hit by outlaws and bandits but it’s nothing compared to how a crooked bean counter can destroy your business

2015-09-29 08.57.54
Copyright Rayne Bradshaw 2015

Businesses in the town of Harrismith, Free State, was hit by a spate of robberies, burglaries and armed robberies the last time I visited there. The Harrismith Chronicle listed just the businesses that they knew had been hit. Many other crimes are not reported.

It must be very difficult to do business in this small town with criminals having a free hand to target whom they want. It reminds me of the lawless towns in the Wild West in America.

But in those towns of old at least the community could hire a top Sheriff and skilled and experienced lawmen to protect its businesses and citizens. Not so in many small towns throughout the country where there are at the mercy of criminals. There is no effective policing and the police don’t seem to have a will to hunt down the criminals, catch them, jail them and see that justice is done.

Imagine if you had to run your business in one of these small towns. If you and your staff were lucky enough to avoid being killed, how would you open your business the next day knowing that criminals can strike at any time? Yes, the small security companies can help with detection and prevention but none of this is foolproof because the criminals are so brazen that they can strike any time of the day or night.

Would you carry on? Or, would you move on? But where? You may not have any other options but to stay in the town where you grew up and where your children perhaps growing up.

Criminal activity need not be so blatant. It can also be insidious. A crooked bean counter in your business can do much harm even resulting in the closure of your business. For example, in one small business that ran for about 30 years, a crooked bean counter set about on her criminal activity by stealing from the company. She eventually bankrupted the company because they simply had no funds left after her criminal acts.

As Felix Dennis, the self-made in UK multimillionaire, says, “It’s important to watch out for fraud especially in the early days of your business. When you first to do well you may not have the systems in place to detect fraud quickly.”

A bent bean counter siphoned off tens of thousands of pounds from his company before he was caught. How did they catch him? He went on holiday, his deputy got suspicious of something in the mail and they found out what was happening. As Dennis says, install good accounting systems the second you can afford it.

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