Internal Control/Anti-Fraud Program Design for the Small Business: A Guide for Companies NOT Subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. By Steve Dawson, Wiley; wiley.com; 224 pages; $65.
My first impression after a cursory read of this book was not very favorable because of the apparently limited audience and the restatement of simple common sense. But out of fairness to author Steve Dawson, I sat down and gave it a thorough read, changing my mind entirely about the value of the book’s contribution to the field of risk and fraud management.
First, the book’s intended audience is not so limited. Private, public, and nonprofit organizations make up the majority of all businesses that need to sensibly protect their assets. For them, the book offers commonsense advice about risk and fraud management that we all know we need to apply, but may not act on for one reason or another. At a minimum, the book removes one excuse for not applying the evidence-based prescription—not knowing how to do it.
Dawson skillfully draws parallels between risk management and the experience of building his own house. Thus, developing the blueprint becomes designing the framework of the fraud program; laying a foundation is using fundamental policies to support the program; installing the ground floor is assessing fraud risk; and building the house is creating an anti-fraud environment. This book is all about how to implement these four anti-fraud program-building steps.
The other main contribution of the book is its transferable sample anti-fraud program components: fraud protection policies, awareness training, risk assessment, fraud control activities, company communication, and compliance monitoring. The many usable sample program forms are valuable. The book is recommended by this reviewer for any business owner who is open to questioning the success of any current fraud program in his or her organization.
One shortcoming of the book is its failure to address two growing problems in organizations today. First is the challenge of sustaining successful programs. Second is tackling the perspective that employers are pitted against employees in a win-lose scenario—this needs to shift to the vision that employers and employees are working together against external obstacles to an organization’s success in what usually becomes a win-win proposition.
Reviewer: William Cottringer, Ph.D., is executive vice-president for employee relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc., and adjunct professor at Northwest University. An active member of ASIS since 1989, he is also author of several business and self-development books.