Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada

Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada

March 08, 2011 13:00 ET

Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada: Fraud Alert-Unethical Bookkeepers

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 8, 2011) - With various forms of fraud now being a bigger problem than ever before, Canadians are being warned to be careful of people and companies hired to do their bookkeeping.

The warning comes from the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada (IPBC) (www.ipbc.ca) an organization that represents bookkeepers across the country. March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and it comes at a time that many businesses are rushing to get their year-end taxes completed.

Gordon Skillen, Executive Director of IPBC (www.ipbc.ca) calls it "sad and unfortunate" that so many Canadians get ripped off by their bookkeepers. Skillen says, "We get calls on a regular basis from people who have become the victims of unethical and dishonest bookkeepers. There's no reason for it to happen. We have members in every community across the country who do a good job and are bound by a Code of Ethics, but people have difficulty finding a good bookkeeper and take what they can get."

The IPBC is using Fraud Prevention Month to offer the following tips to Canadians looking for a bookkeeper.

  • Review every invoice paid. A common practice of dishonest bookkeepers is to set up a phantom company and to pay invoices to that firm, which is often owned by the bookkeeper or a family member or friend.
  • Make copies of all your paperwork before giving it to the bookkeeper, so if there is a problem you can always turn the file over to another bookkeeper.
  • If your bookkeeper refuses to take holidays it could be a sign that they don't want another bookkeeper on staff to learn that they have been stealing from you.
  • Ask the bookkeeper for references and check with the people they have given you as references. In addition, use the internet to see if there are other connections between the bookkeeper and the reference, such as being friends on Facebook.
  • Ask if they are a member of a professional organization like IPBC and then confirm the information. It only takes a minute to find out if your bookkeeper is telling the truth.

Skillen is quick to point out, "Just because a bookkeeper refuses to take holidays very often or uses a friend as a reference, it doesn't mean that you will get ripped off. It does mean that you want to dig a little deeper before you agree to turn your books over." Skillen points to a recent case that saw a business owner in British Columbia fined $1,500 for late filing because a bookkeeper had her books, but refused to return them despite numerous calls and emails.

Recent stats have shown that more than one in every three Canadians feel they've been the victim of a mass marketing fraud and almost two out of every three Canadians think education is the best way to combat the problem.

About the IPBC

The Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada (IPBC) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to achieving public awareness for the certified professional bookkeepers (www.ipbc.ca/membership/certification.aspx) of Canada. It's dedicated to assisting men and women in adhering to a professional and ethical standard in the bookkeeping profession. Bookkeepers looking to advance their careers are encouraged to visit the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada at www.ipbc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada
    Gordon Skillen
    Executive Director
    604-637-9607, extension 1
    Gordon@ipbc.ca
    www.IPBC.ca